Public Library Services

Public libraries are considered fundamental to the development and upliftment of communities. Access to libraries creates and sustains a reading culture. The value of libraries in terms of support of literacy, education, and the principle of lifelong learning forms an integral part of our modern democracy. To ensure the provision of these services, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Service is committed to improving public library access in all communities, developing and sustaining a culture of reading and the provision of access to information for all.


The Department of Arts and Culture Library Services provides services and support to affiliated public libraries throughout the province of KwaZulu- Natal. This affiliation forms the basis of cooperative partnership between provincial and local government, each contributing to providing library services to communities so that the information and recreational needs of all people are catered for. The service consists of a central organization based at the Head Office in Pietermaritzburg and cascaded to the Regional Library Depots in Northern, Western, Southern, and Eastern regions of the province.


Centralised support services

  • Acquisition Section

Regular exhibitions of new material submitted by registered suppliers are held and selection undertaken by the Selection Committee with representatives from all Regional Library depots and input by public librarians.  General reading material for all ages and literacy levels, reference works, books which support school curriculum and tertiary education textbooks for distance learners form part of the needs which must be addressed. Large Print books, toys, audio books and other audio visual media are also selected in quantities.  The Section also administers serial and magazine subscriptions for all affiliated public libraries.


  • Cataloguing Section

All library material is catalogued according to international bibliographic standards on the automated library catalogue SLIMS [Sita Library and Information Management System]. Holdings of all provincial non-fiction works are made available on the OCLC international database in partnership with Sabinet Online, the national South African Bibliographic network to which the Department subscribes.


  • Central Reference Services

Situated at the Head office in Pietermaritzburg this extensive collection of over 250 000 titles is made available to library users throughout the province via a free postal special or subject request service. This ensures that library users are not limited only to the resources in their local library collection and allows for equitable access to all books and information regardless of size or location of services. The Central Reference Service also coordinates national and international inter-lending services for all library users.


  • Computer Section

This section coordinates the SLIMS automated library system for the directorate and public libraries linked throughout the province.  By the end of 2014 all public libraries will be fully automated and membership and circulation managed on the system. Library members are able to view and manage their library loans via the internet and search their local and provincial library catalogue for the availability of over 4 million resources. The Computer Section also manages the Free Public Internet Access projects in libraries, providing ICT equipment, connectivity and training to public libraries.


  • Preparation Section

This section prepares purchased books and other resources for library usage, including book covering, labelling and barcoding of all items.  From 2014 all books will be tagged with RFID [Radio Frequency Identification] for ease of control of assets. When processed books are issued to public libraries they are also tagged with security tags to prevent theft.

  • Promotions Section

The aim of this section is to promote a culture of reading and the usage of public libraries. Promotional material such as library bags, bookmarks, posters and displays are created and produced by the art section. A quarterly newsletter, The KZN Librarian, is produced by the in-house editor and serves as a training and communication tool between the service and the libraries it serves. The Section also conducts special projects such as reading and art competitions, ideas and supplies to public libraries for holiday programmes such as colouring-in posters, paints and brushes and storytelling projects.


Regional Library Depot Services

There are five Regional Library Depots based in Pinetown (Northern), Pietermaritzburg (Southern), Dundee (Western), Pinetown (Eastern) and Mbazwane (Northern Zululand).


  • Professional support and training

Regional Depot librarians train public librarians in provincial library guidelines and assist with professional support and guidance on an on-going basis.


  • Provision of library material for users

Public librarians throughout the province visit the Regional Depots on a regular scheduled basis to return their selection of no longer required stock and exchange it for new material. In this way the collections in libraries are constantly re-vitalised and the physical condition of material in libraries is kept at a high standard. Library material in good condition is also recycled between libraries and allows for a higher variety of titles to be purchased which is cost-effective.


  • Implementation of library service standards

Regional Depot librarians regularly visit the public libraries they serve to ensure set norms and standards for service are maintained.


  • Monitoring of collection development in libraries

Collections and their usage in public libraries are regularly inspected to provide feedback in terms of acquisition needs, to monitor trends and to ensure balanced collections are provided for all types of needs.


  • Interest Groups Forums

Throughout the year regular Interest Group Forums are held between the Regional Depots and the public librarians they serve. These forums ensure constant communication with stakeholders and are a means to impart new developments, solve common problems and for librarians to share not only challenges but innovative ideas.

Cost effectiveness and efficiency are central goals in the delivery of services to affiliated libraries.


Services offered to Affiliated Public Libraries

Services provided to libraries include library material in all formats (books, music, audio books, DVDs, videos, posters, gaming, toys and magazines), ICT and Information services and promotional items and projects.


Free public internet access is available in most libraries, funded and installed by the Directorate.  The Department also funds the employment of “cybercadets” (library computer assistants) to develop ICT skills in computer users and to manage the internet facilities in libraries.


Toys are made available in many affiliated libraries as a contribution by the Department to Early Childhood Development and to nurture future library users in KwaZulu- Natal. As part of an inter-departmental initiative, tubs of toys are also provided directly to ECD centres in disadvantaged communities.


Gaming facilities have recently been introduced into community libraries, mainly targeting the youth. This is part of the Department’s aim to address social ills and provide facilities for the   constructive use of leisure time among young people in the safe and stimulating environment of the library.

Mobile library units [MLU’s] are provided to rural areas where there is an urgent need to access resources prior to the establishment of a formal library structure. These MLUs are manned by a volunteer funded by the Department, responsible for assisting community members. Each MLU site consists of 2 book trolleys holding over 1000 books.  MLUs are linked to local libraries where they can refresh their stock.


“Mini libraries for the Blind” is another initiative which has been introduced in allocated areas in several community libraries. This project is aimed at assisting the visually impaired citizens of KZN.  Libraries are provided with computers, document readers, JAWS software, head sets and other equipment to facilitate access to information. This service is provided in collaboration with the South African Library for the Blind.


In promoting the culture of reading and supporting initiatives by the Department in communities each Regional Library Depot operates a mobile library truck service. These trucks carry a collection of books, CDs, DVDs and Toys. Services that are available include photocopying facilities, printing and access to the internet and DVD shows through built in television screens.


Library Infrastructure Programme

Since 1994 the Department has constructed over 60 public libraries and renovated and extended many more. The full cost of construction, furniture and equipment is funded by the Department and through a Conditional grant for Community Libraries provided by the National Treasury.


All new libraries are of a high quality design with attractive interiors including group activity rooms, seminar and study facilities, children’s sections, internet cafes and comfortable reading areas. New libraries built in Pietermaritzburg, Mbazwana and the soon to be erected Imbali  contain auditoriums seating 60 people.  10 new libraries are currently at various stages of construction or design with renovations and extensions to 4 others.  The Department is also providing subsidy funding to the new state-of-the-art library planned to be built in the city of Durban by 2017.


The service consists of the central organization based in Pietermaritzburg housing the Central Reference and Audio Visual Libraries, and four regional depots, Northern, Midlands, Coast, and South Coast Depots. Regional Depots now fall under the Departmental regions as follows:

Northern Depot is now Western Region Library Depot

Midlands Depot is now Southern Region Library Depot

Coastal Depot is now Northern Region Library Depot

South Coast Depot is now Eastern Region Library Depot

There are approximately 170 public libraries affiliated to the service:


Coastal Depot Region:

Bhamshela Mobile

Binding Coastal Region

Canelands Public Library

Cato Ridge Public Library

Clermont Public Library

Coast Special Collection

Dassenhoek Public Library

Future Lib Coast

Hambanati Public Library

Hammarsdale Public Library

Hillcrest Public Library

Klaarwater Public Library

Kloof Public Library

KwaDabeka Public Library

KwaMbonambi Public Library

KwaDukuza Library Service

Kwadukuza Public Library

Ballito Public Library

Darnall Public Library

Nonoti Public Library

Shakaskraal Public Library

Stanger Manor Public Library

Umhlali Beach Public Library

La Lucia Public Library

Mandeni Library Service

Mandeni Library Service

Mandeni Public Library

Ndulinde Public Library

Sundumbili Public Library

Maphumulo Public Library

Mariannridge Public Library

Melmoth Public Library

Motala Heights Public Library

Mount Edgecombe Public Library

Mpola Public Library

Mpumalanga Public Library

Ndwedwe Public Library

New Germany Public Library

Nirvana Hills Public Library

Ntambanana Public Library

Luwamba Mobile Library Unit

Pinetown Public Library

Reservoir Hills Public Library

Richards Bay Public Library

Brackenham Public Library

Empangeni Public Library

Enseleni Public Library

Esikhaleni Public Library

Felixtion Public Library

Ngwelezane Public Library

St Wendelins Public Library

Thornwood Public Library

Tongaat Beach Public Library

Tongaat Central Public Library

Tongaat South Public Library

Trenance Park Public Library

Tshelimnyama Public Library

Umdloti Beach Public Library

Umhlanga Rocks Public Library

Umlalazi Library Service

Eshowe Public Library

Gingindlovu Public Library

King Dinuzulu Public Library

Mbongolwane Mobile Library Unit

Mtunzini Public Library

Sunnydale Public Library

Verulam Public Library

Waterfall Public Library

Wyebank Public Library


Midlands Depot Region

Adlt Lending

Binding Midlands Region

Camperdown Public Library

Imbo Mobile Library Unit

Child Library

Eston Lib Depot

Future Lib Midlands

Greytown Cld Library

Greytown Ref Library

Imbabazane Public Library

Loskop Public Library

Impendle Public Library

Ingwe Library Service

Bulwer Public Library

Creighton Public Library

Ezidweni Hall

Ixopo Public Library

Highflats Mobile Library Unit

Jagersrus Public Library

Kokstad Library Service

Kokstad Public Library

Bhongweni Public Library

Mid Special Collection

Mobile Service

Mpfoana Library Service

Bruntville Public Library

Mooi Rivier Public Library

Msunduzi Library Service

Msunduzi Public Library

Alexander Road Public Library

Ashburton Public Library

Eastwood Public Library

Elandskop Mobile Library Unit

Georgetown Public Library

Northdale Public Library

Slangspruit Mobile Library Unit

Sobantu Public Library

Woodlands Public Library

Music Library

Okhahlamba Library Service

Bergville Public Library

Impumelelo Craft Center Mobile

Winterton Public Library

Project Library

Reference Library

Richmond Library Service

Hopewell Public Library

Inhlazuka Public Library

Richmond Public Library

Umngeni Library Service

Hilton Public Library

Howick Public Library

Howick West Public Library

Mpophomeni Public Library

Nottingham Road Public Library

Umshwati Library Service

Dalton Public Library

New Hanover Public Library

Wartburg Public Library

Umtshezi Service Library

Estcourt Public Library

Forderville Public Library

Weenen Public Library

Wembezi Public Library

Umvoti Library Service

Umvoti Public Library

Greytown Public Library

Ishane Mobile Library Unit

Kranskop Public Library

Umzimkhulu Public Library

Mountain Hall Mobile

Mthetheleli Hall Mobile

Underberg Public Library


Northern Depot Region

Abaqulusi Service Library

Bhekuzulu Public Library

Emondlo Public Library

Louwsburg Public Library

Vryheid Public Library

Dannhauser Public Library

Ekuvukeni Public Library

Emnambithi Library Service

Agra Crescent Public Library

Colenso Public Library

Ezakheni Public Library

Ladysmith Public Library

St Chads Mobile Library Unit

Steadville Public Library

Endumeni Library Service

Dundee Public Library

Glencoe Public Library

Sibongile Public Library

Wasbank Public Library

KwaNondayane Mobile

Msinga Public Library

Msinga Top Mobile

Newcastle Library Service

Newcastle Public Library

Fairleigh Public Library

Ingagane Public Library

Lennoxton Public Library

Madadeni Public Library

Osizweni Public Library

Nkandla Public Library

Nkungumathe Public Library

Qhudeni Public Library

Nongoma Public Library

Nor Special Collection

Nquthu Library Service

Nquthu Public Library

Isandlwana Mobile Library Unit

Mhlungwana Mobile Library Unit

Nondweni Public Library

Pongola Public Library

Belgrade Mobile Library Unit

Ncotshane Public Library

Ulundi Library Service

Ulundi Public Library

Nondayane Mobile Library Unit

Utrecht Public Library

eDumbe Public Library

eDumbe Public Library

Pulpietersburg Public Library

Tholakele Mobile Library Unit

Reference Library


South Coast Region

Adams Mission Public Library

Amanzimtoti Public Library

Athlone Park Public Library

Craigieburn Public Library

Ezinqoleni Public Library

Flame Lily Park Public Library

Future Lib South Coast

Harding Public Library

Hibiscus Library Service

Albersville Public Library

Braemar Public Library

Gamalakhe Public Library

Gcilima Public Library

Hibberdene Public Library

KwaMadlala Public Library

KwaNdwalane Public Library

Magog Public Library

Marburg Public Library

Margate Public Library

Maveshe Public Library

Merlewood Public Library

Port Edward Public Library

Port Shepstone Public Library

Southport Public Library

Umtentweni Public Library

Uvongo Public Library

Isipingo Beach Public Library

Isipingo Civic Public Library

Kingsburg Public Library

Kwamakutha Public Library

Malvern Public Library

Shallcross Public Library

South Coast Special Collection

Umdoni Library Service

Ifafa Beach Public Library

Malangeni Public Library

Park Rynie Public Library

Pennington Public Library

Scottburgh Public Library

Sezela Public Library

Shayamoya Public Library

Umzinto Public Library

Umkomaas Public Library

Village of Happiness Public Library

Westville North Public Library

Westville Public Library


Zululand Depot Region   (formerly known as Mbazwana Depot)

Hlabisa Public Library

Hlabisa Mobile Library Unit

Hluhluwe Public Library

Jozini Public Library

Ndumo Public Library

Manyiseni Public Library

Ingwavuma Public Library

Mtubatuba Public Library

KwaMsane Public Library

St Lucia Public Library

Umhlabuyalingana Library Service

Manguzi Public Library

Mbazwana Public Library

Mseleni Public Library


Public Library Services

230 Prince Alfred Street



Tel 033 341 3000

Fax 033 341 3085