New e-learning facility is to encourage academic development.

The Wartenweiler Library’s 24-hour reading room has been closed since Monday, August 5, to make way for a new learning and innovation centre, to be completed by March 2020.

University librarian Paiki Muswazi told Wits Vuvuzela that students may still use the library during normal hours and the West Campus Commerce Library will serve as an alternate

Students walk past the Wartenweiler Library, where renovations commence in August 2019 and will be complete by March 2020. Photo: Ortal Hadad

24-hour reading facility.

Director of the Writing Centre, Pamela Nichols, said that the centre may have to relocate from the ground floor of the library, not only because of the noise, but also because the dust from the construction could damage books.

“We are going to wait and see how disruptive the building is going to be before making any further decisions,” said Nichols.

If necessary, the centre may move to a temporary space in either Wartenweiler or William Cullen Library.

Second-year engineering student, Dumsani Noah, said, “Now I have to move from [the library] and start studying in my room, where there is a lot of noise.”

Another student concern is safety while walking across campus after hours. Dining-hall staff members, Nonhlanhla Mabanga and Nobuhle Mahlangu,who attend lectures after hours at Wits Plus, were both concerned about walking from the Commerce Library to the far side of East Campus at night to catch a taxi home.

“We would appeal to our users to keep in mind the ultimate benefits of this project,” said Muswazi.

The vision for the new centre is to facilitate engagement among academics, researchers and students.

“It is part of a bigger initiative to give our community access to hi-tech library services in an integrated virtual and physical library with teaching, learning, research and social spaces,” Muswazi said.

The centre’s services will be freely accessible to all registered students and will run in conjunction with the library and the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Development.