EThekwini Municipality, through a private-public partnership with Galleria Mall in Amanzimtoti, south of Durban, is set to open a new city library soon. Located inside the mall the new establishment, which will be easily accessible to the public, is expected to help promote reading.
This came after the City of Durban was recently recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a city of literature.
The city library is situated next to Siyakha Learning Lab, a community development which is an educational hub for thousands of people in south Durban communities.
Smangele Makhathini, 35, travels all the way from Mfume to Galleria Mall to access the internet almost everyday. She says that although she needs it more often, she only gets to spend an hour where she surfs the net.
“I’m a student and heavily reliant on the internet. I’m glad that now I won’t be travelling from home to the mall only for the internet but I will be able to issue out books as well,” she said.
Thabani Zulu, 22, a student from Illovo, said that easy access to the internet would be of great help to many young people, especially students.
“I’m excited about this because it means we won’t have to travel to far places in order to access the internet. Also, most people go to the mall for a number of things and bumping into a library where people can get to read books and use the internet will be a bonus” he said.
Mthembu said that he hopes many young people will utilise the facility.
“It’s not easy to find easy access to such facilities and I’m going to be using it more often, I hope many other people will use it,” he said.
District manager for libraries and heritage Rajen Govender said in a statement that having the facility located at the mall was strategic.
“With the library being based at a busy location, the city aims to draw in younger people who spend their time in malls. The library will be easily accessible and promote recreation,” he said.
Govender added that the municipality remained committed to a literate city and is looking into building and acquiring new libraries across the city.
“Our biggest project being the new library set to be built at the Centrum site, additional libraries in areas such as Amaoti are also in the pipeline,” he said.
The official opening date of the library will be announced soon.