Literacy outcomes improve when children read for enjoyment.
Children are more likely to read for enjoyment when they have access to diverse books, have safe comfortable spaces to read, have choice in what they are reading, have role models that demonstrate a passion for reading, and are motivated to read in an environment where reading is encouraged, valued and appreciated. Our school libraries and library programmes are designed to touch on all of these elements of raising a new generation of readers.
A beautiful space is a non verbal way to tell children that they matter. The design of our libraries is intended to communicate the value that our school communities place on books, stories and reading, and to support the cognitive and social development of learners in our schools.
Each of our libraries is managed by a full time librarian. Our librarians receive on-going training and support from the Otto Foundation and other implementation partners - including The Bookery and Biblionef.
All learners at our schools have a scheduled library lesson every week (aligned to the language and literacy outcomes of the CAPS curriculum), and have the opportunity to select their own books for reading at home.
The Otto Foundation's library support team makes sure that new books are continuously added to the library catalogues - with a particular focus on books by local authors and books with themes that speak to the lived experience of South African learners.
Sunflower Learning Centre
Our flagship library, the Sunflower Learning Centre, was established by the Otto Foundation in 2016.
This library is shared by Zonnebloem Girls’ and Boys’ Primary schools.
The Protea Library at Walmer Estate Primary school opened in November 2020. The Protea Library librarian assists in conceptualising and implementing literacy, reading and writing programmes for our whole cluster of schools in Zonnebloem/ District Six.
The Liyabona Library at Holy Cross RC Primary School in District Six opened in January 2020. The project was made possible with financial support from community members and philanthropic donors, including EO Cape Town, MySchool, the MAID Foundation, the Jannie Mouton Foundation and The Bookery. The Kamvalethu Foundation continues to support the operational funding for this library.
The Library is a beautiful, multi-functional space in a covered courtyard at the school. The library was built to honour the memory of Liyabona Mbaba, a Grade 1 learner from Holy Cross who died in a taxi accident in 2018. Liyabona means “he sees”. We believe that he sees what has been created in his memory, that he is gladdened by what he sees. We hope that the Liyabona Library will continue to be a place that brings the Holy Cross family together and shows them that their stories are important.
The Sunbird Library at Chapel Street Primary School is opening on 27 September 2022.
The Sunbird Library was part of a collaborative project between civil society organisations and the Western Cape Department of Education to construct a new Grade R classroom at the school, to upgrade the Grade R playground, and to create an inviting, child-friendly library from which to drive programmes to promote reading for enjoyment.
The project was made possible through support from a number of philanthropic organisations, non-profit organisations and local businesses, including: Biblionef SA, Clicks South Africa, The Kamvalethu Foundation, The Waterfront Rotary Club, The Wilde Ganzen Foundation and Wings of Support.