keskiviikko 12. elokuuta 2015

At the University of Western Cape

(Pictures added later on)

Third day in Cape Town and Tuesday was the first work day. In the morning I was taken to Cape flats, where University of Western Cape (UWC) is situated. There are three universities situated in Cape Town and UWC is the smallest. University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University are the biggest. TUAS has a NSS LIS Network program with UWC (among others) and this is why I was spending the day here, touring the library, giving a lecture to students and a public lecture. The university visit will continue on Wednesday in a satellite conference they are organizing.
UWC was established in 1959 to be the national university for the “coloured” people. The institution got a university status in 1970. The university has had a profile of unity and equity.  In 1982 the university formally resigned from apartheid thinking. At the moment the university is raising the research profile and the department of library and information science has 9 doctoral students.
The visit to the library was very homely! Hundreds of students working, a lot of working spaces, what we do not see in Finland in those numbers. The library is a hotspot of the campus! I was taken to a tour around and learned that because of the poorer financial conditions of the students (compared to the other two universities in the area), the library has done a lot to help out the students. They are for example giving out long time lending of course books to students for the whole year. They have been able to but a lot of material for this purpose because a large donation from Desmond Tutu. A lot of computer areas and printers are provided for the use of the students.
The student fees for a year go up to 1000 € per year. The library is also employing some 50 students do work in the lending desks and diminish in that way the payment of tuitions. Tuitions is one of the reasons for quite a number of people dropping out.  Still the tuitions are lowest here compared to other local universities. The university has also invested in giving more possibilities to disabled students and they at the moment have the best possibilities for disabled students to study.
The university library is also very active in implementing information literacy issues to teaching students. In collaboration with the library and information department, the library has this year adopted the renewed ACRL information literacy framework to the needs of the university library. The experiences until now have been really promising. A view of the framework will most likely be a subject of a blogpost later on. A discussion with the IL librarian Shehaamah Mohamed was very interesting and we will keep contact in the future.
I gave two lectures during this day. First was to the second year LIS students about my research in information literacy conceptions. There were about 15 students present, well done considering that this was not their normal day for lectures. The second was a public lecture presenting Turku University of Applied Sciences and what is the role of school libraries and public libraries in learning in Finland. The participants were from the university library, school library interest group, students and also public library librarians.
After a several discussions with Head of the Department Sandy Zinn and all the people I met that day, it is clear that we are facing similar issues. How is library seen as a space for learning? How must information literacy teaching be implemented and how to collaborate with schools?


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