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Rumours that the Parkhurst Library is being closed down have been denied by the City, which points out that it is open for business as usual.
AMID confusion and rumour that the Parkhurst Library was being closed down as the renovated Johannesburg central library celebrated its rebirth on 14 February, the portfolio head of community development, Chris Vondo, reassured residents that the gossip was untrue.

MMC Chris Vondo:MMC Chris Vondo: Joburg not scaling down on provision of library services“These reckless falsehoods have had major repercussions overseas and we have had to assure our partners and sponsors that the City is definitely not scaling down on the provision of library services,” Vondo said.

“On the contrary, the fact that R68-million was committed to modernise and expand the city library is proof of our commitment to increase access and ensure that all Joburgers can make use of our facilities,” he added.

Staff from libraries across Joburg were called on to help with final preparations leading up to the official opening of the revamped central library and this is where the misunderstanding may have arisen, explained the City’s director of library and information services, Nobuntu Mpendulo.

It was a necessary step as the unpacking and shelving of books required skilled personnel. Although this led to temporary staff shortages in various libraries across the city, assistant directors in each of the seven regions were instructed that library services must continue as normal.

Mpendulo estimated that the size and quality of the services on offer at the new-and-improved library would affect user patterns at the other libraries in Joburg, and that this in turn would influence decisions on budget allocations and human resources to ensure equal access to library services for every community.

Residents who used other libraries would also benefit from the re-opening of the central one though, as there was a centralised database allowing for integration of resources and faster access to information.

Also, the opening of the library significantly increased access to information and knowledge, she said. “We now have a world-class information hub located right in the heart of the city with more than 600 000 items and high-speed internet services available to assist students and researchers.”

A strategy to distribute facilities to each library as needs require is being worked on by examining the number of users, opening hours and geographic distribution of libraries. Once the central library is operational, the library and information services department will be able to accurately gauge its impact on patterns of use at other libraries.

Despite the uncertainty, the Parkhurst Library was open for business as usual on Tuesday and will continue to operate during its normal hours.

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