The Experience

Following the opening of the Rhodes University Library's new wing in February of this year, gate count statistics, which log the users leaving the main entrance for the purposes of management information, have given a good indication of increased student activity in the Library.

If one looks at year on year comparisons, a significant increase in library usage becomes apparent, with over 48 000 users recorded at the gate in February this year, as opposed to 36 000 at the same time in 2009. Even more telling are the figures from May this year and last, when students were preparing for their mid-year exams.

In May 2010 the gate count jumped to a record high of 74 500 users, whereas in May 2009 only 57 700 were recorded. Already before the completion of Phase 2 of the build and the opening of the new Library in its entirety, a pattern of increased usage of the Library at all times was beginning to emerge.

And what do the students think of the Library? I spoke to some of them outside the impressive new entrance, and was overwhelmed at how positive their responses were.

“There is lots of space to study; you never have to fight for study and computer space, which makes for an environment conducive to learning,” said Klyne Maharaj, a first year student. His companion, Heather Scott, also in her first year, reminds me that, being new to the University, they didn't have the opportunity to use the old Library at all, but adds that she really enjoys making use of this one. “You feel like a real academic when you study in this Library,” she smiles.

“It's a big improvement on the old Library – I'm enjoying the greater access to IT Services,” said Stacey Muller, a third year student hurrying inside to continue her exam studies. Close behind her were Pulane Mokoena and Dora Mwangola, two second year BSc students. “We always work here,” said Pulane. “It's beautiful – it's really big and with so much more studying area than the old library.” Dora added that she never used to come to the old library, “I only started coming this year, when more space was available.” She particularly likes having computers on each floor, “for easy access if you need to search for something.”

The last word goes to Zamiwe Banda Chilufya:
“It's lovely, comfortable, spacious, a nice environment. The flat screen computers make it a lovely place to work in – you just feel like doing your work!”

Daily Dispatch, Wednesday, November 24, 2010, p.12

Feature writer: Jean Mckeown

Additional: Cathy Gush

Last Modified: Mon, 07 Dec 2015 10:55:45 SAST