Residents of KwaDukuza on KwaZulu-Natal's north coast braved chilly weather to celebrate the official opening of their library.
The library was officially opened by the MEC for arts, culture and tourism Weziwe Thusi and KwaDukuza Mayor Sduduzo Gumede.
The state of the art structure has a seating capacity of 170 and an additional 40 stack chairs. It incorporates a function room which can also be used as a study area or a meeting venue. There are photocopying facilities, Internet café and a special library for distance learners.
Addressing hundreds of people who attended the ceremony, Thusi said libraries were important institutions in a democratic society because they bridged the information gap. She said her department has built more than 160 libraries in the province since 1994.
"This is a major achievement and we must celebrate. We must also celebrate the fact that we are closer to achieving my dream as MEC, of ensuring that each local municipality has its own library.
"There are only four municipalities without libraries presently. We are negotiating with two of them, Maphumulo and Umzumbe, with a view to starting construction. We will start negotiations with the Ntambanana and Vulamehlo municipalities as soon as possible," she said.
Thusi said libraries at Ezinqoleni, Malangeni, Umlalazi, Umhlabuyalingana and Hibiscus Coast are at different stages of planning and construction. She said R6million was invested in the KwaDukuza project.
"More than R2,5million was spent on books. This library incorporates a function room which can also be used as a study area or a meeting venue for members of the community.
"This facility belongs to the people of KwaDukuza. Please use it not only to enrich yourselves but also as a venue where you can discuss issues affecting your community," she urged the people.
Mandlakhe Mhlango said he was very happy that his children will now be able to walk a short distance to get to the library.
"I will also benefit. I used to wake up early to get newspapers and other reading matter but now I will just walk across to the library to feed my mind," he said.