The Free State has 171 library facilities. Of these, 140 are fully fledged services while the rest consist of services at institutions like prisons and hospitals. These include the following;
- 18 in the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality
- 33 in the Fezile Dabi district
- 33 in the Lejweleputswa district with two under construction in the towns of Soutpan and Riebeeckstad
- 46 in the Thabo Mofutsanyane district with three under construction
- 27 in the Xhariep with three under construction in the towns of Jacobsdal, Luckhoff and Smithfield.
Toy libraries play an important role in the early childhood development of children. Educational toy library services have been established at various libraries and continue to be rolled out across the Province. As part of the programme, training on the effective use of educational toys is provided to caretakers of young children.
A re Ithute Reading Programme
This is one of the programmes to promote a culture of reading which is presented for communities in the libraries. The programme also improves children’s functional reading skills.
Library Reading Corners
Library Reading Corners are located within most libraries in the Province. The Reading Corners promote the culture of reading.
Library Week is celebrated during the last week March. During this week the range of services, programmes and projects available at libraries such as study facilities, Internet access, toy library services, story hours, social cohesion programs, are presented to communities. This initiative is geared towards making libraries centres of community life and development.
International Literacy Day
International Literacy Day is celebrated world-wide as part of efforts to promote the culture of reading and writing. The Department celebrates this day annually in all libraries.
World Book Day
Celebrated on the 23rd April of every year, World Book Day creates awareness on the importance of reading and writing.
Spelling BEE is a spelling competition. The programme is aimed at Grade 3 and 6 learners and is conducted at municipal and district level with the final provincial round in September during Literacy Month and National Book Week. As public libraries are custodians of literacy, the Department has embarked on a mission to motivate school-going children to become users of public libraries. Public libraries give them an opportunity to expand their knowledge through the use of printed and non-printed library materials. This activity is educational in nature and its purpose is to help students:
- improve their spelling;
- increase their vocabulary;
- learn concepts, and
- develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives, allowing them to gain valuable experience through the process of competition and evaluation.
It also aims to assist young people to develop their talents and have a platform to display their abilities. Learners can improve and develop the skills associated with good spelling habits.
Library Services for the Visually Impaired:
To improve access to library and information services, a service for the visually impaired has been established in some libraries and is continuously extended to. The service consists of the provision of audio-books and the digital readers to use these books as well as computers with special software for use by visually impaired persons.