Mobile libraries a hit, for kids
The Buffalo City Municipality has two mobile libraries that provides a wide variety of options for the learners, from fiction, animal tales and other informative stories. There are books in English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans.
The libraries conduct daily visits to areas in the Metro that do not have the libraries or any book related services such as schools, old age homes and prisons. There are at least two female drivers that alternate with other male drivers.
To borrow books, children under the age of 18 need to provide a birth certificate, proof of residential address and a copy of a parent’s identity document. The Eastern Cape Rising Sun tagged along on a library trip on Thursday as driver and librarian Thabo Maleni visited Floradale Primary School in Nompumelelo township.
Maleni has been driving the mobile library for over two years. He always encourages children to learn to face their challenges by reading. “Some children say some of the books are too difficult, but I always tell them to take both the easy and the hard ones so they can get used to facing up to difficult things,” he said.
More than 50 children stood in line with great excitement, carrying their library cards waiting to be called in so they can return and collect books. Hlakanipha Tyatyatya, a Grade 5 learner uses her own special techniques to ensure that she is able to read more than one language.
“If I take an isiXhosa book this week I will take an English book next week, I do this because I want to be fluent in both languages. I wish we had a library here at the school so I can read a new book every day,” said the excited youngster.
Lusindiso Mvandaba, a Learner Support Agent at the school recalls how worried the children were one time when the library could not come as it had gone for service. Her job is to take care of the learner’s needs and interests. “We are really grateful for what the government is doing with this public/mobile library, but we as also need a library of our own, whether it’s for the school or the whole community. Children are showing a lot of improvement in reading and writing and they are willing to read more books, given the opportunity. If we had our own library, we would be able to ensure that children read books on a daily basis,” said Mvandaba.
Some learners were not able to take books home because they did not have library cards but they read books with those that have library cards. Their choice in books differs with boys preferring books about animals and the girls prefer fairy tales.
According to Maleni, the mobile library is most popular among school children.