The Edgemead / Monte Vista Library held a finger supper on 14 July to celebrate their reopening after six weeks of limited service while they underwent much-needed renovations.
The event was attended by staff, members of the Friends of the Library, local crafters, special guest and volunteers.
While the library should have in fact been closed during the renovations, the staff worked hard to still operate, albeit in a limited capacity. On sunny days they ran the library from the veranda outside, while Ward Councillor Helen Carstens lent the library use of her office alongside the hall.
Principal Librarian, Lorraine Mathewson, said that the staff worked hard to keep the library running during this time as they had to work through dirty and dusty conditions. She thanked them for all of their hard work. She also thanked volunteers for their assistance as they came in and started dusting, cleaning and shelving books, even before the maintenance was finished.
As if it wasn’t difficult enough with the ongoing maintenance, putting additional strain on the staff, to keep the library operating effectively. The library also received 600 books from province during this time, which had to be processed and shelved. Lorraine said that the staff and volunteers were exceptional during this time and offered friendly service to visitors despite the conditions.
The upgrades involved a motorised gate, which she is most pleased about as it would improve the safety of staff arriving early and leaving late from the library as the old gate was very heavy for them to open or close. The lights were forever fusing so the fittings throughout were replaced and neon tubes fitted. A disabled door was installed for the toilets and the tiles were redone, the kitchen was redone and extra storage added. Storage was added above six workstations and a DVD shelf added behind the main desk. Additionally the library was fitted with invisible burglar bars and painted inside and out. The library now also features a new shop-front entrance and foyer with additional storage cupboards.
Last but most certainly not least, the Friends of the Library paid for the new main desk which is now lower and allows for easier access for wheelchair-bound visitors, disabled people, children and short people (laughs Lorraine).
Lorraine said that she started a project whereby the books are categorized to allow for visitors and staff to easily find a book on a specific subject, as this can sometimes prove tricky with the standard filing system.
The library receives a lot of support from the community who regularly donate new books. Lorraine said that they receive donations of new books daily and this year 1060 books were added to the library from donations alone.
Lorraine also thanked the Ward Councillor for her donation of 30 thousand rand from her Ward Budget allocation which will go to the purchase of new books. The City of Cape Town also donated 66 thousand rand. Additionally the Provincial Library Service donated 1100 books.
The treasurer said that the library, in the past 5 weeks spent 20 thousand rand on new material, including classic DVD’s which correlate to the books so that visitors can get the complete experience when they check out books or DVD’s from the Edgemead / Monte Vista Library.
The event also saw the library celebrating 22 years since they opened their doors and the opening of their craft market, which sees local crafters displaying homemade items for sale. I took a walk through the aisles and there was a lot on offer from homemade treats to various bric a brac.
Ward Councillor for Edgemead and Bothasig, Helen Carstens, commended Edgemead / Monte Vista Library for all they do. “It is a very interactive library and there are always happy things strewn about creating a warm, inviting atmosphere.”
She said it is heartwarming to know people still join the library and take out books in this instant age we live in where people are used to going online and getting any information they want.
“I would like to commend the library on its pro-activeness. With closing over maintenance and using my office to be able to run this large library out of that small office, the staff really went the extra mile to make it work,” Cllr Carstens said.
She also extended thanks to the Friends of the Library. She said that libraries are an unfunded mandate, so the library really appreciates all their support, and everything they do and assist with at the library to make it a vibrant and happy place.