Library: No budget for books since 2004

2009-03-10 00:00

Msunduzi Municipal councillors expressed shock that no books have been bought for city libraries since 2004 because no money has been set aside in city budgets for the past five years.

The situation was described as a crisis and councillors said a strong message must go out to the finance committee that funds have to be set aside as a matter of urgency in the next budget.

Councillors on the community services and social equity committee yesterday told of seeing branch libraries with empty shelves and of complaints from the public that there are no new books and that most of the ones available are over 20 years old.

Msunduzi library manager John Morrison asked the committee to support his request to the finance budget committee to ensure that the city libraries get books. He told councillors that if they want proof of the demand for library services, they should visit the main library on a Saturday morning when queues go around the block. He said the main library is inundated because there are no books in the branches.

ANC councillor Les Naidoo said he is often accosted by dissatisfied subscribers of the Northdale branch library. “They show me the empty shelves, the roof that is leaking and the carpets that are ruined.”

The IFP’s Candy Seymour said, “Books are unaffordable and children desperately need them for their school projects.

“If we give up on this we are saying that we don’t care about education, that we don’t care about our children and the 60 000 people that are library users in our city.”

The DA’s Sizwe Mchunu said the declining state of libraries in the city is an issue of serious concern to the community services committee and the money for books must be found.

The ANC’s Sandile Gabela said he is dismayed to see the state of libraries in the townships and was shocked to learn at yesterday’s meeting that this was because resources were not being set aside for them.

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