Pupils urged to visit libraries frequently

Sisanda Mtsilana, from Khulani library, and Voyokazi Rani-Njambatwa, from Khayelitsha library, perform a play aimed at educating pupils about the importance of libraries.

A library card is not just a piece of a plastic that you should put in your school bag or leave lying around your home.

It is your responsibility to look after this passport to knowledge because it allows you to borrow books and use the internet for free.

This was the core message delivered to pupils at Khayelitsha library in Site B who attended an event on Friday March 23 celebrating National Library Week, which ran from Monday March 19 to Sunday March 25.

Officials from various government departments also attended the event. Librarians kept the audience on the edge of their seats when they staged a rib-tickling yet informative play about the importance of libraries.

To further promote the use of libraries and recovering materials, patrons were allowed to return long overdue books without having to pay any fines.The pupils were told that those who have library cards show maturity and accountability.

Head of seven libraries in Khayelitsha, Jacqui Kwezi, said they wanted to show pupils the advantages of visiting a library and inform them of the role libraries play in the development of their communities. But most importantly, she said, they hoped to change the wrong perception that libraries were only meant to serve children.

Ms Kwezi said adults were also accommodated in libraries and each library had room for adults so that they can have their own space.

She said they wanted the pupils to understand that libraries were there to assist them to improve their academic performance and vocabulary.

She said a study conducted sometime ago discovered that only 26% of children borrow books from the library and actually read them.

“We are here to change our communities. Libraries seek to create better leaders. I appeal to young people to visit libraries. Let us protect our libraries. I urge library users to handle library books with care and protect them,” she said.

Ms Kwezi said as much as the community supports the various programmes the libraries have in place, many challenges remained, especially break-ins and vandalism of their property.

She pointed out that Masakhane library had been closed for some time now due to vandalism.

She said the late return of books was another concern.

The DA’s Proportional Representative ward councillor Mzwakhe Qavashe urged the pupils to protect their libraries.

He said the libraries should be made attractive to young people.

Mr Qavashe echoed the sentiment that libraries play a critical role in education upliftment. And urged the pupils to study hard and make libraries their best friends.

He advised the pupils to enrol at colleges to study technical skills.

He commended the endless efforts of librarians in providing such an important service.

Grade 10 pupil from Bulumko High School, Athemahle Mbekeni, said he had learnt a lot about the libraries and would now spend more time at the library. He added that he would not allow anyone to vandalise the library facilities in his presence.