Tuesday saw the third leg of the launch of the multimillion-rand Mzansi Libraries On-Line pilot project at Nkalimeng Leutsoa Public Library in Sharpeville, Gauteng. This initiative of the Global Libraries Programme of South Africa was funded by the National Libraries of South Africa, the Gauteng department of sport, arts, culture and recreation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
According to the department, the R32 million two-year project would be piloted at three libraries in the province, providing free new technological resources and training, among other benefits. The Suurman and Wedela Libraries in Tshwane and Merafong, respectively, have implemented the project, departmental spokesperson Nomazwe Ntlokwana said.
The Global Libraries Programme aims to roll-out the project to 44 more libraries across the Gauteng city region over the next three years, with 14 to be completed in the 2016 and 2017 financial year. With yesterday’s launch, local communities will have access to ICT equipment to the value of R470 000.
The resources include desktop computers, printers, scanners, tablets and free Wi-Fi. “As Madiba said Sharpeville is the nation’s ‘cradle of human rights’, it was important that its people were among the first to benefit from such programmes,” said director of library and archival services at the department Koekie Meyer.
She said the project would enhance library services in Gauteng.