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In a night of celebration and recognition, the City of Johannesburg’s Library and Information Services stood tall as its Mobi-Readathon programme clinched the prestigious Digital Innovation Award at the 2023 Sunday Times Top 100 Companies awards. The triumph was testament to its commitment to pushing the boundaries of digital innovation. The City’s libraries won under the Public Sector Category: Best in Society and Sustainability. It secured victory for its groundbreaking mobile eLearning platform, which is aimed at enhancing reading skills and literacy among high school pupils.

The Mobi-Readathon programme was chosen in the top three, beating the South African Revenue Service, which was acknowledged for its improved services with an auto-assessment for personal income tax, and eThekwini, which was recognised for creating a data hub for digitisation, automation, and data visualisation to enhance efficiencies and service delivery to citizens.

The programme emerged as a response to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which expedited the need for libraries and educational institutions to integrate technology into their learning and reading initiatives. Libraries, including the Joburg Public Library, had to swiftly adapt and repackage their services, leading to the introduction of Mobile Literacy.

Mobile literacy not only taught users how to effectively use smart devices for information/ book searches, writing, and navigating digital platforms but also brought a competitive edge through school competitions. 

​Selected stories were uploaded onto e-readers, and pupils used smartphones, tablets, or laptops to access and read recommended materials.

City of Johannesburg Libraries’ Jeff Nyoka, a key figure in steering the Mobi-Readathon programme, said: “This award is dedicated to all library staff who collaborated with schools and in different Mobi-Readathon competitions and the teachers and learners from various schools who participated in competitions.”

The Sunday Times Top 100 Companies awards, which included industry giants like Bidvest, Gold Fields, DRDGold, and Impala Platinum, underscored the City of Johannesburg’s commitment to serving its community, promoting lifelong learning, and embracing the digital transformation agenda set by the city.

“As technology continues to evolve, the City of Joburg Library and Information Services stands out as a beacon of excellence in the public digital innovation space. This accolade marks a significant milestone in the realm of transformed librarianship and heralds a new era of smart citizenry,” said Nobuntu Mpendulo, the Director Library and Information Services in the City.

“A special congratulations to LIS for its exceptional achievement. We express our pride in the department for its tireless work in ensuring that libraries serve as vital hubs for information and community enrichment. Let’s unite to support literacy and build a brighter future through the power of reading,” said Cllr Lubabalo Magwentshu, the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development in the City of Johannesburg.


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