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 levels. 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 ways: 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.