Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Off to IFLA Conference: 19-23 August 2007, Durban, South Africa (part 7)

Three other colleagues and I made a trip down to the Durban City Public Library. It's located at the City Hall -- a building that's 140 years old if I remember my facts correctly. The building itself houses the Natural History museum and the Art museum.

The public library itself occupies one floor.

Collection in English, Afrikaans, and Zulu (South Africa has 9? 11 indegineous languages; Zulu was the predoniment predominant tribe in Durban).

durban city library - front

Their front desk, with Internet terminals at the side. Users have to book up to one-day in advanced, and limited to only one hour.
durban city library - main desk

They had a collection specifically for Mills and Boons novels.
durban city library - mills and boon

Here's their Afrikaan's Collection (i.e. fiction works written in Afrikaans)
durban city library - afrikaans

They used the DDC Classification System for Nonfiction works. Interestingly, they had a Four-letter Call Number system for Fiction (NLB libraries used the Three-letter Cutter system). I asked why it was four letters and was told that it's easier to locate items with four letters than three. Like in this picture, where CHIN and CHIP would show up as CHI under the Cutter system.
durban city library - call number

Their Adult Fiction section.
durban city library - fiction

I believe this was their circulation desk in this part of the library.
durban city library - inner section

Their music collection, with CDs and DVDs.
durban city library - music library

A book display.
durban city library - book display

The Children reading area (this was just one part of it):
durban city library - children section

When asked what would he consider as a major issue in running the library, the librarian said space management was constantly on their agenda. What was interesting was that they had something called "Dusty Books Weeding" held twice a year.

In library terminology, "weeding" was to remove "unwanted" books off the shelf -- usually outdated, less popular, and tattered ones. Their term "dusty books" was quite apt, i.e. books that had collected dust because they have not been read.

He asked if public libraries in Singapore was busy. I said most of our public libraries get roughly around 2,000 visitors a day and up to 5,000 visitors on weekends. He said he also served about the same number. That's quite a high usage for them.

This exit said: "Thank you for coming. Bring a friend or two next time".
durban city library - exit sign - english

And here's the Zulu translation.
durban city library - exit - zulu

[Reference: Part 6]

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