Why do we celebrate library week?

With the increasingly accessible online information our cell phones open us to, even those without a desktop computer are able to find out all they need to and more. For this reason, local libraries are visited less and less.

This week many libraries all over the country will be celebrating South African Library Week (SALW).

The customary celebration of library week exists in many countries. This week is to be celebrated during the week of 20 March – in this year’s case, from the 18 to 26 March. Library and Information Association South Africa (LIASA) was formed in 1997 as the need to unify an historically-divided library profession arose.

From 2003, LIASA spearheaded a campaign to ensure that a national library week was observed by the entire library and information services (LIS) sector as an opportunity to raise the profile of libraries in South Africa, especially among previously disadvantaged communities.

This week many libraries all over the country will be celebrating South African Library Week (SALW)

This campaign has now resulted in South African Library Week (SALW) being recognised by government as a commemorative period on par with Water Week and so on, when all types of libraries across the country use it as an opportunity to market their services to their users, the broader community, civil society and decision makers. It is hoped that these efforts will contribute to the understanding of the important role that libraries play in a democratic society, advancing literacy, making the basic human right of freedom of access to information a reality, and inculcating tolerance and respect among all South Africans.

During this period LIASA aims to make all South Africans aware that libraries contribute to the building of a nation and improve the quality of life of all who use them.

With the increasingly accessible online information our cell phones open us to, even those without a desktop computer are able to find out all they need to and more. For this reason, local libraries are visited less and less.

 

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Holly Konig
Journalist

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