Not quite a wrap for Rapp

31 October 2011

Joan Rapp with Emer Prof Martin WestAdieu: Joan Rapp with Emer Prof Martin West.

Joan Rapp has been credited with leading UCT Libraries into the 21st century. But it was no walk in the park, said both vice-chancellor Dr Max Price and Emeritus Prof Martin West (in picture with Rapp) - the former deputy vice-chancellor who appointed Rapp as the Libraries' executive director in 1998 - at Rapp's farewell do on 17 October.

It was a job that involved remaking the system physically and structurally - bulking up on space, taking the service online, digitising its rare treasures, and assimilating the many 'fugitive' departmental libraries, among other tasks. With all that in place, the university understandably wants to make sure the transition from the 'Rapp era' to the 'post-Rapp era' (as West put it) runs smoothly. So while officially she retires at the end of October, Rapp will stay on until the end of August 2012 to assist with the handover to her successor, Gwenda Thomas, who takes office on 1 November this year. "It was the people and not the things that counted," Rapp says of her time at UCT.

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