COVER TO COVER: The country is celebrating National Library Week. Picture: Armand Hough
Cape Town - For many communities besieged by gang violence and poverty, libraries remain refuges of upliftment where the knowledge that makes a difference can be accessed.

This year’s theme, “My library, Your Library”, seeks to entrench libraries as “being the heart of the community, and to encourage residents to take ownership of these vital facilities,” said JP Smith, Mayco member for Safety and Security.

Special programmes for all ages which include storytelling, safety talks, arts and crafts, membership drives and poetry sessions. These will be part of the way Cape Town City libraries celebrate National Library Week this week.

English language teacher and Cape Argus columnist Alex Tabisher said that encouraging people to read books was ensuring that they remain mentally dexterous, that they do not miss important cognisance stages in their development.

Unlike being plugged into and being taken over by devices, the “joy of handling a book” was purely tactile from “seeing the cover as a door” through which you step to meet new friends, said Tabisher.

“There is nothing wrong with electronic devices, but there is something missing. It’s the joy of handling a book, it’s the slowing-down and thinking, and imagining and then there is the smell of the book.”

Smith said: “Libraries are communal spaces where residents can meet, learn and interact. Our dedicated librarians are proud to be a part of a week that celebrates these spaces."

Cape Town has 102 libraries, a satellite library in Pelican Park and three mobile bus library services. There are 1 075 984 registered members, of which 349 953 actively used City libraries in 2015/16. 

Cape Argus