The City of Cape Town’s Eerste River Library celebrates 25 years of serving the community this month since opening its doors on 22 January 1998, with only five staff members, two of whom still work at the library.
The library serves as a focal point for the whole community of Eerste River. It’s a place where learners come to do their homework and meet up with friends; parents come to the library to introduce their children to the wonderfully imaginative world of books; and it serves as a safe haven for children after school and during school holidays.
The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia van der Ross, said, “Libraries are the places where knowledge, education and social interaction meet. Eerste River Library has become a beacon in the community.”
The library was renovated in 2018, the revamp included an update to the kitchen, the installation of new tiles and carpets, a teen section was created, and the study cubicles received new desks.
Librarian in charge, Rene Jashim, who started 25 years ago as a senior assistant librarian, said, “The preparation leading to the renovation was exciting and challenging. I received input from the staff and shared our future plans with the community. Our library also flooded for the first time during the renovation, but in the end, our challenges felt minor when we opened our doors after the renovation and saw people’s faces light up when seeing the renovated library. All our hard work is worth it when residents get involved in events and we are able to empower and enrich their lives through programmes.”
Mrs Jashim said that the library has provided many community-based programmes over the years.
Eerste River Library has a collection of over 35,000 items, with the most popular being board books, picture books, Afrikaans and English adult fiction, and audio-visual material.
“The staff at all our libraries are hardworking, dynamic individuals who are passionate about their jobs and their communities. I want to encourage our residents to take ownership of these facilities and to make use of the opportunities they present,” added Councillor Van der Ross.
Picture: City of Cape Town