The City of Cape Town’s Eikendal library in Kraaifontein has reopened after undergoing an almost R4 million upgrade.
The library building was extended by 18 m², which in essence doubles the space used by the public.
Electrical wiring, phones, the alarm system and IT networking have been upgraded and redone.
All of the floor and roof coverings were replaced and painting was done throughout the building.
The hall has new kitchen facilities and the public ablutions have been upgraded with the addition of separate toilet facilities for people with disabilities.
A fire detection system has been installed and the IT server system upgraded. All lighting has been changed to energy-efficient lighting and the water supply to the building has been upgraded.
New furniture has been procured and the library spaces more defined.
Extensive paving has been done around the entrance and around the building, while emergency escape upgrades have been implemented.
There is also additional air-conditioning.
For the staff, a small staff room and ablution facility has been added. The public can look forward to a more spacious and better functioning library in terms of services. Construction took nine months to complete.
The City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith, attended the reopening and said the upgrade was in direct response to the popularity of this library and the immense demand for increased and improved library services.
“A community that shows this level of enthusiasm for their local library is certainly to be celebrated. It shows a commitment to life-long learning. I think we can all agree that the changes have completely revitalised this space.
“I have no doubt that our investment here will mean that we will see a steep increase in the number of visitors to Eikendal library. I also expect that people will not just pop in and out to borrow a book, but will rather want to stay for an hour or two because it is now such an inviting and comfortable space,” said Mr Smith.
He encouraged the community to make use of the library.
“In order to be truly beneficial to communities, library facilities must be more than just places where books are borrowed.
“They need to be dynamic and versatile community centres. They need to be an interactive space through which knowledge is kindled, ideas are given creative expression, and connections are digitally forged.
“Access to information is an essential pillar in upholding a democracy – it is important that we don’t forget this and the contribution of a local library in this regard.
“Public libraries continue to be an important part of promoting equality through helping to reduce illiteracy, poverty and unemployment,” said Mr Smith.