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The Durban University of Technology (DUT) continues to commend all its essential service workers for their dedication and commitment in providing services to the DUT community during the COVID-19 pandemic. DUT’s Communications team’s Waheeda Peters spoke to the Manager: Campus Library and Sites (BM Patel, City Campus and Brickfield Campus library sites), Ms Patiswa Zibani who joined the University in December 2019.  

Q: Kindly tell me about your role at the Library?

A: “I am the Manager: Campus Library and Sites (BM Patel, City Campus and Brickfield Campus library sites). My portfolio oversees management of library operations and services, management of facilities and infrastructural development for the sites indicated above as well as convening marketing activities for all DUT Library sites.”

Q: How long have you been at DUT in that role?

A: “Since December 2019, which is one year, 4 months.”

Q: How would you describe yourself?

A: “I am a very hard-working, goal driven, professional, friendly, loyal and humble person.”

Q: How do you cope with student requests for research at the library or borrowing of books, etc, especially with COVID-19?

A: “As the DUT Library we have adjusted service operations, and access to resources and facilities to be in line with lockdown levels as instituted countrywide. Further to that we have ensured that the following are in place:

  • Several measures have been implemented to ensure that library spaces and information services are reorganized to maintain social distancing.
  • We have frontline staff who provide business continuity in terms of circulation of library resources.
  • DUT library has invested in the UV Light Technology for books disinfection, this allows circulation of books without fear of spreading virus infection and eliminates the quarantine of materials.
  • DUT library provides virtual services and The Ask a Librarian chat facility, that remain operational during office hours.”

Q: What are your main challenges you face daily?

A: “Service provision in the times of the pandemic- (we strive to ensure business continuity through physical and virtual platforms regardless of the challenges). My role as the manager is more on driving the library strategy in terms of service operations and management, my challenge is on letting go, not because I do not trust my teams’ strengths and capabilities but mostly because I want to be at ease in knowing things are done accordingly.”

Q: How do you de-stress in your own capacity considering the mental capacity of your day?

A: “I do yoga and pilates.”

Q: A typical day entails…

A: “30 Minutes before start time, I check my calendar and emails, set priority tasks e.g., library operations and management responsibilities. I also participate in library management meetings and other forum meetings, drafting /contribution to strategic documents, depending on what is on the agenda for the particular day or week.”

Q: If you had one wish, what would it be?

A: “The ability to help everyone around me.”

Q: What do you treasure the most in life?

A: “My family.”

 Q: What are your favourite things to do when not at work?

A: “I love cooking, it gives me a platform for creativity and experimenting.”

Q: Your favourite part of the day?

A: “Mornings-my energy levels are high, and it presents an opportunity to define the day ahead for me and what is expected in my role as an employee.”

Q: Are you a radio, series or reality TV person?

A: “I am not much of a fan of all the above but occasionally if I do not have something keeping me busy, I would watch a reality show.”

Q: Your practical advice or mantra you follow and would impart to students is?

A: “My practical advice is informed by my religious beliefs, to be specific a verse in the book of Philippians 4:8. So my thinking and actions centre around what is right, noble, pure, and lovely.”

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