Li­brary fire re­buke

Cape Times - - OPINION -

WE CON­DEMN the burn­ing of pub­lic li­braries dur­ing protests.

The de­part­ment is dis­heart­ened to learn of the burn­ing of the Zwelihle Pub­lic Li­brary in the Over­strand dur­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery protests.

While we un­der­stand the frus­tra­tion lev­els that cit­i­zens might face, it is never jus­ti­fied to de­stroy a cen­tre of knowl­edge and learn­ing.

A com­mu­nity li­brary of­fers a safe space for chil­dren to learn, for young peo­ple to gain ac­cess to job op­por­tu­ni­ties and for a com­mu­nity to ac­cess lit­er­a­ture.

It is un­fair that a com­mu­nity must suf­fer the loss of this kind of re­source be­cause of protest ac­tion.

The value of a li­brary in a com­mu­nity is im­mea­sur­able, which is why the de­part­ment in­vests fi­nan­cially in as­sist­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to of­fer these fa­cil­i­ties.

While youth in our com­mu­ni­ties are at risk of be­ing lured into so­cial ills, we need safe spa­ces where they can ac­cess al­ter­na­tive, pos­i­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties.

When li­braries are burnt, we risk let­ting young peo­ple slip through the cracks.

We urge com­mu­nity mem­bers to stop and think about the value of pub­lic prop­erty, and what it means to the chil­dren of their com­mu­nity.

Let us not jeop­ar­dise chil­dren’s fu­tures by dam­ag­ing prop­erty and tak­ing away op­por­tu­ni­ties which could em­power them. Ta­nia Colyn Head of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions De­part­ment of Cul­tural Af­fairs and Sport

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