Monday, June 3, 2013

Hi everyone, Is this blog still alive? Where is everyone? Anyway - I just dropped by to say hello!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Last Days at Purdue

As we enter the last few days of our Internship in the United States, I am in between two worlds. I am really looking forward going home, to my family and friends and colleagues. But there is also a looming sadness of leaving my newfound friend and colleagues here at Purdue University, West Lafayette. I found a home away from home, a place were I could settle, a University Libraries where I can work . To Dean Jim Mullins and my colleagues and friends at Purdue, thank you so much for your hospitality, Your eager sharing of knowledge and expertise. To my to hosts Gretchen Stephens and Jane Yatcilla, I cound't ask for better.

Also thanks to the Mortenson Center for their wonderful program  and trouble they went to make this journey a once in a lifetime opportunity.

To my fellow Interns, you're the best. May we see many good results growing from this experience.

Tertia Coetsee

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reflections @ the journey's end

So, the dreaded/welcome last week/week of lasts has arrived. Talk about mixed feelings! Thoughts of family and friends back home have me counting the days, but on the other hand, I am acutely aware of the fact that a very special time and once in a lifetime opportunity is sadly drawing to a close. I keep on asking myself, have I done enough? I certainly hope so. I’ve had days where my head could explode from information overload; I’ve had days of quiet reflection. I’ve had days surrounded by too many people, too many voices; I’ve had silent, lonely days. I’ve tried to process al the experiences and information in an orderly fashion – hoping to create a logical aide memoir and reference for myself to refer to when I get home. But, I think I’m already feeling the pressure of the most difficult part which is yet to come: Doing something, giving back, sharing… I hope that our “Open Access” group of interns (and friends) will keep on supporting each other once we are back at home. So let me end by thanking Carnegie, the organizers, my fellow interns and, of course, our welcoming US hosts at Mortenson and Duke. It’s been a truly exceptional experience!

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's been an incredible journey!

Thank you!

The time is drawing to a close when we have to leave the US and head off home to South Africa. It has been an incredible journey and I feel so privileged to have been in the US and at Cornell University. I have learnt so much about libraries in the US and have met with such wonderful people who were so willing to share their time and ideas with me. Thank you to the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, Cornell University and Mann Library for hosting me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


There is something amazing about traveling and stepping out of your comfort zone. You get to see places and meet new people and then your perspective in life general changes, and your thinking is challenged. You are suddenly faced with having to identify which puzzle fits where because suddenly you start seeing things in the bigger picture. This is happening to me every single day since I've stepped on the plane to the United States. It has to do with leaving my own comfortable country and my own Library and allowing myself to see the larger part of the puzzle.

I am enjoying my travels, there is a lot to take in, I take in a lot each day and at the end of the week I sit and I try to make sense of things. I am hoping in the end things will start making sense. Right now it is better to just report the facts as they are. It has been great writing the weekly reports so far because they somehow help you keep things on track and let you to stay on the path and help to keep one focused.

I have settled very well at Yale, I feel very much part of the staff, it feels like a dream sometimes but it is all coming together now. I am now familiar with the majority of different buildings and different Libraries on campus without getting lost, and I can identify a number of staff members. All my weekends are fully booked, my days are busy and my evenings are full, its all great fun. I look forward to see everyone in San Fransisco this weekend, I just can't wait, three weeks has been a long time without seeing each other but thank God for Skype, cellphones etc we can never really be too far from each other.

I miss you all!

Discard or Keep

It was intriguing to find that U.S. Academic libraries rarely sell books. Instead they construct huge remote storages that are temperature controlled to keep their print collections. Collections  kept on a remote storage is accessible to scholars on demand. Technology has enabled these collection to be transported by  robot driven cranes from underground storage to the circulation desk. In some cases the period between the request and availability a collection takes as little as 15minutes. Another myth has been that U.S. academic libraries only keep electronic material. But the evidence from different institutions including the State University of Chicago is that huge print collection are stored in underground storage and easilly accessible to Researchers and Scholars. South African Academic needs to learn from these lessons and start building storage collaboratively or by region.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring break, Mar 19-23

Its is Spring break and Career Development Week here at Cornell. I have been attending some very interesting presentations. Today, I will be attending a talk by an archaeologist who did some excavations in the Near East. Can't wait. I visited Uris Library again yesterday, look what I found in the library.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Milton S. Eisenhower Library (Sheridan Libraries), Johns Hopkins University

The best weather ever and the most wonderful people in Baltimore, Maryland.
Up to now I have been exposed to more than one of the Sheridan Libraries and many departments and working groups. I have two offices, one in the Milton S Eisenhower
 Library but referred to as just Eisenhower Library, Homewood Campus and the other William H. Welch Medical Library. The librarians are wonderful and so eager to share their practices. I also had the privilege to attend and Information Literacy lecture on M & O (Maryland and Ohio Railroads) at the Peabody Institute Library known as George Peabody Library. This was an overwhelming week and challenging in how to formulate the picture of who does what, where and how? Interesting that the structure of Medical Library function completely independent from the Eisenhower Library.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Albert R. Mann Library, Ithaca, New York

I am based at the Mann Library, which is a beautifully renovated library. I have just received my NetID and email so am officially part of Cornell Univ. I have not had a full calendar of events this week. Am off to Albany, New York this evening to attend a conference tomorrow. I have seen the most stunning old library on campus, the URIS library also called the 'Harry Potter library.' Here are some pictures of the URIS library.

First few days in Canada

Arrived on Saturday late afternoon to some snow on the ground -    different snow to that in Orchard Downs. Smaller crystals -  have been told that it was good snowman-making snow.    Weather is warm -  same as Cape Town's weather currently!   A little bit of rain,  and some early morning thunder and lightning.    Apartment is spacious with a brilliant view of Kitchener and Waterloo.  (I am on the 16th floor).    And is about a 10 minute walk away from campus.      Everyone is soooo friendly, and helpful.

I have a little office in the Information Services and Resources Section of the Dana Porter Library in the University of Waterloo Library.    Also, I now have a UWaterloo email address for the duration of the time I am here, and am using it mainly for scheduling of my time.  

My calendar isn't too full this week,  so there is time to reflect on the hectic three weeks in Urbana-Champaign,  so I am putting my report(s) together for Pat, and putting some more touches to the presentation and composing postings for my own blog*.      Did you see our photo on the Mortenson Center website?

* started in 2004 with the first visit to Mortenson.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

First days at Duke University Libraries

After the first three whirlwind weeks I've settled in quite comfortably at Duke University. Spring is in the air and the fairytale campus welcomes it with open arms (I might need a new wardrobe though...). I feel as if our time in Illinois under the guidance of Barbara, Susan and Jamie of the Mortenson Centre has prepared me well for the remainder of the visit. I find conversations with colleagues very stimulating as I feel I now have a broader understanding of academic and research libraries in the US and how they operate. I appreciate the pockets of reflective downtime that I have here which enables me to process the continuous stream of information and experiences that come my way. Right now I'm taking a break before getting ready for my welcome reception in the glorious Rare Books room where I would happily be locked up in!

Monday, March 12, 2012

University of Kentucky

Lexington in Kentucky is a wonderful town to be in this time of year. Everything is green and so clean. It has the look and feel of Stellenbosch with the old and the new. My host is just wonderful and Toni and Carla has really spoiled me since i got here. On Sunday i had a tour of the town and today i had a tour of the campus. I will be meeting the Dean tommorow and some other staff members. I am happy to be here and the people are friendly and just wonderful.