31 December 2018 | Story Charlene Stanley | Photo Charlene Stanley
Kego Phuthi
Kegomodicwe Phuthi’s passion for books extends far beyond her work at the UFS Sasol Library.

She was born with a love for books and finds herself looking for something to read wherever she goes.

“That’s how I learn something new every day,” says Kegomodicwe Phuthi, whose passion for reading is reflected in the things she gets up to after leaving her office at the UFS Sasol library.  

She’s been a librarian for the past 22 years, working at various libraries in the Northern Cape, North West and Free State. Since 2015, she’s been the faculty librarian for the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at Kovsies.

“I’m passionate about my job,” she says. “It’s always wonderful to see someone coming in here, not knowing much about books or how to access information, and then learning something and leaving with hope.”

She believes that when a love for reading is inculcated from childhood, students will not struggle when they come to university. Her own daughter Rebaone, a student in Music and Computer Sciences at Kovsies, is living proof of this.

“I read to her even before she was born!” she laughs. “And now I can see the results, as she gets distinctions in almost all her subjects.”

Kegomodicwe has been named Free State Librarian of the Year by the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA). Factors considered include the fact that she started many libraries from scratch and also does volunteer work after hours at a Bloemfontein children’s home, reading to kids and teaching them a love for reading.

“It’s great to get this kind of acknowledgment,” she says. “The library is really the nucleus of the whole university. For me, it’s an honour to serve here. Most people look down on servants, but for me it’s the most powerful thing. All good leaders start as servants.”