The City of Cape Town’s libraries are preparing to resume services and welcome patrons back into the world of books as recent regulations now allow libraries to open in a phased approach.
The reopening is done in compliance with the Occupational Health & Safety Act and other applicable directives. Library Services will also be guided by the directions issued by the Minister and will inform the public accordingly.
‘Our libraries are among the facilities that have been missed the most during this time and we know our patrons are anxious to once again step into a world of books. Recent regulations allow libraries to open and the City’s library services will resume in a phased approach,’ said Councillor Zahid Badroodien.
During the first phase of reopening, staff of several libraries will return and will introduce a drop and collect service in a manner which is safe for both patrons and staff.
A drop zone with clear instructions will be placed at each library, and patrons will be required to adhere to strict COVID-19 regulations including the wearing of face masks or coverings and practicing social distancing when dropping their library materials.
The libraries are Central Library, Wesfleur, Strand, Harare, Mitchells Plain Town Centre, Fish Hoek and Parow.
The material returned will be quarantined for a period of 72 hours, and will thus remain on the patron’s card for this period, before it is handled by library staff and returned on the system.
A new quota has also been introduced which allows patrons to borrow 20 items at a time for a 30 day period to enable library patrons to borrow more items for a longer period of time.
‘We share our communities’ excitement at being able to access reading material, but we are also mindful of the precautions that need to be taken. For this we ask that patrons bear with us as it is a learning curve for everyone involved. More libraries will slowly come on board as soon as all the necessary safety measures have been met, including the procurement of personal protection equipment for staff. Bellville Library will be the next to open as soon as the current LAN upgrade at the library is completed,’ added Councillor Badroodien.
The service will be available from Monday to Saturday, while a special service for senior citizens (60 years and older) and patrons who are physically challenged will be provided from 09:00 – 10:00 from Monday to Friday. All patrons are welcome to access the service from 10:00 – 16:00 daily during the week; while the Saturday service provision will be from 9:00 – 12:00.
Patrons can check the online library catalogue at opac.capetown.gov.za for the seven libraries and submit requests for specific books or general material, via e-mail or telephonically. No fines will be incurred on outstanding material during this time.