Library box brightens young minds

The Grade 3 class of Candice Petersen in front of the library box.

The Grade 5 pupils at St Mary’s Primary School in the city centre will soon have their own library box in the comfort of their own classroom.

A library box is a wooden reading corner, painted in bright colours, with shelves for books. Pupils can sit in the corner to read as well as play games.

The library boxes are part of The Book Lounge’s Open Book Library project in which the book shop in Roeland Street adopts a school to build a fully stocked and functional library for them.

Jessica Smith of the Book Lounge, who is in charge of the Open Books School Project, said that because St Mary’s did not have a space for a library, they have created library units in each classroom.

“So far we have completed Grade R as well as Grades 1 to 4, and we are in the process of stocking the Grade 5 box.”

The Open Book Project was introduced to the school by Grade 5 teacher Laura Vermeulen-Roos, who wrote a motivation to The Book Lounge for the school’s library.

She said since the children received the library boxes, their interest in reading has improved. “We have artistic children and they really enjoy it. They have really improved.

“The boxes are attractive and there is a blackboard that they can write on and play in.”

Principal Fiona Stellar said she loves the boxes and so does the children.

“The pupils find it very user-friendly. They have different books that differ according to their ages and grades, ranging from information resources to fiction and fables.

“The project was amazing. Children who didn’t read before sit in these boxes and read.”

And as an added perk, The Book Lounge organises for authors and illustrators to come to the school and read to the children during the annual Open Book Festival, which took place earlier this month.

Ms Smith said sometimes they also have interactive workshops.

Ms Stellar said: “Our children are very excited when the authors visit. The teachers read stories of the authors beforehand so that the children know who they are meeting. Our pupils would not be exposed to authors otherwise.”

She said The Book Lounge supports the school by donating the book boxes, as well as offering their space in Roeland Street as a venue for meetings. Ms Stellar said she is grateful for the relationship the school has with the book shop.

While all the books in the library boxes are donated by The Book Lounge, Ms Smith said that, in order to make this possible, they rely heavily on donations from their customers and contributions from publishers.