The newly refurbished and upgraded library in the Basic Medical Sciences (BMS) Building on the University of Pretoria (UP)'s Prinshof Campus was officially opened by the Faculty Library Manager of the Health Sciences, Kabelo Nzima, in a brief ceremony on Friday, 23 June 2017.
In 2016, the BMS and Dentistry Library received funding from the National Skills Fund (NSF) to upgrade the BMS library and convert the old cafeteria next to the existing library into a new library to house more users, which was necessitated by the increasing intake of MBChB students. Some of the main considerations in the planning process were to pay attention to the incorporation of the print collection, the increasing technological needs of students on campus and the future role of the library.
In his official address, Prof Tiaan de Jager, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, acknowledged the contributions made during the process by Prof Gerhard Lindeque as Deputy Dean of the School of Medicine, Karen du Preez as Faculty Manager and Prof Susan Adendorff's team at Facilities Management. He mentioned that libraries are important cornerstones of a healthy community and that the upgraded library not only addresses the needs of students, but also provides an intellectual space where staff and students can think, plan, work and excel. This library is a world-class facility and part of the master plan to upgrade facilities on the Prinshof Campus. The exceptional service rendered by library staff is also reflected in the good international rankings of our library services, he added. The new BMS Library reflects the diversity and character, and the needs and expectations of the Faculty of Health Sciences. Those needs and expectations are often extensive and the services invaluable.
Mr Robert Moropa, Library Director, reminded the guests that this BMS library forms part of the UP Library system as it is one of the 11 libraries on the UP campuses. According to Mr Moropa, the opening of this library takes place at a time when libraries need to break with their traditional role. He applauded the designers of the library who made use of natural light, soundproofed the discussion rooms and accommodated the need for collaborative spaces with the inclusion of the unique feature of the balcony, where students will have WiFi access and will be able to sit and work and even enjoy lunch.
Two students were also afforded an opportunity to comment on the new facility. Anleo Jansen, a fifth-year medical (MBChB) student, said that he was excited about the new facilities and the increased number of computers available for use by students, and added that the new library was a complete study experience that would optimise the learning process. Dr Paul Fouché, postgraduate clinical assistant in the Department of Orthodontics, emphasised that the library is about people and thanked the Faculty and library staff members who assist the students and showed that they care about them by creating this wonderful facility. This new area will be well received by students.