Friday, September 30, 2005

second day of conference, Wednesday 28th

Hi all

Second day of conference which I am blogging now, the morning of the last day of conference, should give you an idea of how hectic things are.

The second day of conference was really bumper packed. Several parallell sessions, including the Interest Group sessions all scheduled for that day. Of course as an office bearer in HELIG I had to attended those sessions. The morning was the HELIG AGM, which I will blog on the WCHELIG blog at a later stage at

The joint session between HELIG and RETIG was really useful. Karin de Jager did a paper on Quality measurement, and did a bit on the history of the quality measurement and why it is important now again - HEQC of course. Also promised a results of her investigation in a document before the end of the year.

Gee, got to go, session starting.

Will blog later.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Western Cape did it!

By now you have heard the great news of the Presidential Award that the WC Branch won. I was very proud to go up and receive it on behalf of the Branch.

I was hoping to post the photographs, but there seems to be a problem from this machine.... Will try again later.

The President of the Malaysian Library Association, Putri Saniah presented this morning and gave an outline of the library systems in Malyasia. She has also expressed an interest in further collaboration with LIASA. We are hoping to work with her on presenting a pre- IFLA WLIC2007 Conference in the Western Cape. More on that later...

The keynote address by the Cuban National Librarian, Mr E Matos, was very powerful. He gave a little background on the history of the country. What was very impressive, was the fact that in a relatively short period of time, they completely eradicated illiteracy. I will try to get hold of his presentation for the statistical info.

Mr Matos, as well as Dr James Daniel (President of the Nigerian Library Association) expressed a keen interest in working with LIASA. This is good news indeed and will be beneficial to LIASA and also in our preparations for IFLA 2007.

The AGM is due to start shortly, more later....

At least it is cooler today - on Sunday and Monday it was 32+ ...It was scorching.

Quick update

Good news for Western Cape branch ... we won the Bookdata Nielsen President Award for the Best Branch. The judging was based on membership (retention and new), and activities and services to our members, amongst others. (The fact that the President is from the Western Cape had nothing to do with us getting the award) . So congratulations Western Cape!

The other big news from last night's gala event was the announcement of a new award - the LIASA SABINET Online Librarian of the Year Award -- which replaces the other LIASA Sabinet awards. The prize is nothing less than R30 000 to be used for a study tour. You need to be paid-up LIASA member to be eligible. Each branch will have to nominate one librarian. Watch this space, the email, and the Western Cape newsletter for more information about how the Western Cape will call for nominations.

Other items that have come up:
* talk about HELIG (Higher Education) changing its name to something like Academic and Research Libraries Interest Group to accommodate libraries in FET Colleges and our big research libraries (like HSRC, CSIR, MRC, NLSA ). There will be further discussion about this over the next few months. Concern was expressed from the floor about the position of RETIG (which had research in its title) and Special Libraries -- there would be discussions with them.

My own feeling is that the RESEARCH in RETIG is the act of Researching, but Research in the proposed name for HELIG refers to RESEARCH LIBRARIES.

* talks about LIASA becoming a statutory body... this rises out of a motion proposed at last year's AGM which resulted in a study by Reggie Ragu on the statutory status of LIASA (and reported back on in a paper at this year's conference) . The concern was that people were appointed as librarians either do not have LIS qualifications. HELIG discussed this topic at their session yesterday & concern was expressed that the study only looked at LIASA , but should look at LIS professional association as a whole. The example that was cited and thought to be a basis for us, was the Nursing Council.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

More from Nelspruit

There should be a burst of blogging from conference, now that we have sorted out where we will be blogging from (the library, naturally!). And great was the excitement, when we looked at the blogs and saw that there were *comments* even from a far afield as Fredericksburg in the States. You're reading us!!!!!

And Dr James O Daniel has linked our blog to the Nigerian Library Association Blog. Also check out Fadeelah's blog at and Lillian's blog at

The other keynote paper was presented by Dr James O Daniel, the immediate past president of the Nigerian Library Association, who brought us greetings and felicitations from our colleagues in the North. In an inspiring address, he reminded us that the library is the nerve centre of the education system, and that we should not be neutral.

Archie Dick spoke about lessons from the Tshwane Council plan to "redistribute" public libraries,
where the community themselves stopped the redistribution from happening.

I am not going to have time to finish this posting as we need to get to the joint HELIG/RETIG session where SAQA and SGB issues are going to be discussed. This morning's session was very interesting .... but more about that later (tomorrow probably, as the library closes at 4 pm -- it is vac)

1st day of papers

Hi all in WC and elsewhere in the world

I am sure other bloggers to this blog will have commented on the 1st day already. My two cents follows.

The international speakers we had really adds value to this conference and allow us to travel beyond our borders for a while.

So far we have heard from the National Librarian of Cuba and the President of the Nigerian Library Assocation.

I am now writing from memory and what I most remember is the fact that Cuba is free of illiteracy. We need to take lessons from this country. Secondly, the public library system is part of the national library. I recall something similar with re Malaysia's public library system being part of the national library. This is perhaps part of the solution to our public library system that is plagued by closures, staff shortages and being managed and staffed by non-librarians.

The President of the Nigerian Library Association had some interesting statistics and argued that library are part of the solution to poverty. To represent his paper adequately will take a little more time than I have at the moment.

The person, whose name escapes me now, who attended and spoke on behalf of the local governement, made a very important point. Many people believe that we should come to conferences only if they can get something out of it that would translate directly into tangible and immediate benefits to the main institution. I have many problems with that line of thinking. Suffice it to say, that we in HE have much to contribute to the building of the profession and professionals in SA, and we should come to conference to contriubute. This is how we give more than we receive.

Got to rush off to the next session.

The journey and accommodation

Hi all back in the Western Cape

It is the second day of the conference, Monday having been for meetings for preconference workshops, and for some of us who came only for the papers, for travelling to the conference.

I tell stories in a linear fashion, so my contribution to the blog will tend to be chronological.

I will start therefore with the travelling to conference. There are several of us from my institution attending. So we all flew to Johannesburg, 4 of us on the same flight and the 5th would arrive 4 hours later. This gave us an opportunity to explore the airport terminals. When our colleague arrived we got the vehicle. We would drive from Jo'burg to Nelspruit.

We got a real "ossewa", a Volkswagen, the new 5 door groot van. I took the time to take a nap on the 3 and half hour drive to Nelspruit.

Our accommodation is reallly in the "bos" bush, complete with km of sand/clay roads. I feel like a librarian in high heals in Out of Africa. We really do drive "dat die stoff so staan" (driving with the dust billowing behind us). This is about 30 minutes drive on the R4 out of Nelspriut. Nelspruit CBD is quite big.

We are in a pine log cabin, raised from the ground. It makes for a pretty interesting experience. I am sharing with a colleague and last night we found an interesting bug on the shower curtain. The bug was about 5 cm long and its antennae was twice as long. It was cream in colour for the bug lovers out there. I took a picture before my brave and bold colleague helped it out the window.

There is a dam on the estate has 5 Hippos, and the make for interesting noises in the night. There are also grey monkeys in the area. So our drives down the dusty road is scenic, if you can see through the dust.

First blog from Conference

Here we are in Nelspruit on Wednesday morning, and no one has got as far as blogging the conference yet .... mainly because we were battling to find internet facilities ... some of the hotels do have connectivity in the rooms (which you pay an arm and a leg for), some have hot spots (hooray) (Mugg & Bean have a hot spot too) ... so thank heavens for the computer labs in the library on campus which was made available! So if the postings haven't been happening, it is because the group are on a learning curve!

It has been unbearably hot in Nelspruit and the Cape Town librarians have been looking at the weather in CT and wishing they could bring up some of the cooler weather to here. There has been a promise of thunderstorms, but nothing has transpired.

So a quick report back:
What do you call an aeroplane full of librarians? A Biblioplane

Despite the Nationwide strike, there were no delays, but the flight (at least the take-off and landing) was very bumpy -- could have sworn that the wings of the aircraft flapped. But we arrived in Nelspruit on time and waited, and waited and waited for the shuttle.
Conference organisation has been a bit chaotic to say the least, but no LIASA conference has ever run too smoothly -- there always is something that goes wrong & this time for us it was the shuttle transport. And we eventually got a lift through to the hotel from one of the Local Arrangements Committee who happened to be dropping someone off! Our accommodation at the Holiday Inn Express is fine, except despite requests/emails to the conference organisers to make sure that Jean Uys and I had twin beds in the room, we were given one double bed!!!! (We have twin beds now)

So, first day of the proceedings:-
The keynote address was a short, pithy presentation "When Libraries reach the People" given by the Cuban National Librarian, Mr E A Matos, who said that the development of a country was not possible without libraries. He gave a brief outline of Cuban history up until the Revolution in 1959. At that time, there was a 30% illiteracy rate and 32 public libraries. Fidel Castro promoted a cultural policy of "We don't tell people to believe, but to read"

Monday, September 19, 2005

Good morning

I am looking forward to sharing my experiences of LIASA 2005 with the rest of the Western Cape members back home. I am a "new" blogger, so very eager to learn a new skill.

Next time I post something, it will be from Nelspruit!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

First Blogger?

Hi everyone.

Just want to let you know that this is the very first time I blog.
I'm looking forward to interesting tips and comments!

Happy blogging.
Stellenbosch University

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


This is a first for the Western Cape branch of LIASA (Library and Information Association of South Africa) where a group of members going to the Association's annual conference in Nelspruit, have got together to blog the conference, so that the proceedings can be shared with
colleagues who are not able to attend.