City lifts fines to recoup library material

This week is no fine week at all of the City’s libraries which means the paperback novel you found under the pile of unwashed laundry three months ago can finally be returned without any scoldings or fines.

According to the City of Cape Town’s Library and Information Service, there are more than
20 000 items including books, study guides and DVDs that are long overdue.

“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,” it said in a press release last week.

Mobile library services are worst affected, it said, 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 the mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith.

“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.”

Patrons with overdue books can return them during South African Library Week, which runs until Friday March 24 – penalty free.

“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,” Mr Smith said.