MEET: Anna Siwela, newly appointed Deputy Director for Academic Support in the Department of Library Services

Posted on October 09, 2020

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” – Anna Siwela of the Department of Library Services talks about her new role.

Anna Siwela, newly appointed Deputy Director for Academic Support in the Department of Library Services, tells Tukkievaria about what she loves about her job and why she chose to come to UP.

Where did you work prior to joining UP?

I worked at UP as a senior librarian from 2004 to 2008, and rejoined in 2018 as a faculty library manager. I started my career as a subject librarian at the University of Limpopo in 1995 before taking up the same position at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. I was also national librarian at Rosebank College, where I oversaw the management of all campus libraries. Later, at the University of the Witwatersrand, I worked as the law library manager, and was later promoted to principal librarian. I also worked for the National Department of Arts and Culture as an assistant director, and at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University as a user education librarian. 

Why did UP appeal to you?

I believe in an institution that has a mission and a vision that allows departments to grow and be positioned for global competitiveness. The Department of Library Services, which I am part of, is responsive to the 21st-century needs of an academic library. This gives staff the opportunity to grow and acquire new skills. In addition, the work environment is vibrant, constantly growing and not static. That is why I chose UP.

What does your day-to-day role entail?

I support the academic and research strategies of the University by ensuring adequate library resources for teaching, learning and research with highly equipped staff and efficient service in an enabling collaborative, rewarding, flexible, supportive and caring environment.

What would you like to improve in your section/department and why?

I would strengthen teamwork strategies to ensure continuity and sustainability. By doing this, when a staff member is not on duty, services can continue without compromising standards. This idea reminds me of the African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

What do you enjoy most about your job and why?

The constant changing nature of the academic library environment – it offers tremendous benefits to student success and uplifts staff morale as they are presented with lots of opportunities and challenges, which help them to develop.

What is your least favourite part of the job?

I have come to a point in my life where I realise that contributing to all elements related to my job is the key to achieving my individual goals and those of the department, so I have adopted a holistic approach.

What do you do in your free time?

I read, sing, laugh, dance and spend quality time with my loved ones.

What are your personal likes and dislikes?

I dislike labouring in vain, without impact or tangible results. I like learning from colleagues at all levels; this helps me to grow.

- Author Jimmy Masombuka

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