Bloemfontein’s reading community is growing



Bloemfontein’s public libraries observe South African Library Week by acknowledging the city’s ever growing reading community. While research suggests that the reading community in South Africa is dwindling, Bloemfontein is experiencing the opposite.

This is according to Renett Bam, a coordinator of community and public libraries in Bloemfontein.

“In January and February last year, book circulation at the Bainsvlei Library in Langenhoven Park was 24293. This year it’s 25539. This indicates the amount of reading that’s done in the city. We encourage children to do storytelling and book reports to improve reading and literacy. We also give block loans to schools that don’t have media centres,” she said.

According to Segamesti Molawa, president of the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA), South Africa is one of the most illiterate countries in the world. “We are a non-reading nation compared to other countries. We’re a very creative country, but we lack the necessary information to market our businesses and talents,” Molawa said.

While institutions such as libraries and schools play a significant role in cultivating the love of reading in children, parents’ roles are equally significant. According to, the right age to introduce a child to reading is when a woman is still pregnant.

“Reading to unborn babies helps with their brain development and to easily recognise voices once they are born. It also creates a much stronger bond between the mother and the baby.

Studies suggest that reading books has a number of benefits. has listed the top ten benefits of reading:
1. Develops better verbal abilities
2. Enhances concentration
3. Broadens imagination
4. Improves memory
5. Makes you discover yourself
6. Makes you smarter
7. Makes you sound interesting and attractive
8. Improves the world
9. Reduces stress
10. Provides entertainment
The theme for South African Library week this year is “connect@yourlibrary”. The campaign will run until 21 March.

Below are more pictures of the Bainsvlei library pictures.