The role of the public library in realizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): A case study of Groenheuwel Public Library
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is a tool through which the present government in South Africa wants to implement transformation in regard with raising the standard of living of the people in all spheres of life. Libraries are often seen as important agencies for information dissemination and other services. Public libraries have a vital role to play in the achievement of the MDGs. Stakeholders all over the spectrum need to collaborate with libraries to achieve these goals by 2015. The study investigated the role of the public library in realising some of the MDGs by means of a case study of Groenheuwel Public Library. The aim of this case study was to determine how this public library contributes to the development of Groenheuwel. Empirical research techniques were used to determine whether public libraries contribute to the well-being of the community of Groenheuwel and to the achievement of certain targets for the Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provide a framework for libraries and information services to develop and align their strategies and access their contribution towards their countries (Kaniki, 2008:16). The methodology applied was a quantitative questionnaire which included open-ended questions, which explored the role of the public library in the respondents' lives. The study made use of random sampling; the population of the study was adult library users. Every third library user was asked to complete a questionnaire over a period of two weeks. The data collected, informed the researcher what the purpose of the adult users' visit to the library was and whether the library addresses MDGs directly or indirectly. The findings should provide empirical evidence of the impact of public libraries, with reference to Groenheuwel public library, in addressing some of the Millennium Development Goals. The researcher hopes that this study will convince local government and decision makers to expand the library to a bigger library, to render an effective and efficient library service with added staff members and that the community find the library valuable and vital for their information needs.