18th LIASA Annual Conference: Abstracts: The re-imagining of the Nelson Mandela University Library and Information Services (LIS) for the 21st century: the journey

The re-imagining of the Nelson Mandela University Library and Information Services (LIS) for the 21st century: the journey

Ndileka Agatha Mtshizana

The purpose of this paper is to share the journey that the NMMU LIS is taking towards re- imagining itself.  It commenced with a self-review which examined whether it is fit for purpose to apply the strategies that will assist with achieving our mission and vision aligned to the institutions vision 2030.  The main idea is to remain relevant to the university community and beyond its borders while remaining in line with national development imperatives.  NMMU’s environmental scan dates back to 2005 when the current university library was formed with the merge of the Port Elizabeth Technikon and the University of Port Elizabeth libraries.  Much has happened since then and the university has grown in leaps and bounds and therefore the NMMU LIS wishes to ensure that it has structures and processes in place that can serve its clientele well for the next season.

As we change name and identity to Nelson Mandela University, we need to ensure that we are indeed fit for purpose, that our operations are optimized and streamlined, and that we have the necessary flexibility to respond to new opportunities both nationally and internationally.  The journey looks at whether our current LIS structures and modes of operation are optimal and adequate for the next thirteen years.  The exciting journey includes quite a number of processes like changing places, spaces, changing technology and transformation.  In so doing we will re-invent ourselves – the future of the library is changing.

The thrust of this paper is on changing faces of the librarian, NMMU will portray its various strategies in the realization of the envisioned Librarian with special reference to the futuristic roles of the Librarian, embedded Librarian, Librarian’s competencies and soft skills.  It is critical for the LIS as a whole to consider what the future could hold and discuss the skills needed within that future.