City libraries are a vital resource for education and personal growth. They provide a safe and welcoming space for community members to learn, relax, and access valuable tools. In recognition of this, the Community Services and Health Directorate has allocated over R32 million in the 2023/24 budget to upgrade and improve Library and Information Services (LIS). This includes a substantial investment in the expansion of the Lwandle Community Library and the acquisition of a diverse range of books, periodicals, and subscriptions.
The Threat of Theft and Vandalism
Despite the City’s efforts to enhance its libraries, the persistent threat of theft and vandalism undermines these investments. Recent burglaries at Bellville Library, Harare Library, and Weltevreden Library have highlighted the need for additional security measures. Unfortunately, existing measures such as alarm systems, fencing, burglar bars, and gates have not been sufficient to deter criminals from targeting these community facilities.
The financial losses from these incidents have not yet been fully determined, but they undoubtedly impact the range of services that libraries can offer. These funds could have been better utilized to enhance the libraries and provide more resources for the community.
The Need for Additional Security Measures
To address this disconcerting trend, the 2023/24 budget will include additional security measures such as new and improved fencing, security gates, and burglar bars at numerous libraries. The specific details and associated costs are still being finalized.
Collaborating to Safeguard City Libraries
To optimize the City’s efforts to enhance and safeguard its libraries, it is essential that the community works collaboratively. Community members are encouraged to report any suspicious behavior to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialing 021 480 7700 from a cellphone. By working together, we can ensure the continued success and safety of these indispensable spaces. Let us safeguard the future of our city libraries for generations to come.
The future of our city libraries depends on a careful balance between progress and preservation. Enhancing library resources is essential, but it must be accompanied by security measures that safeguard these invaluable spaces. Only by working together can we ensure that libraries remain safe and accessible for all.