Share this article

​​​​​​Programmes and Activities​
​Library and information services run five city-wide programmes, with additional eLearning programs supporting the 5 , embracing the strategic priorities noted in the City’s Human Development Strategy (2006)

  • eLearning (ICT-based) programmes also supporting the 5 main programmes.
  • To build prospects for social inclusion amongst all Johannesburg communities.
  • To address inequalities through the championing of rights and opportunities, with special focus on women and children.
  • To improve access by poor and vulnerable households to library and information services.

ELearning Programmes

Mobile Literacy

This programme is driven by gamification and edutainment where library users are introduced to various educational activities on how to use mobile devices such as tablets, smart phones, and laptops, productively for their personal and career development. These include: teaching users how to access relevant apps, ebooks and other digital content;  how to write stories and publish them on digital platforms, and engaging users in gamification activities such as “action bound and treasure hunt”, or “Tanks Coding games”. These gamification activities introduce users, particularly children, to various uses of technology (Learning through play).

Digital Literacy

This programme focuses on supporting communities by providing access to digital skills training content, for all levels (basic, intermediate and advanced). This include providing in-house assistance and informal training to users who are beginners, in using computers. For example, by inviting schools for organized eLearning quiz competitions, inviting partners and collaborators (NGO’s and companies) to provide formal training for selected digital skills based on the community needs.  Providing access to carefully selected websites with online courses on digital skills. Digital Literacy is defined by the American Library Association as the ability to use Information and Communication Tools (ICTs) to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. 

As part of digital transformation, all libraries in regions are encouraged to organize digital literacy programs or activities where they possibly can which will result in library users gaining new or improving on existing digital skills. Either through resource sharing, or through collaborations with external partners such as ICT NGO’s and companies that can train communities, or they can come up with their own innovative ways of helping communities learn new digital skills.

Within Digital literacy, we also have a Mobile Literacy program

This programme is driven by gamification and edutainment where library users are introduced to various educational activities on how to use mobile devices such as tablets, smart phones, and laptops, productively for their personal and career development. These include: teaching users how to access relevant apps, ebooks and other digital content; how to write stories and publish them on digital platforms, and engaging users in gamification activities such as “action bound and treasure hunt”, or “Tanks Coding games”. These gamification activities introduce users, particularly children, to various uses of technology (Learning through play).


Mobi-Readathon is a reading development program aimed at introducing high school youth to reading and writing tools available on mobile devices. This reading development program is also an attempt address some of the challenges brought by the Covid19 pandemic where libraries and schools have had to adapt and embrace technology for learning, reading development and information services in general. Digital Transformation in libraries also challenges libraries to repackage traditional programs or introduce new programs that involve use of technology. The idea is to not only engage learners in a reading activity using technology, but also introduce them to Mobile Literacy (how to use their smart devices productively to find books and to even write stories later) and how to navigate digital platforms to find reading material.

Schools compete regionally, reading selected stories either uploaded onto ereaders, OR they use their own mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets, or laptops to read selected stories from recommended platforms such as or on this website.

Coding Programs

Coding is about giving instructions to a computer telling it what to do with rules that computers can understand. Libraries have always played a supportive role and worked with schools and educational institutions in their curriculums and the Department of Basic Education has introduced coding as one of the additional subjects. LIS needs to be at the forefront in preparing communities and educators for this change. Most township schools are under resourced and do not have electronic resources such as laptops or tablets or computer rooms.

​ELearning’ services in libraries provide this support by also collaborating with NGO’s and corporations that can provide digital literacy training so that communities can be skilled in creating technology such as websites, apps, and robots. Coding activities in libraries also encourage youth to embrace computer science through coding classes after school, on weekends or during school holidays and through organized competitions.

Other Programmes

Story Skirmish

The Story Skirmish is a book-based inter-school, knock out quiz for younger, less skilled readers in English aged between 9 and 11 years in Grades 4 and 5. The aims are to broaden children’s reading experience and to improve reading skills. During 2019/20, 255 schools participated in the Story Skirmish programme.

Battle of the Books

The Battle of the Books is a book-based inter-school knock out quiz for learners in Grades 6 and 7. The aims are to broaden children’s reading experience and to improve reading and comprehension skills. During 2019/20, 257 schools participated in the Battle of the Books programme.

Ready to Read!

The programme focuses on the vital role that pre-literacy skills play in children’s reading and general academic development. The programme targets children in day-care centres, crèches and nursery schools, who do not have access to books (print poor environment). During 2019/20 books were issued and returned to 208 ECD centres monthly.

Indigenous Reading Development Programme

The Indigenous Reading Development programme is aimed at Grade 1-3 learners in support of reading in the mother tongue. It is intended that the programme should instil respect for indigenous languages, a love for reading in the mother tongue and the desire for life-long reading and learning in any language.

The programme is offered in regions throughout the city where an indigenous language is taught as a first language. Thus far, for 2019 the total number of schools was thirteen (13).

Science Scuffle

An inter-school knockout quiz for learners in Grades 6 & 7 using special library collections on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The programme aims to enhance skills in searching for information and to create an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For the 2019 programme, 266 schools registered to participate in the quiz.

Holiday programmes

An organized schedule of activities that are planned and held during school holiday periods. The activities are aimed at providing a wide variety of fun related learning and reading experiences to children of all ages, especially children from disadvantaged communities. The activities are offered free of charge during library hours to members and non-members.

Story Times

Most libraries host regular Story Times during the week for children of specific age groups, including digital sotrytelling on Facebook. These story times involve reading stories from Library books followed by fun activities and games related to the story, to enhance children’s cognitive skills and encourage them to read. Story Times are also done when Nursery Schools and Pre-Schools visit the Libraries. Children are accompanied by a teacher and the story time is done by Library staff. It usually also involves Library Orientation, user education and children being encouraged to join the library.

Information Literacy Programme

Formal professional Information Literacy sessions making use of the manual on Library Orientation, Reference Enquiries with groups of children focusing on importance of libraries, becoming members, user education, different sections of a library, the importance of reading, resource and services offered as well as programmes offered by libraries, etc.

Study, Reference and Research support

This service is offered to all learners of all ages to assist them with reference and study enquiries and projects by making use of library material as well as internet searches if necessary. It also involves more advanced research support when required.

Homework Assistance

This programme is geared towards supporting and assisting all children (including vulnerable children) with homework and projects on a daily basis or as required.

Business Information Support through Business Workshops:

This programme is delivered targeting women and youth. Small Business Workshops are held to assist predominantly women and youth to enter the workplace and become employable. Workshops are done by library staff in partnership with presenters from invited partners e.g. banks, businesses in the area, colleges, etc. This programme is rendered at specific identified libraries.

Youth Programmes

Special programmes hosted at Libraries focusing on the youth and their needs e.g. Study Skills; CV Writing, Job Interview Skills, etc.

Book Talks

Book Talks are organized from time to time at identified Libraries in the city where authors are invited to Libraries to host the book talks.

Reading Circles/Book Clubs:

Reading Circles/Book Clubs are held on a regular basis at several libraries in the City, often at libraries that have Friends of the Library. Members belonging to the Reading Circles/Book Clubs all read different books and review them and then meet on a monthly basis to discuss these new books.

​City of Johannesburg eResources



Newspapers and magazines:

Current Local and international newspapers and magazines covering: News, Current Affairs, Art & Design, Business, Finance, Technology, Gaming, Food, Health, Family, Parenting, History, Science, Automotive, Crafts & Hobbies, Animals & Pets, Sports, Fashion, Entertainment, Home & Garden, Music, Environment, Outdoors,  Photography, Spirituality, Travel, Kids’ magazines. Up to 3 months back-dated copies, depending on the publication.
How to Access?
- Go to a Pressreader geofenced Hotspot located at any of the City’s public libraries and the following COJ sites:
Johannesburg Art Gallery Library; COJ Finance - Thuso House
Johannesburg Photographic Library (MuseumAfrica); COJ Finance - Jorisson Place
COJ Metro Centre – Plaza; Blairgowrie Recreation Centre
COJ Metro Centre – Canteen (not currently open); Wendywood Clinic & Recreation Centre
COJ Group Forensics Library - Ameshoff Street; COJ Public Safety Library - Brixton
COJ Group ICT - JD House; COJ Public Safety Library - Florida
City Power Media Centre - Siemert Rd;  COJ Public Safety Library - Rietfontein
Joburg Water Media Centre - Harrison St; Joburg Theatre
-    Download the Pressreader App
Open the App. You should get a Welcome Pop-up screen.
When using the App, make sure that your device’s LOCATION is switched ON and that you have given Pressreader permission to access your Location. Check via Settings  Location  App Permissions.
You may need to move closer to the Hotspot to connect. Once you have connected you have access for 14 days, after which you will need to revisit the hotspot to reconnect.


eJournals / scholarly articles, general interest resources and eBooks
20 Reference and Public Library Collections of journal articles, reference sources and eBooks.
Includes: Full-text articles from a wide range of academic journals and eBooks - Science Reference Centre and eBook Collection, MasterFILE Complete Reference, Hospitality and Tourism, Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete, Regional Business News, Africa-Wide information, Child development & Adolescent studies, ERIC, Hospitality and Tourism Complete, MasterFiILE Complete and eBook Collection, MEDLINE, Newspaper source

Includes: A curated Public Library collection of eBooks and general interest Reference information - covering subjects including juvenile fiction and nonfiction, business, history, adult fiction, computers, travel, health, cooking and more, Read IT, Points of view reference centre, History reference centre, Poetry and Short Stories, Home improvement reference centre, Entrepreneurial Studies source, Hobbies and crafts reference centre, Auto-repair reference centre
How to Access?
Visit your nearest library or send an email to :, to get the required Username and password.
- Download the EBSCO Mobile App. Search for “Johannesburg Public Library & Information Services’’ under Institutions, and use the Username and Password provided. 
- Log in to in your browser and use the Username and Password provided.
Once you have logged in, create a personal account to save your searches, organise your research, download eBooks and synchronise your activity with the mobile app.


Company and Business information
Business information of South African and African companies, including company details, take-over and merger activity and researched industry reports. Access to the CIPC information is not yet available. 

How to Access?

- Visit your nearest library or send an email to:, to get the required Username and password.
- Log in to, and use the Username and Password provided.


Borrow ebooks, audiobooks, and eMagazines and stream videos and TV shows through the Kanopy service. Renew and return books online. Even recommend new titles to add to the library’s collection.​

You must be a member of the library to borrow items and stream videos. If you are not already a member complete an online application form on the website (click on the Membership link). As soon as you receive the email with your membership number, you can log in and start borrowing eBooks.

How to Access?
- Download the Libby App, search for and select the “City of Johannesburg Library Services” and sign in with your Library card number.
- Log in to on your browser and sign in with your Library card number.

2.  ONLINE ENCYCLOPEDIAS via the Gauteng Virtual Library

Open your browser and search for “Gauteng Virtual Library
The direct link is:, Click on ‘View services’, then ‘Show more’, then ‘Visit site’.


General encyclopedia – Regularly updated, trusted content with high-quality multimedia resources to support research and develop understanding and critical thinking. Three different research levels for Kids, Young adults and Adults.


An engaging, verified, and trustworthy digital general encyclopedia resource for children and young adults (from pre-school through high school). Includes activities and games to promote learning and understanding, illustrated eBooks and educational tools.

3.  ONLINE eLearning

Free certified and skills-based courses are offered by Microsoft (through their partner Afrika-Tikkun), IBM and Google.

1. Log in to the​ website and search under ‘Free digital content.

4.  STAFF ONLY ACCESS (Public access to be activated in 2024)

Some of the eResources are not yet available to the public but library staff can access them on your behalf. 


A comprehensive collection of current and archive news articles and press feeds from local and international newspapers and other reliable news sources, curated into subject areas for ease of access, e.g. health, education, environment, political and social issues.

Includes Access Global Newsbank - full-text articles from thousands of International newspapers and 135 South African newspapers (some titles dated as far back as 1997).
Includes the complete digitised Rand Daily Mail (1902-1985).


An online legal research tool offering a collection of trusted legal content that covers all aspects of law.

Includes: National, provincial and municipal legislation, Case law, Law Reports, Legal commentary, Industrial Relations and Legal Citator analysis tool


Curated databases of legislative documents and legal content and commentary.

Includes: SA Gazettes, Retrospective Archives, Bill Tracker and Policy documents, NetLaw National, Provincial NetLaw​


Full-text articles of African journals and African Journals Archive, Catalogue for South African Theses and Dissertations, Current and completed research.
NB: Research and Reference enquiries for the Johannesburg City Library can be directed to the following email address: