NWU Library opens excellent new information commons
Libraries are usually associated with silence – something that the Ferdinand Postma Library on the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University (NWU) had to abandon for almost eight months. However, the end result was something that one would find in any library at a world-class university.
After the upgrading and refurbishing of the ground floor a new information commons was recently officially opened by the rector of the campus, Prof Herman van Schalkwyk. This giant task took about eight months to complete and had to be done in a very clever way to cause the least possible disruption to the operation and use of the library. The cost of the project was approximately R9 million.
The information commons, directed towards the needs of undergraduate students, now boasts ninety computer work stations, as well as an additional forty in the new, modern teaching venue, power outlets for laptops and tablets, word-processing software on every computer, seminar rooms for group studies, printing and scanning facilities, and a core collection of dictionaries and reference works.
A popular acquisition is five new seminar rooms with LED monitors for smaller study groups that can be booked via the library’s website.
During the opening words like “absolutely impressive”, “showpiece” and “a dream come true” were used to describe this upgrading.
Prof Rantoa Letsosa, Vice-Rector: Teaching-Learning, said that the library is an integral part of research and enriches the learning environment in which students find themselves. “It was amazing to see how the facilities were changed to make everything more comfortable and available for study.”
Prof Amanda Lourens, former Vice-Rector: Research and Planning, said that the project was very near to her heart and the new changes were absolutely impressive. “The library and its people make a big contribution to the mission of the university to be more research oriented.”
Prof Van Schalkwyk said that this was like a dream come true. “We must put a proper infrastructure in place for quality outputs and it must serve as support for our research orientation. We are all very proud of this showpiece.
The Director of Library Services, Ms Elsa Esterhuizen, said that her formidable team of staff members had to move about 300 000 books and weeded 4 400 journal titles to align electronic and printed formats, and where necessary remove certain titles as well, apart from all the planning to do the reorganisation with precision. These projects were aimed at obtaining more space for the planned changes.
“I am eternally grateful to management who supported us in this process to make a relevant and competitive facility of this library.”