National Book Week this September, will allow Capetonians the chance to return overdue material to 104 libraries in the Mother City without having to pay a fine.

A fine-free week will take place at 104 libraries in Cape Town from 3 September to 9 September 2018, to coincide with National Book Week.

This initiative takes place in an attempt to recover over 20 000 overdue items that have piled up at the City of Cape Town’s libraries.

Patrons will have the chance to return overdue items, escape the fines due and get back into good books with their local library.

“Currently, there are more than 20 000 items including books, study guides and DVDs that are long overdue at the City’s libraries, valued at around R2 million. Staff are spending too many hours trying to track down patrons who checked out the items. This is time that could have been spent more productively on direct service delivery. Missing items also deprive others from enjoying them,” said the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

“During the last Fine-free Week earlier this year, libraries retrieved 6 067 items to the value of R283 000,”said Alderman Smith.

Lost library cards will be replaced at no cost to patrons during this period as well.

“National Book Week aims to promote reading, which is a powerful tool in fighting poverty. Literacy and reading are at the heart of education, personal growth and development. Even when a child is encouraged to read for pleasure, it impacts on his educational achievements,” said Smith.

Unreturned items remain a huge challenge for the City’s libraries due to budget constraints. Missing loan items also makes it difficult to ensure that patrons have access to relevant, adequate and up-to-date collections.

National Book Week aims to reduce and change the findings of a 2006 study, which was repeated in 2016, that shows a disturbing increase in the number of South African households that do not own a single leisure reading book – up from 51% in 2006 to 58% in 2016.

Only 14% of the country’s population are committed readers.



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