Millions in lost reading material is no fairytale

With more than 22 000 items lost at a cost of nearly R3 million, the City of Cape Town’s librarians are appealing to patrons to return outstanding items. To encourage the return of items, the City’s libraries will hold a Fine Free Week, from 5 to 10 September 2022, with more than a week of jam-packed programmes. It includes a celebration of International Literacy Day on 8 September.

Currently the 22 775 lost items are mainly books, but also include study guides, and DVDs, all at a cost of R2 927 071.

‘We cannot ignore the reality of lost or unreturned items. An item is deemed lost when it hasn’t been returned by the due date for at least three months. This deprives other patrons of enjoying the item, while libraries incur a loss they can ill afford,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia van der Ross.

Topping the list of lost items are the Grade 12 Geography study guide, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Alice in Wonderland, and Little Red Riding Hood.

‘During this week we want to encourage our patrons to view reading as a fun activity and to encourage them to incorporate reading into their daily lives. It is a pleasure being denied to many when items are not being returned,’ said Councillor Van der Ross.

The amnesty period will allow patrons to return overdue books and other items without paying a fine.

International Literacy Day, on 8 September, highlights the changes and improvements being made worldwide in literacy development.

‘Improving literacy is an integral part of our efforts to close the inequality gap in education and eradicating poverty. The theme for this year’s International Literacy Day is “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces” and gives us the opportunity to consider the importance of our libraries as literacy learning spaces,’ Councillor Van der Ross.

Some of the activities taking place during this week include digital literacy sessions, librarian outreaches and many book and awareness talks.

One of the highlights of the week is an author’s fair hosted by the Helderberg libraries.

The fair will include book launches, and visits by authors and publishers to the Gordon’s Bay, Kuils River, Lwandle, Macassar, PD Paulse, Strand, Somerset West and Melton Rose libraries.

Source: City of Cape Town

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