The UMP Library and Information Services (LIS) was established in 2014 from a one-room library with only one staff member, to a state-of-the-art library that currently has a total staff complement of 21 members based at both the Mbombela and Siyabuswa Campuses. The library showcases a distinctive architectural character with state-of-the-art furnishings. It is a fully modernized resource that is equipped to meet students’ needs and the demands of a 21st-century academic library. Entering through the spectacular new entrance, users can enjoy the library's courtyard for social gatherings and comfortable outdoor seating. The library is thus a socially interactive space that strikes a balance between quiet, collaborative, virtual, research, and communal spaces, with Wi-Fi connectivity and lots of daylight inside the building. The interior has been designed in a very attractive way, with artwork that reflects the university’s history and local context, which creates a welcoming ambiance. Its new, magnificent ambiance is an added attraction for students and the rest of the university community.
The library has grown its collection and services progressively over the past few years, an evolution that has been relative to the increased number of students and staff within the university. The outstanding facilities and services offered to all users, including those with disabilities, has ensured easy access to different types of resources. All UMP library services are powered by the digital technologies (e.g., social, mobile, analytics, cloud based solutions and internet of things) that seek to remove barriers to content, unlocking access to the global wealth of information, knowledge, and research. The convergence of these new digital technologies through the whole library value chain offers us immediate access to a wide range of data that helps us gain insights into the information seeking behaviours of our users and consequently enable us to create more personalized services and improve users’ experiences. All this is done to improve the library’s response to the changing needs of its users and those of the teaching, learning, research, and community engagement practices, all amid rapid changes in technology in higher education. The library continues to transform its services by reviewing its business model, altering the value creation paths, and integrating new digital technologies to create new ways of delivering value to its user community.