n Mousaion - Impact of the 2009 economic recession on public / community library services in South Africa : perceptions of librarians from the Metropolitan Municipality of Tshwane




The South African recession started officially in May 2009 (Statistics SA 2009). This recessionary environment spelt a bleak period for a country that already has socioeconomic problems such as poverty and high unemployment. This paper explores the impact of the 2009 recession on public and /or community libraries in South Africa. Eight provincial library directors and twenty nine librarians or library assistants from the Metropolitan Municipality of Tshwane participated in this study. Findings suggest that the impact of the latest recession on libraries in South Africa has been moderate. This fact is tremendously attributed to the provision of a conditional grant by the National Department of Arts and Culture for the period of 2007 till 2013. In spite of this fact libraries still face budget related challenges. The Tshwane librarians perceived that libraries are essential during an economic downturn as reflected in the rise in library use, increase in circulation of library materials, greater need for photocopying services and users needing more assistance with computer use. Though faced with fiscal challenges, library managers are encouraged to be creative and innovative to ensure that library services are not compromised.


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