Thanks to a fantastic donation of $25,000 from Patricia Blanchet of the Ed Bradley Family Foundation, matched by very generous ASAP private donors, we were able to install 24 cupboard libraries last year in 3 very rural and disadvantaged schools around Mt Frere, in the Eastern Cape, improving the lives of over 860 students.
Thanks to Pakama Ncume, who with her wide experience in school libraries, selected the books in line with the National curriculum. And coordinated by ASAP’s Maxine Begbie, each school received books from 8 national publishers, in Xhosa and English across all grades.
Due to limits in space, it was determined that the best possible solution was to establish individual classroom libraries, in lockable steel cabinets, suited to the specific age and grade of each class.
In November 2012, with the installation of the libraries,Pakama Ncume, organised a comprehensive series of three-day teacher/librarian workshops, for staff at each of the three schools. This created a platform for the teachers to get the best out of the libraries and promoted competent, confident teacher-librarians, to bring these books to life for the children, and to inspire a lifetime of reading.
The topics covered included – the definition and importance of libraries, the roles and responsibilities of teacher librarians, book classification, library activities, the role of learners, their families and communities and making sure the library is fully resourced. Everything, in fact, needed to maximise the power of the written word in helping to transform these young lives for the better. And throughout, the teachers showed great enthusiasm and understanding of what was discussed, and a training manual was provided for future reference.
Of course, ASAP is very excited by these developments, which would not have been possible without your generous support. It is a great day for literacy and we look forward to keeping you updated on the libraries, and to show you photos of them in action during the coming months. Plus, we have got more new libraries planned for this year, so watch this space!