City offers amnesty for all outstanding library books

With more than 22 000 items lost at a cost of nearly R3 million, the City of Cape Town’s librarians are appealing to patrons to return outstanding items.

To encourage the return of items, the City’s libraries will hold a Fine Free Week from Monday 5 to Saturday 10 September.

Currently the 22 775 lost items are mainly books, but also include study guides, and DVDs, all at a cost of R2 927 071.

“An item is deemed lost when it hasn’t been returned by the due date for at least three months.

“This deprives other patrons of enjoying the item, while libraries incur a loss they can ill afford,” says Patricia van der Ross, the City’s Mayco member for community services and health.

Topping the list of lost items are the Grade 12 Geography study guide, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Alice in Wonderland and Little Red Riding Hood.

The amnesty period will allow patrons to return overdue books and other items without paying a fine.

A week-long, jam-packed programme to mark International Literacy Day (8 September) will coincide with the fine-free week.

The theme for this year’s International Literacy Day is “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces”.

Van der Ross says this is an ideal opportunity to consider the importance of libraries as literacy learning spaces.

“Improving literacy is an integral part of our efforts to close the inequality gap in education and eradicating poverty,” she says.

Some of the activities taking place during this week include digital literacy sessions, librarian outreaches and many book and awareness talks.

  •  For a list of the programmes at City libraries, go to

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