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The revamped Lord Khanyile Library in Ivory Park, northern Johannesburg, has been officially handed over to the local community in what Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community (MMC) Development, Councillor Chris Vondo, described as “an important milestone in the development of our people”.

The new-look, state-of-the-art facility adds to the City’s growing portfolio of spruced-up libraries and boosts the municipality’s ambitious plans to galvanise the culture of reading among residents, including adults and children.

The library, refurbished at a cost of R1,5 million, was established in 1996. It has now been fully electrified and has a 3M security system installed. The renovations include improvements to the ablution facilities, painting of the perimeter fence, tiling of the floors and provision of parking facilities.

The library, which is mainly used by local pupils and students, is expected to substantially increase its membership going forward. Before the renovations, the library had attracted 36 000 visits, during which time 1 989 books were used.

The refurbishment of this library is the latest in a string of libraries that have been revamped over the past two years. They include Emndeni, Lenasia, Diepsloot, Orange Farm, Diepkloof Zone 1, Jabavu, Yeoville and Sandton libraries. Work is still underway at Mayfair Library, one of the oldest in Johannesburg.

Speaking about the Lord Khanyile Library, the MMC Vondo said Ivory Park and Rabie Ridge communities would now have a choice which facility to use for reading and studying. The library borders Rabid Ridge and Ivory Park and gives residents of the two townships a choice.

“This is the third library in the area to be renovated. It is up to residents to choose which one to use. The opening of the Lord Khanyile Library will no doubt alleviate pressure on the other two.
“We are glad that residents, especially children, will no longer be confined to one or two libraries,” said MMC Vondo.

The MMC appealed to parents to encourage their children to visit libraries to read as many books as possible as this would help the children to broaden their knowledge.

He said parents were in a better position to help promote the culture of reading, adding that once children got used to it, they would not turn back.

“Our libraries have interesting statistics because they are user-friendly. Last year alone, we recorded a total of 2.6 million visits during which 1.5 million books were used. We appeal to parents to bring their three-year-olds to libraries because that is the right age for children to appreciate the importance of reading,” said MMC Vondo.

There are 87 public libraries under the City’s watch.

MMC Vondo said more libraries still needed to be established to meet the needs of the growing number of children starting primary school. Although a fair number of students use libraries, MMC Vondo said it was still very difficult to persuade young people to make use of them.