Department of Library Services Newsletter - Issue 3 - 2020

12 November 2020
This newsletter is intended to convey the events and news of the Department of Library Services for May to August 2020.

News and Events

UP Library’s pro-active reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic

While the UP Library has been closed since mid-March due to Covid-19, our ongoing response to the situation has been dynamic. The Library staff members have continued to offer virtual services to the best of their ability, and feedback from students and staff has been overwhelmingly positive. A phased re-opening of the UP Library commenced in June. All of the libraries were deep-cleaned prior to re-opening and a trial run was conducted to ensure all processes ran smoothly. The official reopening date for the first phase was 19 June: the library was open for two days a week and services were limited to book collection and drop-off for members of the UP community with permits to access campus. The digitisation requests have been received in large numbers, and this has been the most effective way to assist UP students and staff.

Various new features have been introduced between May and August to help keep the Library connected to our students and staff:

  • The Research Commons started a blog, The Commons Informer, to keep in touch with the postgraduate community and update them on changes within the unit. The Research Commons also extended its offering of e-books to assist postgraduate researchers.
  • The InstaNovels series was introduced via the Library’s Instagram account. It is a very exciting feature, posting short stories to encourage a culture of reading, and it has been a great way to engage with our followers online.
  • With the same intention to engage with users online, the Special Collections Unit started an online puzzle page featuring various items from the collections and also changed its Book of the Week feature to highlight books from the collection that are available on UPSpace.

The second semester commenced on 3 August and a link to the Library’s A-Z Guide of available resources and services has been circulated campus-wide and on all social media platforms. The A-Z Guide provides details of the procedures regarding Library access, borrowing and returning books, research assistance and available training.

The Library has also begun a series of Scholarly Communications webinars, starting with Academic integrity in the age of misinformation which featured a presentation from the vice-chancellor, Prof Tawana Kupe. There has been a fantastic response so far, and there are a few more exciting webinars lined up.

Finally, health and safety has been a priority for the Library and all of our staff who have returned to the Library have received a UP Library-branded mask as well as hand sanitiser. Sneeze screens have been installed at the counters and the Covid-19 signage is clear throughout the library. Social distancing messages and markers are on display and the MakerSpace team has printed social-distancing cones and hooks for opening doors (also provided to staff members). With all of the above in place, the Library is planning for the next phase of re-opening, increasing services and access according to the limitations of the National Lockdown level 2. Our staff have been incredible during this very challenging period and their efforts are much appreciated.

Go Team!

- Author: Nikki Haw
Academic integrity in the age of misinformation
‘If it is fake, it is not news’ – Prof Tawana Kupe on the context in which ‘fake news’ has arisen
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected UP Library staff members?
Employee wellbeing is a top priority for the Department of Library Services
Celebrating Mandela Day with the Eerste Fabriek Flood Victims, 18 July 2020
Addressing real world problems: Makerspaces' role in rapid development of PPE
University of Pretoria’s Centre for Entrepreneurship launches free National Support Portal for SMMEs
Makerspace continuing service delivery and optimising solutions throughout lockdown
DLS statistical overview: Academic support during the pandemic
Social media insights: Take advantage of our social media reach!

Staff News

MEET: Anna Siwela, newly appointed Deputy Director for Academic Support in the Department of Library Services
MEET: Modisa Khosie, newly appointed Deputy Director of Information Resources, Access and Operations in the Department of Library Services.
MEET: Nonhle Mtshali, Information Specialist
MEET: Tshiwela Siwada, Management Assistant
FAREWELL: Julene Vermeulen
CONDOLENCES: Percy Ndhlovu