Zerilda Park Primary opens new library in collaborated effort led by Learning in Reach
Yesterday afternoon, on a hot, blustery day in Lavender Hill, Cape Town, Zerilda Park Primary opened its bright and spacious new library, complete with beanbags, computers and more than 4000 quality children’s books for the school’s 1300 learners.
This library was a collaboration between Learning In Reach, School Aid UK and The Bookery, with additional support from Rotary Club of Cape Town.
Learning in Reach, an NPO that works with the Lavender Hill community on education and empowerment projects, led the collaboration and managed the installation of the library, involving parents at the school and local entrepreneurs.
School Aid UK provided the library set-up costs and, with its UK publishing partner Usborne Books at Home and School, donated the majority of the pristine children’s books. The Bookery team and volunteers then sorted, classified, catalogued and covered them into a library collection.
School Aid and Zerilda Park Primary are together funding the stipend of new library assistant, Ms Pouchea Hector, in our model of gradually increasing school contribution and reducing partner support.
The opening ceremony had all Zerilda Park Primary learners in attendance. It was MC’d by KFM’s Carl Wastie, who kept everyone entertained with his enthusiasm and energy (and blonde Mohawk!).
Zerilda Park Primary invited Western Cape Premier Helen Zille to open the library and speak at the event. She addressed the young learners directly, linking the new library to the importance of reading, and encouraging them to read every day. The Premier also read aloud to a few learners inside the library once she had cut the ribbon.
The principal, Ms Lorna Engeldoe, who also spoke at the ceremony, has welcomed the initiative: ‘As a school that faces a lot of challenges, it is so rewarding to start the New Year with a dedicated space to enhance literacy.’
Leanne Reid of Learning in Reach gave a speech on behalf of all the organisations involved, thanking all those who have made Zerilda Park’s school library possible.
On behalf of The Bookery, she thanked the many people who have given us their support over the years, so much of which strengthens our Library Support work. It is with this support that we can help our library assistants – the champions on the ground – to bring the libraries we set up to life.
The Western Cape Education Department was thanked for its continued work with us in providing library interns, and was urged to grow this support to make more school libraries available across the Western Cape.
Equal Education was given a special mention for creating The Bookery in 2010 as part of its Campaign for School Libraries before we became an independent NPO.
Our vision is that collaborations like this one will lead to a model that government and other organisations can adopt and develop to give all South African learners access to the school library as an essential resource of learning.
We wish Zerilda Park Primary and Ms Hector all the best in bringing the new library to life, and commit to supporting them in getting learners regularly reading for enjoyment.
Premier Helen Zille and Zerilda Park Primary’s library assistant Ms Pouchea Hector