Bellville library turns 100 in style

Celiwe Gcilitshana was part of a fashion show held to mark Bellville librarys centenary.

Bellville public library, which celebrated its centenary last week, is encouraging young people to read books so it can still be around 100 years from now.

Senior librarian Christelle Connor said: “We want to create a buzz about books and get more people wanting to come to the library.”

One way the library hopes to do that is with its newly launched online book club, NetBooks @ Bellville, which gives readers a chance to share their thoughts on Facebook about a particular book.

“The problems we face in this country with literacy and education are well-documented, and so it is important to keep the youth interested in reading books. So in order to do this, we have to go outside our walls and show people that the library is here and that we are digital,” Ms Connor said.

While the public will be encouraged to provide most of the content on the site, the library will also showcase a new item every month from more than 109 000 at its disposal.

Ms Connor said library visitors were often intimidated by the sheer volume of books available.

“With the book club, people will have a better idea of what type of book they want, and when they visit the library they can easily find it.

“Of course following the launch, the library is driving the book club, but we hope that it will become a community-driven project.

That way, we know that if the community is the one spreading the word about the books then the library will be well supported.” While the book club is about bridging the gap between digital and print, the library, itself, runs an early learning programme, Born-to-Read.

“Every Wednesday morning at 10, we invite kids, who of course are too young for school, and their parents to come to the library for story time. We regularly have about 20 kids coming to the library on Wednesday and we also have a Books to Go programme where we send books to local creches in the area.”

The library held various functions during the week to celebrate its centenary milestone, including a fashion show where all the clothes were made from recyclable material.