What’s Behind the Door, Grahamstown?

By Shannon Wilson

Makana Library

Grey and rusty orange stones are layered on top of one another in an orderly pattern. Situated on Hill Street, the Makana Library is a rectangular and, looking at the exterior, uninviting building. However, once inside you travel to a world where books are treasure and time is endless. The books are faded; orange, blue and red colours blend. The wooden floorboards creak as you walk down the aisles. From magazines to ancient tomes, the Makana Library is ready to provide you with words galore.

Filled with natural light, the library is a great place to sit and read.

Filled with natural light, the library is a great place to sit and read.

The library was founded in 1841 and it was known as a subscription library. It was maintained by subscribers until 1956 when it was transferred to the Municipality of Grahamstown with over 40 000 books. It is now a public library within the provincial library service.

The books stacked near the window in the Makana Library.

The books stacked near the window in the Makana Library.

The library holds a kind of magic inside it. Most people in the 21st century use Kindles to buy books or belong to a book club. The library here was empty when I visited on three separate occasions; perhaps people no longer go to the library to get books. The books here still have an old musk smell when you flick through the pages. There are sometimes ‘dog ears’ in a book where a person before you flagged a page.

Long corridors in the library are lined with all kinds of old and new books.

Long corridors in the library are lined with all kinds of old and new books.

The Makana Library is a place to get lost in, where hours could go by and I wouldn’t even notice.

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