On Saturday, 26 October 2013, the City of Cape Town will celebrate the history of the Elsies River Library
and the role it has played in the life of the community for the past 50 years. The event will take place at 14:00 at the Elsies River Centre, Halt Road, Elsies River.
The chair of the Community Services Portfolio Committee, Councillor Antonio van der Rheede, and Ward Councillor, Chris Jordaan, will lead the event.
Elsies River Library has been in operation since 25 October 1963 and was the only library in the area for 20 years (until the establishment of Leonsdale Library in 1983 and later, the Adriaanse Library). In 1963, the population of Elsies River amounted to 83 000 and the library had a membership of 20 000.
The library was at the centre of the Struggle in the 1970s and 80s and served as an official meeting place for students. There were times when staff and patrons were subjected to teargas and riot police beatings, but staff never allowed this to drive a separation between themselves and the community. For many, the library was and still is a second home.
For over 30 years, the library was only 352 m² in size, which was inadequate for the needs of the community. More recently, in keeping with our broader focus on redress, the Elsies River Library received an investment of R800 000 and was upgraded and extended extensively.