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City Book Day attracts hundreds of bookworms


Several avid Johannesburg readers, including children of all ages, gathered at Rhodes Park Public Library in Kensington on 26 April to mark World Book and Copyright Day and celebrate the importance of reading.

They also had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of their favourite authors, including veteran poet and writer Don Mattera. The event was one of several hosted by the City of Johannesburg’s Library and Information Services across the city.

World Book Day is traditionally celebrated every year on April 23, which this year fell on a Thursday.

The City moved the celebrations to Saturday April 25 to allow for more schoolchildren to attend. The day’s activities included games, poetry, book reviews, story-telling and reading sessions. Poet Mike Alfred and children’s author, Joanne McGregor, also graced the occasion. Nobuntu Mpengulo of the City’s Library and Information Services said she was “very happy” the event went well.

“It was so well-attended by the public – especially considering that we are a relatively small library and that there were also other events being held in other parts of city. We were also well-supported by a number of book clubs from surrounding areas and managed to give away a number of books to both children and adults.”

Mpengulo said supporting literacy and reading – especially among the youth – was vital to ensuring the City’s future prosperity.

“We have to inculcate a love for reading among our children,” she said. “In fact, we want more than just to create readers with events such as this. We also want to encourage our children to become future writers and publishers. We all know that it is a big problem that the youth today are often not interested in reading, which is why events like this are so important. Through such days, and with the support of the City, we can focus on reversing this trend, targeting children at primary school to create a culture of reading going forward.”

One of the residents who attended the event was mother of two Sheila O’Donnell.

“As a mother, I realise just how important it is to encourage children to read at an early age,” said O’Donnell.

“My younger son, especially, has been battling with reading at school. It’s nice to know that we have the support of the library and the City as we try to get him excited about the world of books.”