Jacobsdal’s new library brings hope

A new public library in Jacobsdal has brought excitement and hope to the community of the small farming town, which lies about 154km west of provincial capital Bloemfontein.

Built by the Letsemeng Local Municipality at a cost of R11.8 million, the recently opened Ratanang Library has become a popular facility for both young and old members of the community wanting to read, research or study.

“Since the opening of this library recently, people have been flocking in for one reason or another especially after school hours,” librarian Dalene Eckard said.

“There are things that people never realised in the past – like the fact that people here really like reading and empowering themselves with education.”

Gloria Pegram, a Grade 12 pupil in Jacobsdal, said it was very helpful for her to have a library near her home.

“My parents don’t really want me to walk on the streets where they don’t see me or know where I am so every time I said I was going to a library it was a problem for them knowing that the library was far from home,” she said.

“But now they no longer have the same problem and I can spend as much time in here as I want and go home when I am done.”

Letsemeng executive mayor Thandiwe Reachable visited the library last week and expressed her delight at the development.

“I am happy to be here again and see that our hard work as the municipality is not being wasted. This will play an important part in eradicating poverty,” Reachable said.

“Apart from schools, libraries are the most important facilities that we can provide for our children.

“We are also trying to empower the community, assist in educating and developing them, keeping the youth off the streets, decrease illiteracy and making the basic human right of freedom of access to information a reality.”