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SALW 2014
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Celebrating Libraries in 20 Years of Democracy: Check in @ your Library


17 March 2014 - 23 March 2014

National Launch

About the Theme

In 2014 South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy and this theme serves as an opportunity to focus attention on:

  • Celebrating the role of libraries in strengthening South African democracy
  • Highlighting how libraries are making the right to freedom of access to information, as enshrined in the Bill of Rights, a reality
  • Enhancing nation building and community development by opening the doors of learning to all
  • Showcasing libraries as desired spaces for:
    • connecting people to each other, learning resources, communities, government, the world and the environment
    • advancing literacy through the intellectual and aesthetic development of all ages
    • providing access to global knowledge and information in different formats to advance research and create new knowledge
    • fostering a spirit of enquiry and desire for lifelong learning
    • challenging one’s own beliefs and inculcating a respect for diverse beliefs, opinions and views all
    • contributing towards the development of an informed nation, and South Africa becoming an information society

This theme also speaks to Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube, which are widely used by libraries globally for marketing, communication with various user groups and outreach. South African libraries are no different! The theme provides us with an opportunity to reach out to those who are unaware of how libraries have embraced technology to enhance access and learning. So, to the “Born Frees,” born in 1994 and voting for the first time in the 2014 national elections, and all those who belong to Generation C (connected digital natives & techno-savvy), it is definitely cool to check in @ your library!

Furthermore, the “Librarians' Choice of Top 20 South African Books” will be launched during this Week. In celebrating this theme, library workers across South Africa have been requested to identify the top twenty South African books published during these 20 years that reflect South African life by South Africans; focus on issues of democracy or contribute to the consolidation of our democracy; that examine who we are and where we are heading as a nation. The nominations are open to all genres, all types of literature from fiction to non-fiction, adult and even children’s books. It must be written by a South African author in one of our official languages and must be published for the first time between 1994 and 2014. The Librarian’s Choice should be available to all when they “check in” at their libraries!

Librarians Choice: Top 20 titles, 1994-2014

LIASA is proud to announce the following titles as the Librarians Choice: Top 20 titles, 1994-2014 (in chronological order):

  • Long walk to freedom by Nelson Mandela, published by Macdonald Purnell, 1994
  • Country of my Skull by Antje Krog, published by Random House, 1998
  • I have life: Alison’s story by Marianne Thamm, published by Penguin, 1998
  • Disgrace by J M Coetzee, published by Vintage, 1999
  • Jamela’s Dress by Niki Daly, published by Tafelberg, 1999
  • Heart of Redness by Zakes Mda, published by OUP, 2002
  • Madonna of Excelsior by Zakes Mda, published OUP, 2002
  • Confessions of a gambler by Rayda Jacobs, published by Kwela Books, 2003
  • Dis ek, Anna by Elbie Lotter, published by Tafelberg, 2004
  • Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk, published by Tafelberg, 2004
  • Shirley, goodness and mercy by Chris van Wyk, published by Picador Africa, 2004
  • Spud by John van de Ruit, published by Penguin, 2005
  • Thabo Mbeki: the dream deferred by Mark Gevisser, published by Jonathan Ball Publishers, 2007
  • Anderkant Pontenilo by Irma Joubert, published by Tafelberg, 2008
  • 13 uur by Deon Meyer, published by Human & Rousseau, 2008
  • Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony, published by Sidgwick & Jackson, 2009
  • Thula Thula by Annelie Botes, published by Tafelberg, 2009
  • My father, my monster by McIntosh Polela, published by Jacana, 2011
  • 8 Days in September by Frank Chikane, published by Picador Africa, 2013
  • Endings & beginnings: a story of healing by Redi Thlabi, published by Jacana, 2013


Media Clips


From Zakes Mda:

"I am both grateful and honored for the singular "prize" of having two of my novels on the list. What makes this honor greater than the many prizes that I have received in my writing life is that this is the choice of the Librarians of South Africa, people who have their ear to the ground as to what South Africans are reading. Most of the lists that I have seen are compiled by some "literary expert" from the academy or from the book reviewing community. This honor is bestowed upon me by the readers of South Africa as represented by the Librarians. I cannot thank LIASA enough and of course I will treasure this for the rest of my days."

From Redi Thlabi:

''I am delighted to be nominated for a book that deals with themes that are very close to my heart: sexual violence, childhood development, investing in young people and using our families as building blocks for a healthy and thriving society. As a society we need to constantly be reminded of what is at stake if we do not cultivate a culture of reading. Reading opens our minds to new experience, it teaches us look beyond our own comfort zones and consider our realities. Books challenge us to broaden our horizon and imagine a different world. A world that is within reach if we only make the effort and invest wisely in our lives. This event is the perfect opportunity and reminder for all of us that bridges can be built through books. The first step is to take an active interest in exposing children, ours and those in our community to books. They can only do so if they are provided with the written word. So donate books, dedicate your time to your local library and most importantly, encourage children to write their stories . I have no doubt that it will encourage them to be conscious of both the salient and the simple moments in their lives, it will sharpen their intellect and make them sponges of information. It will teach them to be bold and share their experiences with the world and create in them a hunger to learn. Books have shaped my life - I cannot remember a time when I was not reading and as a little girl, my nose was already buried in a book. This has set me on an exciting path of discovery, growth and learning."

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