We recently received an email from Fatima Darries, Faculty Library Leader of Economic and Management Science at Merensky Library at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Fatima writes:
Rather late than never, I would like to tell you about the Library of the University of Pretoria’s September Project.
September is heritage month in South Africa, and a good opportunity to celebrate our freedom, in particular our freedom of expression. We decided to do an exhibition of books that were banned during the Apartheid era, and encourage students to read the once banned books.
Supported by our literature information specialist, Adrienne Warricker, one of our assistants, Niel de Kock, hunted down these previously banned books in our collection. This task was unexpectedly more difficult than we anticipated because these books were now completely integrated into the collection, when they were previously in a separate special collection. We also found many of the previously banned books were not in our collection, exactly because they were banned, and libraries had to have special motivations to acquire them during the Apartheid era. Many more is now out of print.
We also called in the help of our colleague in Special Collections, where the previously banned books were housed before their integration into the open collection. He explained what the process and procedures were around access to these books. We thank Pieter van der Merwe for his contribution.
On the 17th of September we had our exhibition in the main library. I include some photos of the exhibition. Niel de Kock also compiled a presentation which we ran on the plasma screens in the Library on that day and subsequently during September.