Library closures a barrier to progress

Maghmood Allie, Plumstead

Recent events as highlighted in different publications merely emphasise the many challenges we face, one in particular being the importance of reading and the access to knowledge as a means of gaining a foothold in an already challenging world – a precious resource which should be available to all without any hindrance….

The Bulletin (“Plumstead library to close,” Bulletin, January 20, 2022) initially reported on the proposed closure of the Plumstead public library reportedly to be “in line with council’s decision to delimit external leases”.

With the closure imminent, one action taken to voice disapproval was a petition opposing this, but other publications state that, to date, no answer was received from the mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross.

There appears to be no feedback on a suitable alternative venue either even though Dr Wesley Seale (the ANC leader for Ward 73) recently identified at least four vacant City-owned properties in the vicinity that could serve this purpose.

Ironically, the Bulletin reported on the World Read Aloud Day, celebrated on February 1, an initiative to encourage and promote reading to and among children (“World Read Aloud Day with Wynberg library,” Bulletin, February 9). Libraries all over participated in this attempt at encouraging this valuable skill to assist in the development of young minds as they “perform better in school, develop better memories and stronger vocabularies and comprehension skills”, it was stated.

But many challenges still exist, and the imminent closure of a library adds to a list of obstacles in the path of progress.

The selfish among our communities are determined to halt any thought of this progress. It’s sad, disgusting actually, and I for one am absolutely angry about libraries (Bellville, Tafelsig, Delft and Ocean View) being closed, even though temporarily, due to theft and vandalism.

We should be outraged at this, quite rightly so, and while fingers are often pointed at authorities, perhaps let us ask how we can assist in the prevention of such incidents and the protection of institutions funded by our taxes. Or are we just as selfish in our approach and consider this to be someone else’s problem?

Not everyone can attend a protest, march and demand action, but we can raise awareness of the issues, and we can most definitely voice an opinion on the number of social platforms available.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” said Mr Nelson Mandela. Some clearly do not want change.

• In response to this letter, the City of Cape Town said it was still considering all options, and the community would be informed of any recommendations.