Twelve of the City of Cape Town’s libraries have undergone upgrades in the last six months of the financial year, and several more are due for maintenance and renovation in the next few months. While this necessitates the closure of these libraries as work gets under way, the results are creative spaces that inspire and encourage learning. Read more below:
A number of City libraries are due for mini-makeovers in the next year as part of the Library and Information Services Department’s renovations and maintenance programme.
During the past six months, 12 of the City’s libraries have been closed to allow for essential upgrades and renovation. The 12 libraries that have been completed are Delft South, Tokai, Masakhane, Moses Mabhida, Mfuleni, Kloof Street, Blouberg Strand, Tafelsig, Gugulethu, Bishop Lavis, Southfield and Eikendal.
The latest library to reopen after a near R4 million upgrade was the Eikendal Library. The library space was doubled; electrical wiring, telephones, an alarm system, and IT networks were upgraded; floor and roof coverings were replaced; and the building was given a fresh coat of paint. Ablution facilities were also upgraded, with the addition of toilets for people with disabilities.
‘The upgrade of Eikendal Library was in direct response to the popularity of this library and the immense demand for library services in this community. The City’s goal is to provide world-class facilities to all our communities and it starts with maintaining the ones we have. Libraries offer a space where people can keep their minds active. The fact that any person – young or old, rich or poor, employed or unemployed – can walk into a library and find information to educate and enrich themselves makes these facilities an essential part of community life,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.Libraries that will close in the next year for upgrades include Fish Hoek, Observatory and Eerste River. Construction has also started on the multi-million rand Dunoon Library, which is due to open late next year.
‘The renovations may result in temporary inconvenience, but they are essential to ensure that our libraries remain spaces of information, social interaction and relaxation. We therefore appeal to affected patrons to please bear with us while the renovations are under way. We want communities to be proud of their facilities and ensure that these assets are used optimally by residents,’ said Alderman Smith.
During the 2016/2017 financial year, planned maintenance projects for libraries were completed to the value of R6,9 million, while the planned budget for this year is R7,8 million. Maintaining and upgrading facilities is in line with the City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan which aims to ensure that all residents have access to quality facilities which can help to build integrated communities.