Cape Town City Libraries: 1952-1972
The purpose of the study is to investigate the history and development of the Cape Town City Libraries (CTCL) from 1952-1972 and examine the effect of apartheid legislation on establishing a public library system. The study looks at one library service, how it was established, how it adapted to the political and social forces of the time and the services it delivered. Data was sourced from the surviving CTCL archives, interviewing people who worked for CTCL and researching relevant material in the National Library and Archives. Public libraries have aims and functions which are underpinned by a philosophy of free and equal access to all and access to knowledge and books. IFLA defines a public library as an organization that: provides access to knowledge, information and works of imagination through a range of resources and services and is equally available to all members of the community regardless of race, nationality, age, gender, religion, language… (Koontz & Gubbins, 2010). Legislation introduced by the National Party enforced segregation and controlled access to knowledge and books which brought CTCL into conflict with library philosophy. This legislation determined who the CTCL could serve, where they could serve them and what they could serve them. The findings show that CTCL extended the library service to more people and increased the number of facilities, membership and circulation but in a segregated manner. Censorship legislation affected library stock but also induced self-censorship amongst librarians further restricting what was available to patrons. Staff were treated differently because of their racial group
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