Lots of ideas, little space at Wynberg library

Wynberg Library staff, back from left, Gilbert Isaac, Ian Cooker, David Warburton, Thando Fisa and Robert Moult. In from from left are Nokulunga George, Zikhona Vika, Lorraine Jordaan, Takalanie Ramutsindela and Rethabule Nkhahle.

Despite the impact of technology, books are still best, as is proven by Wynberg Library’s circulation.

Principal librarian Gilbert Isaac said with the high cost of books, even e-books, the number of books borrowed from the library continues to rise – but staff at the southern precinct’s main branch are not resting on their laurels.

Mr Isaac, who took over from Luke Townsend who retired in May after 30 years at the helm was previously based Brooklyn where he managed a staff of six. At Wynberg he manages a team of 13, along with the associated administration load. But he’s not complaining.

Many of the staff at Wynberg have been there for many years and have been very supportive. But in order to keep the library looking good and continue to supply books requested by its users, additional funds are need to supplement those from the City of Cape Town. Enter the Friends of Wynberg Library.

Catching up with the knitting group on Friday morning, Margie Messick said they are looking for new people to volunteer a couple of hours a week and to offer new ideas to raise funds.

Apart from the knitting group on Friday mornings, the book sales on the first Saturday of the month they also hold pram jams with storytelling and sing-alongs on Wednesdays, from 11am to noon, for toddlers aged 20 to 25 months. Mr Isaac said these are becoming very popular but the library is running out of space to hold these events.

Ms Messick started volunteering at the library in 2009, shelving books and then mending damaged books and now selling used books. She is very excited about the knitting group, saying that four staff have learnt to knit since February.

Ms Messick said they have two knitting projects. The first is to donate vests, bonnets and booties to Christine Revell Children’s Home in Athlone and premature babies at Victoria Hospital. They also knit items for Wynberg Old Girls’ Wool for Wonders knitting challenge, which is also supported by the Bulletin.

Ms Ressick said they are always looking for donations of double and four-ply wool and knitting needles, size 10 (3.25mm) and 8 (4mm). Ward 62 councillor Liz Brunette said the City developed conceptual plans for the extension of the Wynberg Library.

“During the last term of office, I highlighted the need to budget for additional reference rooms and meeting and staff facilities with the Community Development Portfolio Committee during a site meeting four years ago and regularly with the Department of Community Services at subcouncil meetings,” she said.

Ms Brunette said she will be visiting the library during her ward tour with mayoral committee member for community services, Anda Ntsodo, and continue highlighting the need to expand the library to meet the requirements of Wynberg and the broader community, as well as the pupils who use the library reference material, Smart Cape computers and working space for the projects and homework.

For further information about the Friends of Wynberg Library, or to donate books in good condition for resale, contact Margie Messick 021 703 2025, or 082 343 7529.