Month nine: the library is ready to go!
The day has finally come that I have been waiting for – I am done organizing and decorating my school’s library!
When I first got to site, I poked my nose around to see what I could do. I came across the library, which had been organized into sections, but had no system for kids to check out books/put books back on the shelf. So, I created an accession register for all ~800 books, separated them by reading level or subject and created labels for all of them. That took me about five months; I was going crazy. Let’s just say I am not passionate about taping labels onto books and sorting them.
But if you know me, have seen my childhood room, my freshman dorm room, college apartment, or now home sweet hut, you know I like decorating. I always have to find a way to make things bright and colourful and usually cut out some letters from construction paper to write a quote on my wall or something along those lines.
Naturally, I had to decorate my library.I decided to hang big signs from the rafters for the fiction and non-fiction sections and stars. So far, whenever a learner comes into the library they look up and say, “phezulu!” (above) or “it is beautiful!” If learners are curious about the decorations in the library and are attracted to the colours and shapes, won’t they want to come in and read? Hopefully, because that is my goal. I want to make this space theirs and somewhere they really enjoy being.
Next week, I will continue my library progress to get ready for the big opening on Monday, Apr. 22.
- finalize rules and hours with staff members
- give grade 5, 6 and 7 applications to be library monitors, choose monitors and then train them
- train the teachers how to use the library through a scavenger hunt
- make a reference guide for teachers about where they can find certain books they can use in their classes
- train all the learners on how to use the library and keep it clean
Initiatives to come from my library:
- a writing club (specifically catered to that one kid)
- hopefully, hopefully a school newspaper (I just have to)
- English story time with Miss Mathebula (me)
- chess club (the grade 7 educator is very adamant about getting this started)
We might not have many books right now, but we will be getting more! Some PCVs and I have started the Books for Africa process with our volunteer group (South Africa 26) and the health volunteer group (South Africa 25). Books for Africa is a nonprofit based in Minnesota that does exactly what its name says — sends books to Africa. Each shipment of books contains approximately 22,000 primary and secondary books. To receive the books, we must raise the funds for the shipping costs (approximately $15,000USD). We have invited other PCVs and their schools and organizations from South Africa to be a part of the project, which we decided to call Project Amandla. Simply, amandla means power in Zulu and literacy gives people power. Thirty schools and organizations will participate and each one is required to raise 2,000 Rand for ~733 books. Today was our first day of fundraising at school and the kids could wear casual clothes if they paid 1R. Most of the kiddies wore casual clothes and we raised 216R today! Every Friday my school will continue this effort.
All those who are participating in Project Amandla will soon be asking for donations from America to raise the rest of the money. I am working on finishing the Peace Corps grant for $5,000USD with help from other Volunteers. Once the grant is approved, our project will show up on the Peace Corps Website and we will send out a link to our blog viewers, friends, family members and former co-workers. I will also publish a description of the grant on my blog as well as a short promotional video. Stay tuned; coming soon!
Things are finally coming together at site and I will be very, very busy these next few months. Just what I’ve been waiting for — to be stressed again. Seriously though.