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NEWS
Joint Statement by the Board and Management

Important Notice

South African Library for the Blind (SALB)

Joint Statement by the Board and Management

Date: 08 October 2018

During a scheduled board meeting on 04 October 2018 service delivery issues raised by library members were discussed in depth.

These concern the quality of service offered by the SALB as well as the competence of management and the institutional integrity of the organisation. The board has taken cognisance of these complaints which are being addressed as a matter of priority and has informed management that there is scope for improvement in the overall quality of service and that there should be a more intuitive approach towards the needs of the library members. Greater interaction and communication with library members will ensure that their requirements are heeded and addressed.

Management has taken note of this and will over the next few months attend to communication and staff training issues in respect of institutional culture and appropriate response to the needs of the blind user.

The board wishes to state categorically that the claims which have been circulated regarding the financial vulnerability, impropriety and/or mismanagement of the institution have been carefully investigated and found to be entirely without substance.

The board is aware that as any sophisticated organisation operating in a changing and modern society faces challenges which may impede the quality of its service and that such challenges must be identified and appropriately dealt with. The SALB has nearly 7 500 members and is immensely diverse, incorporating a multitude of communities with a wide range of resources and literary requirements and geographically spread across the entire country. Readers are from a number of cultural backgrounds and include the highly active who want intellectually challenging material, to those who require light fiction or celebrity news. Students, professionals, pensioners and people in remote communities must be accommodated and, where possible, served in the language of their choice. The SALB endeavours to provide the best quality of library service for its diverse membership in the context of the country’s social and political transformation

Providing an audio and braille “distance” service has unique challenges, especially in respect of a Post Office which is addressing performance issues. The SALB is actively working to ensure the support of the Post Office in resolving tardy and, indeed, sometimes non existent, delivery.

The following are some of the complaints and the responses of the board and management :

  1. Lack of communication: During the next three months membership details will be verified and updated so that all available channels of communication can be employed.
  2. Circulation of material: There is a problem with one of the modules of the new library management system presently being installed and this has resulted in delays in preparation of material for distribution. This is receiving attention and members will be kept abreast of developments. Notwithstanding this difficulty, library staff prepared and issued 54 000 items to 4 200 members during the past nine months. The Post Office’s well publicised problems have not helped. Management has looked at and is still investigating alternative physical distribution methods but these would have considerable financial implications. A way of being less reliant on the Post Office is being researched and members will be informed of progress.
  3. Inaccessibility of the SALB website : A task team which will include the board, management and library members, will explore areas of concern such as  accession lists and the catalogue on the website to render these more user friendly. The team will start work shortly and members will be advised of developments. Circulation of accession lists will be re-introduced.
  4. Failure of staff to respond to queries : Should any library member feel that a query or complaint has not been satisfactorily been dealt with by a staff member, they can contact senior management telephonically at (046) 622 7226. Alternatively the matter can be referred to the Senior Manager : Library and Information Services, Ms Linda Ngaleka at linda.ngaleka@salb.org.za . Every effort will be made to respond within 48 hours.
  5. Governance and administration matters : The SALB is a schedule 3A public entity and is audited by the Auditor General of South Africa. Compliance is a high priority and an unqualified audit was received for the 2017/18 financial year. The board and management encourage members to study the annual financial report. The annual performance and strategic plan reports are submitted to the Department of Arts and Culture and Portfolio Committee respectively and may be found on the website, the accessibility of which will be checked. These documents can be e-mailed to members on request and some of the highlights will be featured in the next edition of Makwenzeke.

Finally, the board, management and staff of the library wish to reaffirm their commitment to ensuring that a service is delivered according to the mandate of the library. Any constructive and positive suggestions for improvement in the delivery of services are welcome and may be sent to audiolib@salb.org.za or to braille@salb.org.za

 

 

 

 

 

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Update on the new Library Management System:

The teams from Universal Knowledge Software (UKS) and SALB are busy finalising the outstanding modules and the system should be up and running tentatively by end October 2018.

In the meantime the Circulation Staff continue to manually select books based on your reading interests.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Please submit any inquiries to: audiolib@salb.org.za; braillelib@salb.org.za

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