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City of Cape Town unwilling to change course on Plumstead Library

Cape Town – Calls are continuing to mount against the imminent closure of the Plumstead Public Library.

For 67 minutes for Mandela Day, ANC members protested in Plumstead Main Road against the City’s decision to close the library.

Ward 63 ANC co-ordinator Wesley Seale said three nearby City-owned properties in Dalegarth, South and Waterbury roads have been identified as possible new sites for the library as opposed to shutting it down completely.

“The City is using high rental costs as its lame excuse for closing the library. Yet we have identified at least three empty properties, owned by the City, into which the City can move the library. The City refuses to even consider this option,” Seale said.

Seale said there are about five staff, a number of volunteers and a knitting club, with the latter playing a charity role in the community.

“We think that it is important to fight for libraries and the vital role that they play within our communities. Bottle stores are opening up at an alarming rate but the City chooses to close down libraries,” Seale said.

Mayco member for Community Services and Health Patricia van der Ross said the library was in a rented space with the lease expiring on April 30, 2023.

“The decline in funding has also meant less money for books, maintenance and expansion. It’s a difficult decision, but we need to free up funding so we can maintain services at other facilities,” Van der Ross said.

The library’s five permanent staff will be redeployed and the community would be able to use the Southfield and Wynberg libraries, which are closest, said Van der Ross.

Meanwhile, the lease for the Tygervalley Library, which expired in June and thereafter expected to close, has been extended. The library had been operating from the shopping centre for over 30 years.

Community activist Ursula Schenker said: “We could go to the library to read the newspapers and scholars to do research on their various projects. This is also where parents who didn’t have money for after-care could leave their children, because it was seen as a safe space.”

Sourced from IOL by John Gentz– Plumstead Area Specialist

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