New library serves three universities
The Phyllis Ntantala Collaborative Library, which will cater for approximately 18,000 students from Walter Sisulu and Fort Hare universities as well as Unisa, was officially opened on Saturday October 20.
The launch was attended by minister of higher education and training Naledi Pandor, who also cut the ribbon.
Pandor, whose department contributed more than half of the funding to the project through the Infrastructure Efficiency Grant, said maintenance was the most vital intervention in preserving infrastructure.
“Facilities are prematurely reaching the end of their useful lives. It is important that when new facilities are built, life-cycle costs are taken into account. Equally, these three universities must ensure that this collaborative library is regularly maintained,” she said.
President of the South African Union of Students (SAUS), Misheck Mugabe, also called on students from the universities to protect and maintain the library.
“We are very happy that the collaborative project gave birth to a state-of-the-art facility.
“It is the students who will benefit from this library, hence we urge all to protect it and not burn it so that future generations can also use it,” he said.
WSU spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo said the library would support teaching, learning and research for institutions within the East London area, and the province at large.
Tukwayo said the new library was “envisaged to have a capacity to deal with the volume of students from all three universities, and to be easily accessible to students and staff.
“The library will be the custodian of books, a showcase for new information, a place for thought, discussion and reflection and will include book collections, e-resources, a multimedia centre, reading and study space, as well as administrative offices,” she said.
WSU vice-chancellor professor Rob Midgley said the new facility was the fulfillment of a dream.
“This state-of-the-art, up-tospeed, modern and progressive platform can benefit the staff and students of all these institutions and it is imperative that these three universities collaborate and share resources wherever possible,” he said.