Norah Ngoveni of Nkuri village in Giyani, Limpopo, dreamt of having a community library.
She wrote to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to request a library to meet her community’s need for easier access to information and resources. In response the Department of Arts and Culture handed over a modular library (in a prefabricated building) to the village of Nkuri at the start of June.
Students and community members no longer have to travel 21 kilometres to get information for their studies, assignments and research. The modular library is a short-term solution. The construction of a brick and mortar library will start soon. Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, said the library would serve schools and the community of Nkuri and surrounding villages.
“This modular library belongs to you. Use it, become literate and read together as families. Let us make reading part of our daily lives and let every one of us share a book with a colleague, family, friends and neighbours as a way of enhancing social cohesion,” she said during the handover ceremony. The Deputy Minister advised parents to read to their children daily from an early age. “The heritage you will pass on to the children by reading to them will last forever.”
Grant for libraries
Government has shown its commitment to promoting a culture of reading, through the Community Library Conditional Grant. The grant aims to better the library sector by improving infrastructure, purchasing library materials, giving free access to the Internet, providing services to the visually impaired and establishing toy libraries, among others.
Since the grant’s inception, 81 new libraries have been built, 343 libraries upgraded and more than 1 400 jobs have been created. Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said her department wanted the grant to make libraries the information hubs of each community. “Our libraries have free access to Internet and updated library materials. This brings equality by making it possible for a library user in a rural area to access the same information as a user in an urban area.” In 2016/17, the department will build 23 new libraries and upgrade 55 existing library structures.
Through the Community Library Conditional Grant 81 new libraries have been built, 343 libraries upgraded and more than 1 400 jobs have been created.