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Cape Libraries

Wanted: fairytale ending for unreturned books


As part of South African Library Week, the City is offering amnesty to everyone who has overdue books in their possession in a bid to reclaim more than 20 000 overdue library items valued at nearly R2 million.

The City of Cape Town’s Library and Information Service is desperate to be reunited with thousands of items that have not been returned by library users.

Currently, there are more than 20 000 items including books, study guides and DVDs that are long overdue at the City’s libraries.

The top 20 list of items comprises children’s books like The Three Little Pigs, Frozen and Die Lelike Eendjie (The Ugly Duckling) and Grade 12 study guides for subjects like physical science, accounting and geography.

The mobile library services are most affected, with nearly 2 500 items that have not been returned.

For a full list of the top 20 overdue items and top libraries affected, click on the link here: http://resource.capetown.gov.za/cityassets/Media%20Centre%20Assets/South%20African%20Library%20Week%202018%20stats.pdf

‘Our library service receives and manages material on behalf of the provincial library service. When patrons do not return the material, the City is held liable by province for the losses incurred. We are in the process of finalising our losses for 2017, and at this stage it appears that more than 20 000 items with an approximate value of R1,8 million have not been returned and it’s not for lack of trying.

‘Staff are spending many hours trying to track down the persons who checked out the items. Aside from the fact that this is time that could have been spent more productively on direct service delivery, the items not returned also deprive others from the benefit and enjoyment thereof. Given the constraints in terms of funding to ensure relevant, adequate and up-to-date collections, this poses a huge challenge to our department,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

Users with overdue books can return them during South African Library Week (19 – 24 March) and all penalties for the overdue material will be waived. Visit a library in your area this week! All of the libraries in the city will be hosting a number of exciting events and colourful displays for patrons, young and old, throughout SA Library Week.

A list of activities is available here: http://resource.capetown.gov.za/cityassets/Media%20Centre%20Assets/Library%20Week%20programme%202018.pdf

‘The theme this year is ‘Libraries: heart of the community’ and it could not be more apt. These facilities and the dedicated librarians play a crucial role in shaping young minds and opening new worlds to those who walk through the doors. Given the fast-paced digital world we live in today, there might be some who think that libraries have become redundant. Our more than 1,1 million registered members might disagree. We are doing everything we can to make libraries a valued resource. The recent launch of PressReader, which allows people to take full advantage of the digital realm and access thousands of local and international publications, is just one such initiative aimed at boosting our offering,’ added Alderman Smith. 

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

Media enquiries: Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, City of Cape Town,

Tel: 021 400 1311 or Cell: 083 675 3780,

Email: jean-pierre.smith@capetown.gov.za (please always copy media.account@capetown.gov.za).

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