Contribution for LIASA-in-Touch

My Journey as a LIASA Librarian of the Year for 2016

I once read somewhere that awards do not only acknowledge success; they also recognize many other qualities, such as ability, struggle, effort, but above all – excellence. I am proud to have been awarded the LIASA Librarian of the Year for 2016, and for sharing the award with Laila Vahed. A huge thank you to the LIASA Gauteng North Branch for putting in so much effort, and for doing all the paper work in preparation of all. The whole process was an incredible experience, and it was and still is a huge honor to represent the GN Branch and LIASA on national level.

There was huge excitement among my colleagues at the Academy of Science of South Africa when they learned that I was one of the final contestants. What an incredible team to work with, and to learn from! From the start I wanted to have a poster that will be somewhat different from ordinary posters. All my colleagues gave valuable input, and the result was an “interactive” poster, demonstrating my passion for all to engage with the online environment in an innovative and creative way when conducting research. Research should be part of the lives of all of us, and we should remain lifelong self-learners, constantly trying to respond to challenges we face as citizens of this world and the environment we live in.

I am extremely thankful to SAPnet for sponsoring the award. The award money has been used to establish a private business, called In the Cloud, which is in the process of being MICT SETA accredited with the help of a company specializing in SETA accreditations. As part of giving back, In the Cloud – with the help and support of SAPnet – will be presenting training in digital citizenship in the Delft community in the Western Cape. The training is scheduled for the June 2017 school holidays. A second community project involves training librarians from Mbazwana in KwaZulu-Natal during May 2017, through the ASSAf Quest Education Specialist. I am looking forward sharing the outcomes of these projects with all once completed. A warm thank you to SAPnet for the incredible support they have given so far, and for the trust they have put in me!

The few months since being elected were filled with highlights – from visiting Spain in my capacity as Ambassador for the Directory of Open Access Journals, to visiting Grenoble in France as project manager for the African Open Science Platform project, and to being interviewed by eNCA during South African Library Week 2017. I see my role in life as making a difference, advocating for open access to quality research information for all SA citizens, to research funded with public money. Once citizens have access to quality information, they can empower themselves. Through democratizing information we also address the inequalities of the past. Working in this highly dynamic high level environment requires continuous learning, bravery, passion, dedication, perseverance, and more. I wish for all librarians to embrace these qualities, and to become strong advocates for access to information – so that others can become strong citizens. Whether in academic or public libraries.

Lastly – thank you to LIASA for creating the platform from where we as librarians can work and grow. My LIASA term as Chair HELIG and Convener ICT Development on EXCO (2014-2016) opened up a whole new world to me, filled with new opportunities, which I fully embraced. I would like to encourage each and every librarian to become and remain active LIASA members, strengthening the association through contributing to solving challenges faced and highlighted by the LIS Transformation Charter and National Development Plan. If we don’t do it, nobody else will do it for us. We all share this responsibility. LIASA is a great place where great minds can think together! Please continue supporting LIASA, and contribute to the profession.

The highlights of my term as Librarian of the Year are posted to the blog I created for this purpose. You are most welcome to follow my journey on this blog, and to comment! Visit https://loy2016blog.wordpress.com/

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