A little library that makes a big difference

Oxford University Press South Africa managing director Steve Cilliers with school principal Beverley Daniels.

After a devastating fire burnt down the school’s library earlier this year, Athlone North Primary School launched its new library with 1 000 new books.

On Friday October 19, the container which was renovated into a library was handed over to the school by Oxford University Press.

The 12-meter container was painted inside and out with bright colours and fitted with shelving and 30 pillows for the children to sit on.

In March this year a fire ravaged the school’s library, Grade R classroom and minor hall and the 579 pupils were left with no library and no access to computers (“Years of work up in smoke”, Athlone News, March 21).

Principal Beverley Daniels said the school made use of Oxford University Press textbooks and earlier this year she had approached the publishing company about the possibility of school being a recipient of the container library.

“One of the sales reps was here and was telling us about this project and I asked if we could be the recipient as our library burnt down.

“As our culture for reading is so strong at this school, our pupils would sit in the library in intervals and read. The fire left us devastated and our school has been without a library ever since,” said Ms Daniels.

She said having a library at the school meant that the children had a safe place to read and escape from their everyday problems.

“The libraries here are not really accessible for our pupils as they have to cross this busy road and in Bridgetown there is so much shooting, they can’t even do their research there,” she said.

She said they decided to place the container library at the front of the school so that the pupils who have to wait for their transport after school could sit and read while they did so.

“What we need now is paving in front of the library so that the children can sit there and read. We are very grateful and our pupils are very excited,” she said.

Managing director of Oxford University Press in South Africa, Steve Cilliers, said while this formed part of the publisher’s ongoing community projects, it was the first time they had made a donation of this kind.

“There are about a 1 000 books but the library can take much more. The idea behind it is that literacy levels in this community improves as it has lost so many resources. Little contributions like these can make a difference,” he said.