October 16, 2009

Library Delegation to South Africa

So some time just after the beginning of the year, I get an unsolicited letter in the mail. It is an invitation to join a Library Sciences delegation through People-to-People to South Africa in October. At first, I didn't know if it was real. Sure a past-president of ALA was the leader but still it had a "chain-letter" feel to it. But instead of just trashing the letter, I started checking it out. Sure enough, People-to-People is real as is John Berry, ALA Past-President. This delegation was real and if I could afford it, my opportunity to participate was also real. I didn't know how I was going to pull of the financial commitment but I paid the initial deposit and let the universe work.

One of the biggest hurdles was school. How could I leave the counrty for two weeks right in the middle of a semester? It's amazing but it can be done. I've rearranged a number of assignments and I have a specific assignment to complete while I'm on my trip (more blog entries about this afterwards). The main thing that is going to hurt me this semester is my Readings course. I'm behind on turning in my paper and this trip is just going to further delay it. I'm not sure how that's going to turn out, but stay tuned!

Also, I'm going to do a short presentation while we're there. I'm going to speak about the International program that my professor runs every year. She take a group of graduate students to international school and does library automation projects. (We're going to Kyev, Ukraine this year.)

So, folks, here we are 3 days from departure!!!

I have all my shots. I have made all kinds of arrangements to make sure my work gets covered and my school work is done ahead of time. What's left is packing all everything that goes with it.

Here's the plan for the next 14 days!!!!
I'll write again when I get back.


Monday, October 19, 2009 Depart Day 1

The delegation will gather at Washington Dulles International Airport for departure to Johannesburg, South Africa this afternoon. South African Airways flight #208 is scheduled to depart at 5:40 pm. No event or gathering will take place in the U.S. today.

Tuesday, October 20 Arrival Day 2

Upon arrival in Johannesburg at the Tambo International Airport this evening, a People to People representative will meet the delegation members arriving on the group flight after you exit the customs and passport control area.

You will be transferred to the group hotel for your stay in the Johannesburg area. The Protea Wanderers is situated just 35 minutes from the International Airport. Sandton, Rosebank and the Melrose Arch Precinct are all only minutes away.

The hotel has every amenity of a first class hotel. They have bathrooms with separate bath and shower, an executive work desk and leather chair, computer and modem plug–points with wireless internet access. They are also equipped with satellite television, electronic safes and full blackout curtains. Air–conditioning is individually controlled and amenities include tea & coffee making facilities, European adapters, and hairdryer.

Check in and then make your way to dinner, which will be provided in the dining room on the ground floor of the hotel around 8:30 pm. Your Johannesburg local guide will join you for dinner and discuss logistics for tomorrow’s activities, specifically gifts for the afternoon professional meeting.

Wednesday, October 21 Johannesburg Day 3

Please Note: Breakfast will be provided daily during your stay in South Africa.

This morning delegates and guests will join the local representative of People to People Ambassador Programs at the hotel for an orientation and cultural briefing on South Africa. The exact briefing venue will be announced upon arrival. Estimated time is from 8:30 -10:45 am. The delegation will be briefed on the political and cultural diversity of South Africa and receive further information on the delegation.

Immediately following the briefing, professional delegates will meet with Rachel More from the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA).

The Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) is a professional non-profit organization uniting and representing all institutions and people working in libraries and information services in South Africa. It strives to unite, develop and empower all people in the library and information field into an organization that provides dynamic leadership in transforming, developing and sustaining library and information services for all people in South Africa.

Professional program focusing on:

• The state of librarianship in South Africa
• LIASA activities & purpose

Lunch will be provided this afternoon at a local restaurant.

Immediately following lunch, professional delegates will depart for Soweto, a peri-urban city where stark contrasts preside from the palatial homes of millionaires to the shack next door inhabited by the destitute. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Hector Pietersen Museum.


Please note that only those delegates listed as a guest in this final information packet are confirmed and able to attend the outlined guest program. Please refer to the rooming list or delegate roster to check your status as a guest/professional.

After the briefing this morning, guests will depart for an exploration of Pretoria. Lunch will be provided today along with a stop at the Voortrekker Monument, where your local guide will discuss the history of the Great Trek. While at the monument, enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of Pretoria.

Note: We are finalizing details for an event hosted by the Consulate General of the U.S. Embassy this evening from 6pm to 8pm; details will follow in the next several days.

Thursday, October 22 Johannesburg Day 4


This morning, delegates will visit the University of Pretoria (UP). UP is the leading research university in South Africa and one of the largest in the country. In 2008, student numbers totalled 57,409 (38,934 contact and 18,475 distance). The University has six campuses and a number of other sites of operation such as the Pretoria Academic Hospital. Central administration is located at the Hatfield campus.

In 1933 it was decided by the University to construct a separate building for the library which was then still located in the Old Arts building. With a contribution of £10 000 from mining geologist Dr. Hans Merensky, construction started in 1937. General Jan Smuts laid the cornerstone on 11 October 1937 and on 15 April 1938 the building was officially opened.

“This country has given me so much that I am only too happy to be allowed to help it to develop and to be able to give back to it a fraction of what it has given to me...” - Hans Merensky, at the opening of the Merensky Library.

In designing the building, architect Gerhard Moerdyk was influenced by various styles, including Art Deco, Neo-Classicism, Arts and Crafts, as well as local styles such as Cape Dutch and Regency. Moerdyk himself described the building as a study in Persian style, with influences from Africa including the Zimbabwe and ancient Egyptian ruins. He used local materials and incorporated symbols of African origin. The prominent zigzag pattern, for example, is taken from the Zimbabwe ruins and represents water and fertility, the crocodile as a water figure and the bird as a symbol of space, symbolizing the freedom and creativity of the author. The curving of the walls symbolizes an open book. The green beveled glass windows were imported from Italy and helped to minimize heat from the sun and also protected paper against ultraviolet light. The design of the building is a source of controversy and speculation with some claiming that Moerdyk used it as a practice run for the design of the Voortrekker Monument, as there are many similarities between the two buildings. Today this national monument serves as the Edoardo Villa museum and also houses amongst others, a Mimi Coertse, Marita Napier and the largest South African sheet music collections.

Professional program focusing on:

• E-learning and digitization in large academic institutions – addressed by Dr. Heila Pienaar

Later this morning, meet with UNISA (University of South Africa). The Unisa Library is one of the largest academic libraries in Africa and also one of the best-endowed with information resources, information technology and expert staff. The University of South Africa (Unisa) has been in existence since 1873. The Library came into being in 1946 when Unisa introduced distance teaching as a mode of tuition.
The last 50 years have been a period of rapid growth, with the printed book collection now totaling over 1.5 million items. In addition, the Library stocks over 300,000 other items as well as 4,000 current periodical titles. They also subscribe to an increasing number of electronic journals (e-journals). Both the e-journals and the growing collection of electronic books (e-books) are available to Unisa students and staff online 24/7 via the Internet, regardless of the user’s physical location.

Professional program focusing on:

• How distance learning challenges academic and other libraries – addressed by Dr. Judy Henning

Lunch is by individual arrangement (own expense).

After lunch, delegates will meet with members of the Mae Jemison US Science Reading Room to interact with staff and children. The Reading Room is on the Mamelodi Campus of the University of Pretoria. The Mae Jemison US Science Reading Room was opened at the Mamelodi Campus by the US Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Eric M. Bost, and the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Professor Calie Pistorius. As the result of a partnership between the University of Pretoria and the United States Embassy in Pretoria, learners such as Donald Thabang from Meetse A Bophelo Primary School in Mamelodi, can have access to a science education facility within the community.

The Reading Room is named after the first African-American woman astronaut, Dr. Mae Jemison. The facility was established at a cost of R2.5 million and is aimed at boosting the education of students in the community about science and related subjects.

Professional program focusing on:

• Site visit, including interaction with staff and children


Today’s voyage for the guests begins with a visit to the Apartheid Museum. Here you will embark on an exploration of the history of South Africa through her darkest years. In the afternoon, visit the Orlando Children’s Home. The home is an institution that takes in abandoned and orphaned children, aged newborn to 21, sent there by the Children’s Court. There are currently more than 60 children that reside at the home.

Dinner will be provided tonight for the delegation at a local restaurant.

Friday, October 23 Johannesburg to Cape Town Day 5


NOTE: Everyone needs to be checked out and all incidental expenses accounted for by 8:00 am. Departure this morning from the hotel is at 8:30 am.

Late this morning, delegates and guests will visit the Origins Museum. The Origins Centre is a world-class museum facility that comprises two independent, but closely linked, museums. The first of these is the South African Museum of Rock Art (SAMORA) and the second is the James Kitching Gallery (JKG). SAMORA has exhibits that consider the origins of modern humans and human image-making, whereas the JKG has exhibits that more broadly consider the origins of life on Earth. What links these two museums is their mutual interest in origins, thus the name of the facility.

Lunch is by individual arrangement (own expense) at the Origins Centre.

The entire delegation will be transported to the Johannesburg Airport this afternoon, where you will check in for your afternoon flight to Cape Town.

Arrive in Cape Town where the Cape Town guide will meet the delegation and assist with the transfer to the group hotel. The Southern Sun Cape Sun is a lovely and modern hotel located in the city center overlooking Table Mountain and the Harbor. Iron and boards are available on request through housekeeping and guest rooms are 220V only. Rooms also have WiFi Hot Spot connectivity.

Dinner is by individual arrangement (own expense). You may want to dine in this evening (room service available 24/7) at Riempies Restaurant. For those who want to venture outside of the hotel, please check with the concierge or your local guide for restaurant recommendations.

Saturday, October 24 Cape Town Day 6


Today, delegates and guests will have a coach tour of the Cape Peninsula and Cape Point in the Table Mountain National Park. Your day’s travels will lead you to Camps Bay, Hout Bay, the magnificent Chapman’s Peak Drive and the Cape Peninsula National Park, which features Cape Point, the place at which legend claims the Atlantic and Indian oceans merge.

Lunch will be provided at a local restaurant.

After lunch continue on your exploration with a visit to see the African penguin colony at Boulders Beach, home to the rare African penguin in its natural surroundings. Also enjoy a visit to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Dinner is by individual arrangement (own expense).

Sunday, October 25 Cape Town Day 7

A series of options will be offered for the cultural program today. Sign-up and payment will take place after arrival in Johannesburg. **Please note: These activities are completely optional. Your National Guide can arrange for your participation in one of the below (at your expense), or you may have the day at leisure, or arrange your own activities. **

Opportunities include: (prices are subject to change)

 Green Market Square (no additional charge – close to hotel)
 Walking Township Tour (400 Rand per person)
 Robben Island (220 Rand per person)

Lunch is by individual arrangement (own expense).

This evening delegates and guests will enjoy dinner hosted at the home of a local family. If the delegation would like to collaborate on a small thank you gift for your hosts this evening, please note that a bottle of wine (or two) or regional crafts or candies might make a nice gift from your home state.

Monday, October 26 Cape Town Day 8


This morning, delegates will visit the Cape Town Central Library. This public facility is open 6 days a week (closed on Sunday). Previously housed in the City Hall the library moved to the site of the Old Drill Hall in September of 2008. The new, refurbished library, located in the Old Drill Hall on the corner of Parade and Darling Streets, now offers an improved range of books and periodicals, as well as computers and study spaces in a more spacious venue. The City has spent +/- R34 million on renovating the building's interior, creating a new basement area to enlarge the library's capacity, a bookshop (run by Friends of the Library), two seminar rooms, a conference venue and new study spaces for students.

Services provided:

 Library Business Corner; Local History Collection; Specialized Art Library; Specialized Performing Arts & Music Library; Children’s Library; Children’s Professional Collection; extensive pamphlet file collection; Reservation and inter-library loan service; newspapers and magazines (more than 130 titles); government and provincial gazettes; statutes of South Africa.
 Orientation tours; reading program; school visits; story telling; craft activities; holiday programs; monthly business breakfast; monthly poetry group; talks; special events.
 Computer section with Wi Fi & free internet access (40 PCs); bookshop (at a later stage); coffee shop (at a later stage); Friends of the Library Organization; meeting room for hire (video conferencing facilities).

Professional program focusing on:

• Libraries & literacy

Lunch is by individual arrangement (own expense).

This afternoon, delegates and guests will have opportunity to independently explore the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. If you choose to be dropped off you will have to make your way independently back to the hotel when you are ready to call it a day.


This morning guests will explore Table Mountain, a proclaimed World Heritage Site and famous landmark of Cape Town. Ascend the mountain by the revolving aerial cable car for stunning views of the entire Cape Peninsula (known as “The Fairest Cape”), the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and Cape Town and its harbor.

Dinner is by individual arrangement (own expense).

Tuesday, October 27 Cape Town Day 9


Today delegates will meet with staff at the Stellenbosch University, including New IFLA President, Ms. Ellen Tise. The origin of the University of Stellenbosch dates back to the Stellenbosch Gymnasium, which was established in 1866. In 1874 the Gymnasium formed its own professorial division, the Arts Department, which in turn led to the establishment of the Stellenbosch College in 1881. The first library building was started in 1900 and completed in 1901, the building was extended in 1926 and by 1938 it had become clear that an entirely new line of thought was necessary.
In 1912 the Scots-American millionaire Andrew Carnegie donated the sum of £6,000 towards the extension and maintenance of the library of the Victoria College. An additional donation of £1,500 from the Carnegie Corporation to the University of Stellenbosch in 1938, as well as contributions from alumni enabled the University to build a new library. In 1981 yet another new library was built, the JS Gericke Library was built underneath the centrally situated Jan Marais Square.

The Library Service has steadily grown to its present complement of 120 full-time staff members. Milestones reached during the past number of years include the commencement of services in the new JS Gericke Library; the computerization of the Library Service; the introduction of a collection development policy and a formula for the allocations of funds; the introduction of a successful commercial information service (Infobank); a performance evaluation system for staff; and a formal agreement for regional co-operation among the five tertiary institutions in the Western Cape (CALICO).

Ms Ellen Tise, Senior Director: Library and Information Service was inaugurated as President of IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) on 27 August 2009 at the Closing Session of the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Milan, Italy. She will be the first South African to fulfill this role.

Professional program focusing on:

• New IFLA President’s Agenda for the International library Community
• Advocacy for Libraries (Roberta Stevens and John W. Berry for the U.S. (Ellen Tise and a colleague for South Africa)
• The Role of Libraries in Empowering Society (Two U.S. and two South African speakers.

Lunch will be provided at the University this afternoon.

After lunch, delegates will continue their meeting with representatives of Stellenbosch University to discuss how to enhance professional exchanges between South Africa and US library workers.

The visit will end with a tour of the University Sasol Museum.


This morning guests will discover the beauty and splendor of the great and graceful cape with its seas of vineyards on mountain backdrops, majestic homesteads with their Cape-Dutch gables, and magnificent cellars housing famous wines. You will visit a selection of wine estates for wine tasting and enjoy a variety of wine farms in the area. Lunch will be provided on your tour this afternoon as part of your excursion.

Enjoy farewell drinks at the hotel prior to departure for dinner. A farewell banquet this evening will give delegates and guests a chance to recap their People to People experiences.


Wednesday, October 28 Depart to KNP Day 10

To prepare for an early morning departure to Johannesburg, delegates must be checked out, incidentals settled and luggage in the foyer by 4:30 am.

Your local guide will instruct the delegation as to when and where to meet for the transfer to Cape Town International Airport, for the connecting flight to Johannesburg, via South African Airlines this morning. Departure time from the hotel is estimated at approximately 5:00 am at this time.

Upon arrival in Johannesburg you will be met and transferred via motorcoach to Kruger National Park with your local guide. Drive out of the urban and commercial heartland of South Africa and head for the bushveld. The drive is overland and takes approximately 6-7 hours with a stop for lunch en-route at the Critchley Hackle.

Kruger National Park
The park was founded in 1898 by a group of dedicated individuals who believed in preserving the northeastern part of South Africa as a national park for future generations to enjoy. Today Kruger National Park encompasses nearly 12,000 square miles of wildlife safari country and supports more than 800 species of animals in their natural habitats.

Please plan on a late afternoon arrival at your lodge for check-in and time to relax before dinner at the hotel.

Thursday, October 29 Kruger National Park Day 11

The animals are up at dawn and so is the delegation! Spend the day in Kruger National Park spotting game in their natural habitat. The planned excursion today is in open game vehicles.

The delegation will make one stop during this amazing journey at a local camp. You will take this time to enjoy lunch (at your own expense).

Continue the game spotting adventure as the delegation travels back to the hotel.

Dinner will be provided at the hotel.

Friday, October 30 Kruger National Park Day 12

Today drive through the park in the delegation’s air-conditioned luxury motor coach. From this high vantage point delegates will spot animals of Kruger National Park with ease.

Another early morning ensures prime viewing of the park’s exotic species and beautiful landscape. You’re sure to notice an abundance of colorful bird life throughout the park.

Your guide will assist you again in finding some or all of the big five and other rare and extraordinary animals, including a cross-section of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

This evening, the delegation will enjoy a cultural show and dinner at the Shangna Cultural Village.

Note: For those who prefer to arrange for a second day of open game vehicles can do so through your national guide earlier in the program (in Johannesburg). This is at additional expense.

Saturday, October 31 Kruger National Park Day 13
Following breakfast and checkout, the delegation will depart for your motor coach journey back to Johannesburg International Airport. A boxed lunch will be provided en route.

The entire delegation will be transported directly to the airport, where you will check in with South African Airlines for your flight home this evening.

Sunday, November 1 Arrival in US Day 14

Arrival is scheduled for early this morning.