The Bookery opened its doors at 20 Roeland Street on 1 March 2010 as part of Equal Education's Campaign for School Libraries. School libraries were to be set up in under-resourced communities with the aim of showing the positive impact they bring to schools and learners, both academically and culturally. Books and resources for the libraries were to be sourced from the general public and from a variety of different partners.
The Bookery got off its feet under the coordination of Rich Conyngham, who took what was left of the original Charley's Bakery and turned it into a vibrant book depot. Once opened to the public, the word quickly spread. With the help of a group of volunteers, the first two libraries were opened—one at Thembelihle High School in May 2010 and another at Lavender Hill High School in June 2010.
After Rich, Themba Tshabalala took over and was responsible for the next five libraries before Cosmas Mabeya became coordinator in late 2011.
After three years contributing to Equal Education's campaigns for school libraries and school infrastructure, The Bookery became an independent NPO in October 2013. It moved to Plein Street in January 2014, and aims to expand on the work already done.