Panel discussion: UFS Libraries are responding creatively to the COVID-19 Pandemic
29 April 2021 13:00 -29 April 2021 14:30

The year 2020 saw the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down traditional library services for many university and public libraries. Libraries closed for the public as a visit to the library was not considered an essential service and doors were shut completely. Book circulations halted to a stop and when books were eventually being returned from users, these books had to be quarantined. Obviously it is important to note that this did not only happen in South Africa but around the world. A year later the libraries are working hard to try to find innovative ways to go back to offering full services where users can safely walk into the library and access information. With all these challenges, it doesn’t mean that librarians and information workers haven’t been busy, nor helpful. If anything, the pandemic has placed them in even greater demand as they contribute in ways both expected and perhaps not-so-much.

One is tempted to salute all the librarians at institutions of higher learning especially the University of the Free State who are stepping up to the challenges of these unusual times. Here’s just a tiny sampling of what some of these academic heroes are doing. In this very difficult time the UFS Library and Information Services’ Interlibrary Loan (ILL) division was recognised for excellence by a global cooperative, OCLC. Peter Collins, Director of Resource Sharing at OCLC, says they chose to enrol the UFS Sasol Library in the OCLC’s Express Digital Delivery Programme because of the exceptional work of the staff in the ILL division.  

There is however more that still needs to be done. Kindly join us on 29 April 2021 at 13:00-14:30 as we host a panel discussion under the 2021 Library Week theme “Libraries Matter”. 




Mr Kepi Madumo is a highly experienced executive who, since early 2002, has gained senior leadership experience in the Library and Information Sector as Director: Provincial Library, Information and Archives Services in the North West Province. Among other qualifications Mr Madumo holds a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Studies from the University Cape Town, he now serves as the National Librarian of South Africa

Mr Mandla Ntombela is the current president of the African Library and Information Association and Institution (AfLIA). He believes that inclusive library and information services are necessary for development of Africa. According to him, African libraries should never be found wanting in the provision of relevant services that meet the diverse need of the different sections of their communities in educational institutions at all levels. It is therefore not surprising that he has chosen to lead the South African Library for the Blind as the Chief Executive Director. Mr Ntombela holds a Master’s Degree in Library and Information studies from KZN University.

Ujala Satgoor is the current Executive Director of Libraries at the University of Cape Town. Ms Satgoor believes that the greatest asset of an institution is its diversity and human capital, and that success depends on a work environment that values and develops its employees. As a leader she recognises the importance of staff development as a strategic imperative for institutional alignment and responsiveness. Ujala holds a master’s degree in information technology and a postgraduate diploma in library and information science.

Mr Shadreck Ndinde is the current president of Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA), he is an academic an Information professional with a passion for Information Technology application to Industry and communication services as well as assisting various research projects. He has worked for Ministry of education sports and culture, Public Service Commission, Great Zimbabwe University Library. He was once appointed to the position of Acting Assistant librarian at Great Zimbabwe University, Faculty of Arts Librarian and Head of Systems Department 

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.