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City’s libraries continue to move with the times

Date: 2023-02-09 09:11:23

City’s libraries continue to move with the times

The enhanced technological innovations at City libraries will ensure visitors make the most of services offered. The youth is encouraged to visit any of the City’s 89 library facilities to loan books or use the computers or to access free Wi-Fi.

THE City’s leadership has been vocal about encouraging residents, both young and old, to visit any of its 89 library facilities. This aims to encourage the public to read more. Also forming part of the library services offering is two departmental libraries. They are the Durban Natural Science Museum and the Durban Art Gallery. The City also offers
housebound services, where library services are offered at old age homes and frail care centres.

The New Centrum Library is an activation site for a new library that the Municipality is planning to build in the central business district (CBD). District 10 Regional Manager Sikhumbuzo Nene said the City’s libraries offer a variety of books esearch, recreational, and educational needs. “This includes books catering for toddlers right up to the elderly. Pregnant
women are encouraged to read to their unborn babies to stimulate their intellectual growth. Reading patterns have changed drastically in recent times due to the advent of technology with young people spending more time on gadgets
than ever before. And we want to try change that by encouraging a culture of reading among the youth,” he said.

Nene said the City’s libraries are moving with the times and offer a wide range of services. “We have embraced technology and have moved from manual operations to a dos-based system, then to Windows and we are now hybrid (Windows and a web-based system). Some libraries have RFID technology which allows staff to issue, for example, three books in one go without having to scan them one by one. This saves time and requires less personnel.

We communicate with our patrons via different platforms without meeting them face to face. Next for eThekwini Municipal Libraries is a virtual library,” he added. Nene said there are plans to build libraries in Tshelimnyama, Ntshongweni, Sankontshe, Umbumbulu as well as the Centrum Library in the CBD. Senior Manager of Libraries Thobela Ngidi said libraries are also engaged in various literary programmes to promote literature and support authors. These
include programmes such as the One City One Book programme, Articulate Africa, and several other literary engagements including a creative workshop.

Training is provided for aspiring authors and at the end of the workshop, an anthology of short stories is published. Services offered by libraries include:
  • Loaning out books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and games. 
  • Offering e-books.
  • Reference services offered at the Don Africana Reference Library on the 10th floor of Liberty Towers.
  • Free newspaper reading services. 
  • Free internet and Wi-Fi access.
  • Printing and photocopying services. 
  • Providing reading spaces, study halls, group discussion rooms, and group activities rooms for meetings.
  • Outreach activities where a department organises activities to promote reading and literacy.