The vast renovations at Stellenbosch University (SU) Library are in full swing and on schedule to be completed by early November 2021.
Forming part of the Campus Renewal Project and ongoing visual redress on SU's campuses, the R20,5 million renovations will further expand SU's excellent facilities and infrastructure, and advance its reputation as an excellent research-intensive university.
According to Mr Siviwe Bangani, director of Research Services at SU Library Services, students and other library visitors will benefit from the comprehensive and premium-quality support services of an upgraded facility. “Patrons can rest assured that they will be served by a cutting-edge library that will be on a par with other top university libraries in South Africa and internationally." He adds: “With these renovations, we are envisaging spaces that will promote integration and collaboration, and will bridge the gap between students' in-class and library experience. Ultimately, the project will align the library strategically with SU's Vision 2040."
Ms Ellen Tise, senior director of SU's Library and Information Service, foresees a more welcoming and user-friendly space for students and researchers. “The renovated library will be in line with international library trends of promoting student learning and research through creative and stimulating spaces," she says.
While the library has had several internal upgrades over the years, the foyer and restrooms have never been renovated. Now, library users can, among others, look forward to a foyer with world-class technology, newly installed external fibre infrastructure and an upgraded mechanical ventilation system, says Mr Japie Engelbrecht, Facilities Management's director of Project Management. The security entrance will change, and the turnstile entrances be moved closer to the front door. A new client service desk with both manual and automatic lending facilities are also being planned. In addition, the top-floor restrooms will become gender-neutral.
New library spaces will promote face-to-face interaction between students and library staff, while improved reading areas will enhance students' reading experience, whether reading for study purposes or leisure.
The renovations are taking place in three phases. Phase 1 (April–August 2021) is dedicated to renovations of the client service desk, short loans and related staff work areas, as well as staff restrooms on the upper level and student restrooms on the lower level, and three local area network (LAN) rooms. In phase 2 (August–October 2021), the upper level student restrooms will be closed off for construction. And in the central section of the upper level, new study and work areas will be created, new flooring fitted, and the computer workstations and printer reinstated. Running in parallel with phase 2, phase 3 (September–November 2021) will see the entrance foyer, access control and security area being renovated and an adjacent reading area as well as new work desks for students being installed.
The library will remain open and continue serving its patrons throughout all three renovation phases. The University apologises in advance to students, researchers and other library visitors for any inconvenience caused. “We count on and appreciate library users' patience and understanding. At least, they can take comfort from knowing that once the work is done, they will have access to world-class spaces," Bangani concludes.
For more on the renovations, click here.