10 December 2020 | Story Jóhann Thormählen | Photo Anja Aucamp
Library Read More Anja Aucamp
Proud UFS LIS staff members. From the left: Ronet Vrey, Betsy Eister, Lee Goliath, Kegomodicwe Phuthi, and Jeannet Molopyane.

When students and staff speak, the University of the Free State Library and Information Services (UFS LIS) listens. Not only does this result in maintaining high service delivery, but it also led to producing accredited research that can assist other libraries.

The UFS LIS research shows that it values the “voice of the UFS community and thus pauses and touches base”, says Betsy Eister, Director: Library and Information Services.

LIS published an article, How is our service delivery? How can we do better? A total quality management (TQM) analysis of an academic library, in a DHET-accredited journal, Innovations: journal of appropriate librarianship and information work in Southern Africa in June 2020.

An urgency for information needs

Eister is very proud. “An academic library is an extension of what happens in lecture halls and in research, and for the LIS staff to be researchers themselves is testimony to the belief and the high regard they place in their work.”

She says it is important to determine the relevance of the LIS services. They experienced concerns from staff and students and conducted a ‘holistic needs and concerns assessment’.

The LIS has learnt a few lessons in the research process, says Eister. Firstly, they can also contribute to the existing body of knowledge by sharing experiences. “We learnt that we are producing a lot of data on a regular basis, and that can be used for action research purposes – through ethical clearance, of course.”

The research also helped them understand what academics go through to publish papers and the urgency of their information needs.

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