Check in @ your library, urge librarians during Library Week

2014-03-20 00:00

MSUNDUZI librarians took to the streets yesterday and all for a good cause — to celebrate national Public Library Week, which started on Saturday and ends on Sunday, March 23.

They created quite a carnival atmosphere as they marched around the library and the city hall, with posters held high, inviting passers-by to “check in @ your library” — the theme for the week.

Provincial public libraries have a lot more to celebrate this year as they are getting R3 billion from the National Department of Arts and Culture to upgrade existing facilities.

In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given R32 million for the development of libraries — known as the Global Libraries Project. Darren Hoerner from the foundation emphasised the importance of libraries. He said that libraries allowed for cultural memories to be passed on from generation to generation. “South African libraries are making freedom of access to information into a reality, and they are the institutions on which the democratic stage was set.”

Hoerner said the two-year project would include training library staff in information and communication technology, expanding technology in public libraries, introducing new library services for community development and redesigning library spaces.

The manager for Msunduzi Municipal Library Services, Mandla Ntombela, said “check in @ your library” was to emphasise that libraries were cool and current. He said social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube were widely used by libraries globally and South African libraries were no different. “The theme provides us with an opportunity to reach out to those who are unaware of how libraries have embraced technology to enhance access and learning. It is an opportunity for the ‘Born Frees’, born in 1994 and voting for the first time in the 2014 national elections, and all those who belong to Generation C [connected digital natives and techno-savvy people], to realise that it is definitely cool to ‘check in @ your library’,” Ntombela said.

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