Positive contribution by libraries to communities hailed at annual seminar
The contribution by libraries to the upliftment of their communities was celebrated at the annual Western Cape Library Service seminar on 11 September 2019 at the Holiday Inn in Cape Town.
Library managers from across the province attended the opening day of the seminar to discuss the role that libraries play in our communities, as well as the upcoming changes and way forward for the library service in the Western Cape province.
Library Service Director, Cecilia Sani, welcomed delegates to the seminar and gave a brief overview of the service and its achievements for the past year, including the success of libraries for the blind. “We want to provide a service that is free, equitable and accessible to all. We cater to the reading and learning needs of the people of this province by promoting a culture of reading, library usage and lifelong learning,” said Ms Sani.
Mr Brent Walters, the Head of Department of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, thanked librarians for their hard work and reminded them that they have the power to transform the lives of young people at their libraries. He asked librarians to help people develop a love and passion for reading. ”The biggest indicator is the literacy of our younger people. And this morning, I challenge you, in your position of authority, what can you do to ensure that people engage and improve literacy? Can you turn libraries into places that people love?“ said Mr Walters.
He also commended Overstrand Municipality and Theewaterskloof Municipality for assisting surrounding libraries by ensuring that books and other library stock are safe during times of unrest in their communities.
DCAS Minister Anroux Marais acknowledged that the Western Cape Library Service, which is also the largest library service in South Africa, has the highest book circulation figures of all the provinces. “I am grateful to each library service official who goes the extra mile with great passion and dedication to enable a well-functioning directorate to afford us these accolades,” said the Minister. Despite the economic challenges that our country faces, Minster Marais urged library managers to continue to grow the public library service for it to be a tool in the upliftment of rural communities. Minister Marais also handed over a total of R12,7 million to eight municipalities, namely Oudtshoorn, Mossel Bay, Swellendam, Bergriver, Kannaland, Witzenberg, Theewaterskloof and Saldanha Bay. These funds will be used towards new library projects as well as upgrades to libraries.
DCAS is committed to provide free, equitable and accessible library services to the Western Cape communities. Let us create well-informed, literate communities who can express themselves freely. BETTER TOGETHER.