Waiting for the news

Members of the community waiting for newspapers.

A long queue of mostly elderly residents greets library users every morning as they wait for the library to open so they can get access to the newspapers provided.

64-year-old, Phillip Mashilwane a resident who wakes up every day for the paper said, “We wake up every morning to get the paper, come rain or sunshine we have to wait until 9am for the library to open before we get the paper.

Nobody explained it to us, we get given the paper for free, and we don’t understand why we must wait for the library to open for us to get it.”

Chiawelo clinic also provides these newspapers for free for residents, but for some, the Tshiawelo Library becomes a closer point of access, especially for the elderly.

“This is protocol from head office its standard for all libraries in Soweto.

This system started around April/May and because we realised that people wake up so early and most of them are old we used to leave them in the main hall.

We noticed however that residents would take more than one copy of the paper, meaning some people wouldn’t get the opportunity to get it as well,” said Joe Lesito, a librarian.

Lesito said the copies were moved inside of the library as a measure of control, because only 100 copies are donated to the library and are initially allocated for library users.

“The people that come for the paper don’t use the library at all so we need to make sure that they get copies, but we also have enough copies for our library users.

We make them sign for them, as proof that each resident only received one copy, so if there’s ever trouble we have data to show and it’s also a measure of control.”

Sphindile Mbatha

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