Arts and Culture commits R3b for new libraries

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pretoria – Government is to spend R3 billion on building libraries in communities with limited access to these facilities.

This was announced by the Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, during a visit to Greenside Primary School in Polokwane as part of National Book Week on Friday.

“The Department of Arts and Culture will invest R3 billion in library infrastructure over a period of three years.

“We will build libraries in communities that have limited access or do not have access at all to these facilities, and upgrade other existing structures,” said the Deputy Minister.

She said that by building library infrastructure, the department was laying the foundation for a thriving reading culture.

“Buildings do not go to the people. People must come to the buildings. This is where initiatives like National Book Week are most crucially needed,” said the Deputy Minister.

The department initiated National Book Week to promote access to books and contribute towards the creation of a reading and writing society.

The South African Book Development Council commissioned a study to assess the reading habits of adult South Africans and found that only 14% of South Africans are active book readers.

It also found that only 5% of parents read to their children and 51% of households in South Africa did not have a single book in their home.

National Book Week 2014, which also forms part of Heritage Month, ends on Sunday. –