Students and pupils have raised concerns about the timing of the temporary closure of Gugulethu library and lambasted the City of Cape Town for not providing alternative venues in the meantime.
This comes after the City issued a statement last week, saying that the library will be temporary closed at the end of this month until the end of June for maintenance and repairs. According to the statement the library will close its doors between March 31 and July 1 as part of its five-year maintenance schedule.
As part of the maintenance work, the City will replace downpipes, paint walls and ceilings, do tiling and carpeting of floors and walls and carry out repairs to existing built-in cupboards, drawers and doors.
The City aims to install additional built-in cupboard, re-varnish worktops, and paint a mural in the children’s section of the library.
Siyabulela Mamkeli, mayoral committee member for area central, said that in preparation for the work, the library will close at 1pm instead of 4pm on Saturday March 18 to allow for the relocation of the server and broadband installation to another part of the library.
“In addition, library users can also look forward to air-conditioning, new Smart Cape furniture and the relocation of the facility to the teen and adult sections, as well as the relocation of the music section.
“While the library will be closed to users to ensure their safety during the work being done, arrangements will be in place for users to return library material during the closure,” he said.
However, pupils and students said the City could have closed the library at the beginning of the year because in two months’ time they will be writing their June exams. They argued that they need all the resources at their disposal to properly prepare for their exams.
A concerned Fezeka High School Grade 12 pupil, Tivaone Hwingwiir, said he needs to frequently visit the library for research to complete assignments and make use of the free internet service. He believes that the City could have explored other avenues to ensure the closure of the library does not clash with their exam time.
He said it was a battle for him to study in peace and concentrate at home because there was a lot of distraction.
He said the City should have provided them with an alternative place to access some of the services provided by the library. He said he was more concerned about accessing the internet.
“Now I will be forced to visit internet cafés to access the internet and they charge quite a lot. At times, I will have to buy data too so that I can do research on my laptop and how many parents are able to afford that?” he said.
Lutho Hola, a fourth-year student at Cape Peninsula University of Technology ( CPUT), who is studying education, echoed the same sentiments and said the City should have done the maintenance work at the start of the year.
The 23-year-old said that now she will have to make use of the library at campus and that means she will leave the premises late, putting herself at risk of being robbed.