All for the love of books

THE Friends of the Library recently met with Kouga Municipality Portfolio Councillor Danny Benson and Chief Librarian of Kouga Libraries, Linda Jack to discuss various worrying issues.

The Chairperson of the Friends, Connie Knoetze, opened the meeting by explaining how the Friends collect and raise money to purchase new books for the library. This is made possible by a handful of volunteers, who for many years have sold books donated to them from their premises at the Book End in the Newton Hall. Old books are sold for pulping in Port Elizabeth, and the transportation of these books is also undertaken by volunteers.

Treasurer Sheila Schwind said the Friends of the Library was started in 1999 by a couple of like-minded bookworms who endeavoured to help the local library, by asking people to donate their unwanted books. These are then sold and the money used to purchase new books for the library.

Up and until the end of July 2018 the group has purchased books for the library to the value of R372 284, said Sheila.

Secretary Louise Panton emphasised that although they have some concerns, it must be remembered that the group is there to support and be of service to the library.

Although the Friends are able to recommend books to be purchased monthly by them, the actual list is supplied by the library staff.

Concerns raised by the Friends include the lack of internet access at the library, the public complaining that new books purchased by the Friends, for the library are not available for months, and the lack of signage.

Benson explained that although the library was housed in a municipal building and they did have a certain budget to assist it, they were merely the custodians while the bulk of funding came from Provincial Government in Bisho. He did, however, undertake to speak to the municipal staff tasked with supplying the library with internet connections. He also gave the assurance that the Friends can continue using the current premises at the Newton Hall. On the point of new books not being available Jack explained that with so many members and with only a single copy of a book available she was not surprised as the new books were very much in demand and a single reader can keep a book for up to four weeks if it is renewed.

The public are asked to please donate unwanted books to the Jeffreys Bay Friends of the Library. The donated books are sold on a Tuesday, Friday and every last Saturday from 09:00 to noon at their bookshop: The Book End at the Newton Hall.

Volunteers are also needed and anybody interested can call/WhatsApp or SMS Sheila at 083 312 4467 or Cindy at 076 845 1532.

The public is invited to join the very active Facebook-group where excellent new books are often up for grabs.