Libraries are a place of learning – learning about books – learning about language –
Learning about the World.

Our Libraries will become a place for “Virtual Learning” as Dr Muavia encourages our children
to step out of their worlds and explore new dreams.

Rahmaniyeh Primary New Library A much loved place in the school

Rahmaniyeh Primary
New Library
A much loved place in the school


School Library Project

The vast majority of schools in South Africa function without a library. What this means is that students lack access to one of the most important resources available. Open Book has undertaken to provide one school with a library per year. This is done with assistance from The Bookery, local publishers and the support of festival goers and other interested parties.

Getting books on the shelves at each of the schools is for us, only the first step. Books are not enough to get today’s learners excited about the space a Library can and should be, particularly if those learners do not come from a reading background. The moment the space is usable, we start working with the school on events that can take place in the Library to draw potential new readers in. These events range from the Mentoring Programme through to talks by selected writers. Bottom line: Work at any of our focus schools is not limited to one year, but rather extends indefinitely.


Mentoring Programme

The Open Book Mentoring Programme is targeted at learners with an interest in developing their writing skills. Currently it includes 8 sessions and can be run in the space of one month. Where it makes sense we invite guests to facilitate selected sessions. The space we aim to create is one where learners feel safe expressing themselves in writing. We want all learners involved in this process to come out of it feeling more confident in their writing as well as excited at the idea. As such, our role is often one of encouraging writing rather than emphasising mistakes in any of the writing produced. We do make it clear that should any student wish to go through a piece of writing to iron out errors, we are more than happy to put aside time to do that. Often learners are writing in their 2nd or even 3rd language, which needs to be taken into consideration



February: Open Book Mentoring Programme – This would be a broad overview that touches on several different subjects, providing learners with a teaser.

March: Starting a school newspaper – Facilitated by Steve Kretzmann (TBC) who would cover the following:
1. What is news and how to write it
2. Interviews
3. Editing
4. Lay out

April: How to read & talk about books – establishing a book club. Guests TBC
1. Choosing a book to read
2. How to identify themes
3. Book discussion

May: Poetry – Page and State – Facilitated by SLiP (TBC) and would cover the following:
1. Writing
2. Editing
3. Performing

June: Life Stories – Facilitated by District 6 Museum (TBC)
1. Research
2. Interviews
3. Writing

July: Writing a Comic Book – Facilitated by Chris Beukes (TBC)
1. Collaboration – writer and artist
2. Frame Layout
3. Text

August: Paper Art – Facilitated by Kerry Muller and Kyoko Kimura (both TBC)
1. Origami
2. Books as Art

September: PEN talks – freedom of expression, what’s banned and why – PEN
Members involved (TBC)

Please note, we have planned an eight month programme in order to work around exams and school holidays. The outline is a flexible one and there may be switches between one school and another. Each school has different needs, and so while an outline is vital, so too is flexibility to adjust to what will work best for different


The solution we are now looking at is A MOBILE LIBRARY that will service 5 primary schools. The library will be equipped with in the region of 2000 books, a trained librarian and library software enabling the loan of books. In addition to loaning books to the schools, we will run book related events at the schools through the year.

Integral to this will be buy-in from each of the schools. Together with them, we will identify a library assistant at each school who will act as an assistant to the mobile librarian and who will ensure that learners at each school know when the library is coming and which classes will be accessing it.

This will enable 5 schools – teachers and students – to discover how exciting access to books can be. Based on how each of the schools uses the facility, we will then need to make a choice as to where the next school library goes.

We do not see the mobile library as a replacement to permanent libraries in each and every school – this is the missing link that we think will ensure that every library we put in is used to its full potential.
When we are ready we will do a strong push to raise funds for a vehicle, books, salaries, hardware and software. Sadly, identifying schools is as easy as driving around for half a day – most schools in and around Cape Town continue to function without libraries, despite there being overwhelming evidence that access to this resource leads to better grades.

Proposed Budget : The Open Book Mobile Library – Primary School Focus

Library assistant R6000/Month R72 000
Books and Other Library resources Primary School 2000 Units at an average cost of R150 / Unit R300 000
Libwin Cataloguing Software R9 700
Vehicle (Including Modifications) Used Motorhome Estimated Quote by Tygerberg Caravans and Motorhomes
 Petrol R3000/month R36 000
Maintenance of Vehicle R10 000
Total R977 700

Please note that while initial start up costs are fairly high, once the mobile library is running, we
would be looking at an annual cost of approximately R127 700.


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