Joint statement by the City’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille,

Joint statement by the City’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de
Lille, and Mayoral Committee member for Community
Services, Alderman Belinda Walker
City libraries launch a first in Africa: mobile Encyclopaedia
Britannica access
The City’s Library and Information Services Department will spend
approximately R2 million on the renewal of the Encyclopaedia Britannica
online licence, which now also includes access to the service on all internetenabled mobile and smart devices. This will mean that all City library users
will have 24-hour remote access to the service. Read more below:
As a caring city, and one committed to redress, the City of Cape Town is
focused on bringing quality services to all residents. We also strive to provide
these services in the most innovative ways, embracing technology to help
create a more inclusive society.
This commitment is illustrated by the fact that the vast majority of new
projects in the Community Services Directorate are aimed at uplifting
previously disadvantaged areas.
In line with providing the best possible access to such resources, we are
pleased to announce that from this month, the City’s Library and Information
Services Department will spend approximately R2 million on the expansion of
the Encyclopaedia Britannica online licence, which will now include access
for registered library users to the service on all internet-enabled mobile and
smart phone devices.
Previously, library users would access the Britannica sources by physically
visiting the library where they needed the assistance of a librarian to find the
relevant journals. These sources were moved online, making all of the
Britannica resources available on the computers at the library. Through the
Smart Cape initiative, which provides free internet access to all library users,
members of City libraries were previously able to access this resource for a
maximum of 45 minutes, only during the operating times of the library.
The new licence we have acquired ensures unlimited access to the service
from any internet-enabled phone or other device for registered library users.
This means that children and students will have access to factually sound
information, updated on a regular basis, which will be available to them at
any time of day at their leisure. This remote access will enable all library
members to continue their homework or research from any location.
The Britannica service is also designed to enable residents of all ages to find
content for their preference and at their reading and educational
level. Content on the site is tailored according to the educational level of the
user. For younger users, information is provided in concise and simpler
language, while more extensive and in-depth information is provided to
older students. The service also supports those for whom English is an
additional language by providing content to suit different reading ability
The Britannica service also functions as an online guide by recommending
and endorsing 129 000 of the web’s best sites related to search topics. As the
internet expands exponentially at a daily rate, so too does the need for
guidance on which information is reliable. With constraints on the amount of
time teachers and parents have to assist children, this service licensed by the
City can assist in providing the necessary educational guidance in the safety
of their own homes.
All that is needed to access the service is a library card number. It is available
24 hours a day, seven days a week. This will mean that anyone in Cape Town
can have access to this trusted reference work at any time, in the following
In the library
On their own computers
On their internet-enabled mobile phones or tablet devices.
This service is another effort by the City to provide digital access to
educational and other resources. Research shows that the mobile phone
adoption rate is more than 90% in South Africa, with 43% of mobile owners
using their phones to access the internet. Residents only have to access the
City of Cape Town Library Information Services page and log onto the
Encyclopaedia Britannica online to gain full access to all that the service has
to offer.
The City of Cape Town spends R420 million per year on Library and
Information Services, providing an essential resource to the residents of the
city – especially those in disadvantaged areas and the 1,5 million youth of
the city. We are confident that this continued investment will make a real
and lasting difference in the lives of residents.
This focused approach has resulted in the City having more libraries than any
other metro in South Africa. The City services 100 libraries in addition to three
mobile libraries, which share a stock of over 4 million items for the 700 000
library users in the city.
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