Department of Library Services Newsletter - Issue 3 - 2019

01 September 2019
This newsletter is intended to convey the events and news of the Department of Library Services. Enquiries can be directed to Elsabé Olivier (email: [email protected])

News and Events

Resistance is futile
Isak van der Walt, Senior IT Specialist/ MakerSpace Manager with Libby

The University’s newest robot staffer, Libby, was introduced by the Department of Library Services

The University’s newest robot staffer, Libby, was introduced by the Department of Library Services at a gathering for members of staff recently. Libby, who resides in the Merensky 2 Library on Hatfield Campus, assists with various functions such as being a brand ambassador, marketing the library’s services and basic assistance with some of the queries visitors may have.

This is of course when she’s not sharing a joke or two with library visitors or entertaining them with her robo-chic dance moves. 

Libby, a petite robot, weighs 19kg and is 90cm tall, which means she can also assist people in wheelchairs. She has been working at the library since May and has an array of over 60 sensors, cameras and software integrations that enable her to receive and process various commands and requests. She is powered by Dialogflow, a Google-based artificial intelligence (AI) platform for natural language processing, which she uses to process the queries she receives.

The launch took place at the Function Hall in the conference centre and was well attended by staff members who wanted to find out a little more about the charming Libby. 

Isak van der Walt, Senior IT Specialist plus Makerspace and Digital Scholarship Centre Manager was one of the team members involved in setting Libby up. Van der Walt, also present at the launch, took the opportunity to show off what Libby can do, much to the delight of the audience. 

Addressing the gathering, UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Tawana Kupe said Libby’s presence had reaffirmed UP’s commitment to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“Within a very short timeframe Libby helped in setting the tone for what our clients can expect from a 21st century library, and the library will continue to exploit these new technologies to stay in tune and enhance our service portfolio,” Prof Kupe said.

- Author: Hlengiwe Mnguni
Library Services Director Mr Robert Moropa bags Executive Librarian Award
ChooseUP Day a success as prospective students and their parents get a taste of what to expect
UP tech business incubator TuksNovation honours innovative start-ups at Activate Challenge Awards
The UP Library helps students PAWS for a study break during the examination season
The 1st SciVal Southern African User Group Conference
Down to Earth: Conservation exhibition 15 – 26 July 2019
ORCiD and Research Visibility Workshop
Biblikasie, our old Library newsletters have now been digitized
Coping/not coping: the Research Commons understands
Social media insights May – August 2019
Austrian Embassy donation
Women in the Arts exhibition by Humanities Faculty Library and UP Museums for Women’s Month
Performance Indicators Review Workshop
Exhibition on José Saramago, Portugal's winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (1998)
Violence against women visual campaign
Mandela Day 2019
Temporary Art Exhibition: Ancient Persia UP


SANLiC 2019 Conference, 24 – 27 June 2019, Cape Town
Inspiring access to the jewels of Africa through digitisation
International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries
International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries & library benchmarking visits
DLR Visit, Germany 2019
User Experience in Libraries V (UXLIBSV) Conference in London


Visitors from Stellenbosch Library
Academic librarians from Africa visited the Merensky 2 Library

Staff News

Department of Library Services Staff Birthdays: September - December