New library to honour Holy Cross pupil

The Holy Cross teachers, future library staff and Grade 5 pupils who will all benefit from the new library next year.

The Holy Cross Primary School will open a new library next year in honour of a pupil who died this year.

Liyabona Mbaba, 7, was killed in a minibus taxi crash at the end of July (“School remembers boy killed in crash,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, August 9).

According to teacher Carlene Leukes, the school’s current library is too small to serve the needs of Holy Cross’s 555 pupils, especially if they need somewhere to do their homework or research assignments. It also has no librarian and no new books.

But now the Otto Family Foundation Trust and The Bookery, a non-profit that helps schools establish libraries, have come to the school’s aid.

The trust’s project director, Nonikiwe Mashologu, said they had seen the need at the school for a new library.

“With the wonderful passion and commitment of the principal, Nomthandazo Zweni, and her teachers, we started working on a plan to set up a library for their children.”

Mr Zweni said she was very grateful to all those helping to make the new library a reality.

“I am very excited about this project,” she said.

For the past month, the Holy Cross staff have been packing up the books from the old library in preparation for the move to the new one, which is double the size.

The new library will also give further responsibilities to two of the school’s staff.

Nonkululeko Sidyani, from Langa, is a teaching assistant and interpreter for many of the school’s pupils whose first language is Xhosa. She is also the school’s new librarian.

“I am very excited, it will be a great experience, as it will be taking my work to another level,” she said. “I will be assisting the pupils with their vocabulary; they will be able to have fun with books and they can take books home.”

Asiphe Gatyeni, from Delft, is part of the school’s support staff, responsible for cooking and cleaning. But she will now also be working in the library.

“I will work with Ms Sidyani in giving children books. I will also keep the library very clean, and I will also assist the children in reading the books and I enjoy working with children,” she said.

Both staff will get training from the Otto Family Foundation Trust.

“The Bookery has an extensive training programme specifically for librarians,” said Ms Mashologu.

Cosmas Mabeya, executive manager of The Bookery, said they would make sure the library had the resources it needed to get off the ground. “Our partners, like the Otto Foundation, expect us to choose, cover and catalogue the resources going into the library and to further ensure that the employed librarian is trained and supported to bring the school library to life.”

The Bookery will donate 4 000 carefully selected books to serve as the foundation of the new library’s catalogue. It will also help to set up IT systems to run the library.

“From then on, the Otto Foundation will help manage the library and keep a steady flow of new books coming in,” Ms Mabeya said.

Teacher Martina Gordon said the heart of the school was its library. “If these children can read, their literacy levels will shoot up. Literacy runs through all subjects, right up until matric,” she said.

The Liyabona library will open in March 2019, although the Otto Family Foundation Trust still need to finalise the exact date with the school.