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New chapter to open for City Libraries

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New chapter to open for City Libraries

by Laverne de Vries
30 Jun 2006
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

The City of Cape Town has pledged to give communities constant access to information with a new library initiative.

Speaking at the much anticipated re-opening of Lansdowne Library last week, Deputy Mayor Andrew Arnolds said there was a steady decline of libraries in the peninsula as closures and under-staffing became the order of the day.

"The multi-party government has decided to reverse this trend by allocating money to ensure libraries are staffed and that those that have closed their doors can re-open."

According to Friends of the Lansdowne Library spokesperson Alison Philander, the library was temporarily closed in February due to a staffing problem.

One of the two librarians resigned and the remaining librarian was unable to man the two-storey library.

A council moratorium on hiring staff saw the library closed for three months, but following an outcry from the community, a decision was reached earlier this month to find a temporary solution.

"We decided to use a librarian from Claremont Library, who will assist the Lansdowne librarian until July. By then we will hire a permanent librarian to make up the full staff complement," said Arnolds.

Arnolds added that the re-opening of Lansdowne Library signalled the first step in the new library initiative. Although libraries are a provincial concern, we share the responsibility on the understanding that they fund us. We will ensure that our children's future does not go down the drain due to previous mismanagement. Libraries are often the only access children have to knowledge and it opens a world of possibilities."

Commenting on the re-opening, Philander said the issue of whether the province or city are responsible for libraries needs to be sorted out. "That said, we will take the opening as a token gesture and are delighted that the service has been restored to the community."

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