Books for Peace - Primary School Library
- Community Growth
- South Africa
At its foundation, the library project consists of renovating safe and structured environments for the sheltered and guarded utilization of books donated to us by local and country-wide organizations. We expect this project to improve our school’s literacy rates by using these new reading materials in school book clubs and remedial courses that our primary school desperately needs. These renovations and new reading materials would be established in our grade 4, 5 and 7 classrooms. This would permit staff easy access to an abundant of new resources. Once the renovations are complete and a library system is set up we plan to open its doors to the community at large. More specifically, the introduction of these books at the primary school would initially impact the learners from grades 4 through 7 and those few adults enrolled in night school. Approximately, 100 learners, 10 adult learners, and a total of 8 staff members will have access to a collection of over 700 pieces of literature. As a PCV, I will be in direct contact with 18 learners in Grade 5. The literacy rate of this class will be measured based on the new literary resources granted to those 18 learners within it. Those granted this privilege will also have to be trained on how to treat these books as a majority have not had access to such resources before. The community, which includes our local businesses, the school itself and the neighbors surrounding our village have already organized a labor force, designated multiple spaces, and created a committee in response to the projects upcoming implementation. Currently, the members of the school’s governing body (SGB) are brainstorming fundraising initiatives, and scouting for community donations (both financial and material) to aid in the success of this project. Our school has over 700+ books already donated which the local school will be able to collect and maintain within our own facilities once the renovations are implemented.
The library project was proposed primarily by our principal. The need for a library and new reading material was presented to the PCV by the principal, the SGB and some staff at the school. The library committee at our school was then created in response to this grant/project and is currently in the process of doing everything they can to make this dream possible. As of right now, the committee includes our principal, the SGB, two English teachers and the current PCV. The committee has so far designated the classrooms that are meant to hold and maintain the books, identified a labor force to implement renovations, recorded the complete list of materials needed to implement these renovations and obtained quotes on prices for such materials. Fundraising for the library is being led by the SGB as they reach out to community members and local business owners who strive to create a more literate generation within their community. In addition to this, the library committee has worked diligently to complete this application and begin construction as soon as possible. The community has come together to contribute significant amounts of labor-in-kind donations in the planning and implementation of this project. A local community member has volunteered to transport building materials to and from the shopping center. Our principal is working to find transport to receive the donated books awaiting us. Several staff members have volunteered to recycle trash cans from our school to prevent any additional trash from accumulating on school grounds during renovations. Finally, small businesses within the community have already committed to donating additional funds for the project or discounts on certain materials and resources for which they would provide.
Challenges that may lead to an unsustainable project have been addressed in the implementation of this project. These challenges include community involvement, space availability, and sustainable management. With the renovations established, the books themselves are projected to be very low maintenance. Our librarians are expected to be a set teachers and students who are already working or learning at the school and do not anticipate an increase in salary for participating. During renovations, trainings will be given to these volunteers on how to use, manage, and maintain the books correctly. A plan will be put in place to have those working as librarians to train any replacement librarians if a position ever becomes vacant. The library’s incoming stock/ supplies will be more than enough to fill our needs for a number of years to come. The properly cared for books are expected to last for decades, impacting a tremendous number of learners in their pursuit for academic success. My counterpart will be expected to maintain the project’s stability once I have left. Additionally, check-out record folders will be kept in each renovated room carrying the books. These record folders will be maintained and signed by the running librarian in each classroom every day that someone checks out a book (student or teacher). These record sheets will then be signed at the end of every week in an attempt to maintain accountability of those books being borrowed. Those teachers who have classes in the renovated classrooms will be in charge of making sure the new books are treated well by the learners under their supervision. Learner’s are not permitted to be in the classrooms without staff supervision. If ever this becomes the case, specific learners in each classroom will be assigned as Assistant Librarians and will be responsible for recording any books borrowed by learners within their jurisdiction.