Revamped libraries light up young minds

Revamped libraries light up young mindsWard 95 Councillor Rodgers Makhubele stands outside the entrance to the Diepsloot Youth Centre, which houses the Diepsloot Library and Hall.

Diepsloot Library and Lord Khanyile Library in Ivory Park have recently undergone revamps to the tune of R2.6-million and 1.5-million respectively.

Eighty-seven City of Joburg libraries have been upgraded over the past two yearsEighty-seven City of Joburg libraries have been upgraded over the past two years.Library upgrades taking place across the City are giving Joburg learners from all walks of life a major boost with their studies.

Thando Mthembu, an 18-year-old pupil studying for her matric finals, says the developments at the Diepsloot Library and Hall has helped her to study more effectively.

"The library is a peaceful and productive place for me to study for my finals," Mthembu said, adding that the library made it easier to access books and information. "I have also seen an increase in the number of study groups being formed in the library."

Diepsloot Library and Hall, situated on the premises of the Diepsloot Youth Centre in Diepsloot, and the Lord Khanyile Library in Ivory Park, are among a number of public amenities that have benefited from the Johannesburg Development Agency's (JDA's) ongoing upgrades.

Diepsloot Library has been completely repurposed, in order to optimise usage, to the tune of R2.65-million. The building has been retrofitted with energy-efficient electrical and lighting systems, as well as air-conditioning and ceiling insulation to make it a more comfortable environment for its users.

The addition of a wifi hotspot has enabled the Youth Centre to offer its users, mainly pupils and students, with an information access and opportunities portal.

The R1.5-million refurbishment of the Lord Khanyile library, meanwhile, has seen the facility fully electrified, a security system installed, the ablution facilities upgraded, the floors tiled, the perimeter fence painted and parking provided.

Oupa Maboya, centre manager at the Diepsloot Library and Hall, said the revamp had uplifted the community.

"As the only library in Diepsloot, this library is playing a key role in facilitating the youth's studies," Maboya said. "Its location is idea for the entire Diepsloot community, therefore this has impacted positively on the youth in the area.

"Various groups have benefited from the upgrades, including the disabled reading group, learners in the reading development programme, the science development programme, the business workshop group, and the various schools in the area that use the library's facilities," Maboya added.  

In total, 87 City of Johannesburg libraries have been upgraded over the past two years, including the Emndeni, Lenasia, Orange Farm, Diepkloof Zone 1, Jabavu, Yeoville and Sandton libraries.

More than R41.8-million has been set aside in the current financial year for the redevelopment of libraries, sports facilities and other amenities along the City's Corridors of Freedom.

The development of these strategic Corridors will see well-planned transport arteries linking to higher density, mixed-use urban nodes, enabling the City's residents to live within easier reach of schools, hospitals and places of work and recreation.