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By Itumeleng Mafisa

Digital Journalist

No major problems with Johannesburg City Library closed since Covid, says JHF

The library in the middle of the Joburg CBD remains a white elephant.

The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation (JHF) has appealed to the City of Joburg to reopen the Johannesburg City Library which has been closed since the Covid period.

According to the JHF, the library, located on Albertina Sisulu Road and Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Street, is a historic building in the Johannesburg CBD.

The art collection in it is said to be priceless. The library contains maps, private papers, books, pamphlets and photographs as well as collections of African languages, literature and ethnology and the history of the Witwatersrand, gold mining and Johannesburg.

ALSO READ: Cadres can’t fix Johannesburg’s central library

Appeal to save the Joburg Central Library

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) closed down the 89-year-old library in May 2021 after structural issues were raised by a preliminary status report.

But the JHF said it went to inspect the library, recently, with experts and believes that there is nothing immediately life threatening about the library.

This is what JHF spokesperson David Fleminger said: “The most urgent task, in our initial opinion, is to complete and commission the gas-driven fire prevention system. Certain doors also need to be fire-proofed. This should take three months to complete, after which the entire building can be safely opened up.”

Fleminger said during the inspection, a number of problems were noted including water leaks and damage to the roof of the building.

“The redesign of the roof and repair of the waterproofing by a competent contractor must also be undertaken, but this can be done after ensuring the building is safe from fire. Work on the roof would not prevent the public from safely accessing the library,” Fleminger said.

A building with Joburg’s history

Meanwhile, Fleminger reiterated the importance of the Johannesburg City Library to the history and heritage of Johannesburg and Gauteng.

ALSO READ:R23 million Joburg library still closed after three years

“In short, the JHF would like to reiterate that the Johannesburg City Library is a wonderful building, packed with important resources. It’s high time to get the building re-opened to the public so that: students can access the 140 computer workstations with free Wi-Fi and people can start borrowing books again,” he said.

The Citizen reached out to the JDA but no comment had been received at the time of publication.

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books history Johannesburg CBD (Joburg)