Bring back overdue books, says City

As part of South African Library Week, the City of Cape Town 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.

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 includes 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.

“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,” said JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services.

Users with overdue books can return them during South African Library Week from Monday March 19 to Saturday March 24, and all penalties for the overdue material will be waived.

All of the libraries in the city will have events and displays for patrons, young and old, throughout SA Library Week.

Mr Smith said the theme for 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,” he said.

Bellville library will hold a free digital literacy workshop, aimed at women from the ages of 25 to 35, today, Thursday and Friday March 22 and 23, from 11am to 1pm.

The workshop will cover wi-fi, apps (including PressReader) and accessing the library. Take your own smart phone or tablet. Registration forms are available at the library.

Take your library card or an ID, driver’s license or work permit to get a SmartCape access library card. Contact Abigail or Ketty at 021 444 7176 or Bellville.Library@ capetown.gov.za for more information.

The Book Buddies reading competition final takes place on Friday March 23, from 3pm.