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SALB INSIGHT – Number 1 of 2019

Monthly news clips from the South African Library for the Blind


Welcome to the first edition of the SALB INSIGHT! The purpose of this monthly newsletter is to share with our members all the things that are going on at the Library. As you may know, we have the Makwenzeke which is our formal quarterly Newsletter. Because of the format of the Makwenzeke lots of things that are happening at the library do not find their way into the Makwenzeke. We then thought to issue the SALB INSIGHT on a monthly basis to share with our members all that has happened or is going to happen at the Library and here we are – the first edition and we hope our members will enjoy all the snippets of information about the Library, its people and activities.

What is in a name?

The name SALB INSIGHT comes from the SALB staff. Staff were requested to suggest names for the newsletter. 12 different names were suggested and the SALB INSIGHT was selected by the staff following a voting process. The name, SALB INSIGHT says exactly what is intended. It contains news items and news snippets about the Library that are short, sharp and to the point. It will be limited to what we can fit in on one A4 page back-to-back to ensure quick but informative reading about the SALB. The SALB INSIGHT will only be e-mailed to our members and also made available on the Library Webpage, i.e.


2019 is a very special and unique year for the Library and our members. It sounds almost incredible, but this is the year we will be celebrating our centenary. A 100 years of rendering library services to our members! It is special and we are immensely proud and privileged to be able to celebrate this great occasion. It all started in 1919 with the vision and passion of one woman, Josie Wood. Her tireless efforts over many years laid the foundation of the Library for the Blind. There were many other staff members over the years that contributed, and one is grateful for the contribution that was made by each person who worked at the library and who is currently working here. All those contributions will be acknowledged and celebrated throughout 2019 through various formal and informal events.


So, what are we planning as part of the Centenary celebrations? Lots of things. Just to give you an idea. Towards the end of March, the Library will host a Gala Dinner. High ranking officials from Government, the Library sector, the Blind and Visually Impaired Sector, suppliers and various other people who we work with to assist us with what we do will be attending. A few members will also be attending to share their library experiences with all these important guests and dignitaries present during the program.

We will also be launching a book about the Library on the same day of the Gala Dinner. The book will cover the 100-year history of the library based on extensive research that was done over the past 2 and half years. It will be a unique publication providing insight into all the major activities in and around the library that took place in each year since 1919 to 2019 and will be in audio and braille as well.

During the National Arts Festival taking place in Makhanda (Grahamstown) during 27th of June to the 7th of July the library will be hosting a ‘special’ variety concert. All the performers on the program will be blind or visually impaired and we are currently talking to several blind and visually impaired artists to join the program. Any blind or visually impaired person who has performed in front of an audience or on a stage before is welcome to contact the library. An Events Company is assisting the library to put a great program together showcasing the performing arts talents of blind and visually impaired people.

During the National Arts Festival the Library will also host an exhibition of a variety of creative works done by blind and visually impaired people. We hosted such an exhibition five years ago and we had paintings, basketry work, carpet weavery, photography, books published by blind people as well as music produced on CDs. We are therefore looking for the creative works by blind or visually impaired people for consideration. If you are interested to participate in the concert or the exhibition, or if you know about any blind or visually impaired person who might be interested, please contact Natasha at (046) 622 7226 of email her at

These four events will be our major Centenary celebratory events. Various other smaller events are also planned during National Book Week for example. The print and electronic media will also be used to spread the good news. We will keep you posted.


A quarterly accession list will be relaunched and sent via e-mail to members interested to receive it from the end of February 2019. An e-mail message will be sent by the end of January to library members about how it will work and how to respond to it. Due to limited staff members the accession list will only be available as a word file and sent to interested members via e-mail. It will also be available on the SALB website, i.e. In the meantime, if you are interested in receiving the accession list please send an e-mail to Linda Ngaleka at


After struggling for more than 8 years with various Departments it looks like we will see contractors and builders on-site during 2019. The whole building will be revamped and upgraded, and a double-story section will be built to accommodate our braille printers, additional offices and storage areas. Plans are underway and we may see builders as from June this year.

Remember to be ‘in’ you must read SALB Insight. Until next time.

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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:;

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