One of the oldest libraries in Cape Town, the Rondebosch Library, has officially reopened after being closed for more than 16 months due to extensive renovations.

The City’s Library and Information Service closed the doors of the Rondebosch Library in April 2019, signalling the start of renovations and upgrades totalling more than R4-million. The expected completion date had to be extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rondebosch library is housed in the well-known Rondebosch Town Hall, which was built in 1898. The library became part of the original Town Hall building in 1907 and is home to some 80 000 books.

The work was carried out in consultation with a heritage architect to ensure compliance with the aesthetics and history of the building and included:

– Replacing the asbestos roof with Italian slate tiles, which included the full restoration of the coupler
– Major repairs to an interior wall, which showed serious damage over the years due to roof leaks
– Repair work to underlying brickwork and plastering in other areas of the library
– Repairing of woodwork, which entailed some intricate work around the internal window frames and architraves
– An entire repaint of the interior, except the high ceiling in the main area
– Certain electrical work to ensure compliance
– Replacing the entire facility’s carpet
– Repairing certain areas of the flooring that was broken. The library has a wooden, suspended floor.
– Replacing all vinyl areas at the facility

“It has been a long wait, but it has been worth it. Many of the City’s libraries are grand old dames that require quite a bit of TLC to ensure that they look their best, and are able to continue serving the public. Rondebosch is no exception, and we can’t wait for the return of full-scale services so that the loyal patrons may see and experience the investment that the City has made in the space,” said Zahid Badroodien, Mayco Member for Community Services and Health.

“We encourage patrons to invest in the space too, by helping us look after it, as well as the many thousands of resources that fill the shelves. The City hopes that the Library and Information Service will soon be able to extend its service offering to allow browsing at some libraries. Our phased-in approach allows us to plan and take all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our staff, patrons, and visitors during these challenging times.”

Patrons can partake in the ‘drop and collect’ service that is currently being offered by most of the City’s libraries due to COVID-19.

Picture: City of Cape Town

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.