Statement by the City’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille Improved library services to bring great benefit to learners and residents Note to editors: the following speech was delivered by the City’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, at the official opening of the relocated and improved Crossroads Library. Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Special Projects, Alderman Belinda Walker Councillors Representatives and board members of Philippi Village Members of the media Good morning, goeie môre, molweni, as-salaam alaikum, shalom. Today we are extremely proud to open the Crossroads Library in the new Philippi Village development which will provide residents and especially learners with greater access to improved services and resources. As part of the City of Cape Town’s commitment to building an opportunity, caring and inclusive city, the Crossroads Library has been relocated to this new space which is bigger and more modern, with additional study space, Smart Cape and Wi-Fi facilities and training rooms. We are very excited about the new location as it ties in with the City’s strategic objective to build an opportunity city which encourages meaningful public-private partnerships and creates the enabling conditions for economic development and job creation. An old cement factory has been transformed into a dynamic multi-million rand integrated development funded by the Bertha Foundation. The Philippi Village Business Hub brings business support services closer to this community, with services such as training in entrepreneurial skills. I would like to thank the Bertha Foundation and the Philippi Village board and executive for their vision and extending their hand to accommodate the City’s library in this wonderful new space. The City was given an opportunity to relocate the Crossroads Library to the new Philippi Village hub which presents us with the ideal environment for services and resources that will give residents and learners from the surrounding area access to crucial learning services and materials. The City’s Library and Information Services Department was offered subsidised rental as the Philippi Village executive saw the library as the perfect anchor tenant as part of their social objective to provide residents with the training and resources needed to enter the job market. The Philippi Village hub provides a much-needed range of services in this community which speaks to the City’s goals to create inclusive, mixed-use spaces and facilities that provide our residents with access to opportunities such as educational, business and skills support services. We are also grateful to the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport for their contribution of additional funding for the City’s subsidised rental at the Philippi Village hub. The relocation provides a safer and more attractive environment for library users – a further testament to the City’s commitment to building an inclusive and caring city. The move will also encourage greater use of the library, and the library services offered will be enhanced by the collection of skills and business development-focused activities within the Philippi Village hub. Since 2011, City libraries have been under threat from burglaries, vandalism and armed robberies. Security concerns have resulted in libraries becoming inaccessible. We simply cannot allow vital education services to be withheld from residents because of criminal activity. The relocation of the library will alleviate safety concerns, with improved measures such as 24-hour security and strict access control. The new site for the library is also approximately 350 metres from the old site so all existing library users will still be able to access the new facility easily. We are confident that the community will welcome the bigger and improved facility, which is now in a safer environment. As we celebrate the opening of this wonderful facility to the community, I am delighted to make a donation of books today to the library. I am donating these books as part of Biblionef’s 1 Million Books campaign which aims to encourage a love of reading by donating one million South African storybooks to school children by the end of 2016. I would like to encourage children and young people to read as much as they can as this will set a firm foundation for their education. We can never underestimate the importance of reading and education. To quote our dear former president, Nelson Mandela, who said: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. May our children visiting this library use these books to start their journey of learning and building a successful future. In closing, I would like to appeal to the community, residents and community leaders to take care of this facility, look after it, and make optimal use of it by encouraging young children to read and use all of the educational materials and services available to them free of charge. It is only through a combined effort and shared responsibility that we will continue to make progress possible, together.