Bringing the School Library to Life

Opening of Library number 41 !

Heatherdale Primary

Monday, March 16, 2014, The Bookery opened its 41 st library at Heatherdale Primary School in Athlone, Western Cape.

The day, in celebratory of South African Library Week, was filled with educative, inspiring and motivational activities. MEC Debbie Shafer and the UK Aid representative Sussie Moffat spoke proudly of how the library opening was a step in the right direction for our youth. Guest speaker and well known librarian Fadeelah Davids encouraged not only the learners but also the teachers to make full use of the library.  

The highlight of the day was the glorious singing from the school choir. They amazed the crowd with their melodic fluidity and music variation. Grade two learners Nikita Katina and Muaath Gierdien both told good stories in their poetry and reading.


The ceremony was concluded with opening of the cage for the doves and the unveiling of the plaque by the MEC and the principle Theresa Le Grange.  

MEC of WCED  and Principal of Heatherdale

MEC of WCED and Principal of Heatherdale

The Bookery set to open another library on 16 March 2015

The Bookery, an NGO that creates and supports fully functional school libraries in South Africa, is set to open a library at Heatherdale Primary School on Monday, March 16, 2015 at 2pm.

Amongst the attendees will be the MEC of the Western Cape Education Department Debbie Schafer, UK Aid representative Susie Mossatt, guest speaker Fadeelah Davids and some the University of the Western Cape Library Science and Information professors. The activities planned for the day include a performance from the school choir lead by Music Educator Mr Bourne and a poetry recital and book reading by the learners.

Heatherdale Primary situated in Athlone was established about 90 years ago and the current principal Ms Theresa Le Grange has been holding the fort for 12 years. They have seen a need for better internal reading and writing facilities at the kids’ disposal. School Library Assistant at Heatherdale Mr Sean Geldenhuys, says he “expects the school library to promote children reading for leisure and to create more educational possibilities in the community”.

The opening falls in with the celebration of South African library week and The Bookery’s Executive Project Manager Cosmas Mabeya says, “This is a profound way to celebrate this week; the Heatherdale school library is a special project as it brings together one of The Bookery’s most important partnerships for the future.”

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Work in progress at Heatherdale

Work in progress at Heatherdale Library

World Read Aloud day with Nal’ibali

Yesterday, March 03, 2014, the Library Support Staff, Penny Dare, Janet Cronje, Harper Mapila (Coach) and Portia Nyokana, together with the two Public Relations interns Sharon Moatshe and Vuyokazi Ndobeni, spent the day visiting  different school libraries within Khayelitsha in celebration of World Read Aloud Day courtesy of Nal’ibali. 

Sosebenza Primary School, with the leadership of Nompumelelo Mhlongo (library assistant), magnified the day by having the Grade three learners read to those in Grade R. In other classes there would be a chapter dedicated to a child to read out loud. Next door to Sosebenza Primary is Soyisile Primary School, with library assistant Sibusiso Nkosi, which also joined in the Read Aloud festivities. The students were all reading a Nal’ibali story with questions later that made their reading more of an experience. The day was finished off with the energetic and eager-to-learn students from Isikhokelo Primary School under the care of Bulelani Nameka. From Mhlongo’s humbleness to Nkosi’s strong demeanour to the ever enthusiastic Nameka, the day poised to be a success.

Other schools, sponsored by The Bookery, that participated in the Nal’ibali read aloud day were Fezeka Secondary School (Guguletu), Buchule Technical High School (East London), Searidge Primary (Mitchells Plain), Nomlinganiselo Primary (New Crossroads), Garlandale Primary (Athlone), Sobambisana Primary (Khayelitsha), Ummangaliso Primary (Khayelitsha), Siyazingisa Primary (Gugulethu), Intshayelelo Primary( Khayelitsha), Parkhurst Primary (Mitchell’s Plain), Heatherdale Primary ( Athlone), Delta Primary (Retreat) and Litha Primary (Guguletu).

Nal’ibali, meaning “here’s a story”, aims to develop literacy by creating stories in languages that the children will understand, sparking desire and passion for reading. They have partnered with The Bookery in hopes of building and sustaining more libraries.

World Read Aloud day celebrates the existence of literature and emphasises the need to motivate the youth to read and be confident in their reading. This day serves as a reminder of the great stories that have been told and bring about excitement for stories that are yet to be told. 



For more information on Nal’ibali, visit:

Poster for World Read Aloud Day

World Read Aloud Day at Soyisile Primary

World Read Aloud Day at Parkhurst Primary

The Bookery opens 40th Library at Ummangaliso

On Friday 31st October Ummangaliso Public Primary School became the 40th recipient of a Bookery library, and we celebrated with an extremely entertaining and memorable opening at the school. We were were treated to a great show of dance and singing by learners from the school. Speeches from UCT Professer C. Soudien, Education Minister Debbie Schafer and Mr Sean Farrell, The Bookery Chairman, followed, all involving encouragement towards the staff, parents, and scholars of Ummangalios Primary to make full use of their new library. Minister Schafer officially opened the library by cutting the ribbon and unveiling a plaque, in front of a gathered crowd, including Rotary, UCT, SII and The Bookery staff, all of whom played a great role in equipping Ummangaliso Primary with this library. We send our thanks to those involved, and wish Vuvu, the new Library assistant, and the rest of the Ummangaliso Primary staff all the best as they enjoy their new library.

Ummangaliso Primary receives Oxford University Press SA book donation

The Bookery was present at the newly opened Ummangaliso Public Primary School Library, where our friends at Oxford University Press South Afica handed over a generous book donation to the school. Principal Mr Siko and Library Assistant Vuyelwa Zweni welcomed the new books, and along with The Bookery, are very grateful for their contribtion and care for the young learners.

Opening of first Bookery library in Eastern Cape

The Bookery opened its very first Eastern Cape based school library at Buchule Tech High School on Friday 17th October. This is now the 2nd library opened outside of the Western Cape, and we are very expectant of more to come soon as we look to expand further into the country. This was just one step forward in our mission to put a library in every school in South Africa.


Nal'ibali Training for our Library Assistants


Pay It Forward Event huge success

The Pay It Forward Charity Event on Saturday, 6 September 2014 at the Marimba Restaurant at the Cape Town International Convention Centre was an uplifting success. The motivational talks from accomplished speakers from different industries achieved the aim of the event which was to inspire the pupils in attendance. Read more here.

g for Enjoyment Orientation Workshop. The Nal’ibali 

Cosmas Mabeya visits Library Conference in Moscow

The Bookery’s Executive Project Manager Cosmas Mabeya attended the International Association of School Librarianship 2014 Conference, in Moscow, Russia, from 25—30 August. As The Bookery endeavours to bring the very best of international experience to our work, we were blessed with the acknowledgment of our work and the honour of being awarded a prize for our contribution in the setting up and support of libraries in South Africa. So pleased is IASL with our work that we have been asked to co-convene one of the satellite conferences during next year’s International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) being held in Cape Town on 13-14 August 2015.




Pay It Forward Charity Event 

On Saturday, 6 September 2014 The Bookery, in partnership with Public Relations and Events Management student volunteers from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, is hosting the Pay It Forward Charity Event at Marimba Restaurant at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The charity event is the culmination of The Bookery Fundraising adult book sale that has been taking place at our office since 15 August 2014. Read more here.


The Bookery Fundraising book sale

The Bookery is hosting 'The Bookery Fundraising' at our office on Plein Street. The aim of the fundraiser is to clear space and raise funds for our 'Pay It Forward' event on 6 September 2014 at the Marimba Restaurant at the Cape Town International Centre. 

The Bookery Fundraising book sale started on Friday 15 August 2014. All the books on sale are adult fiction that are not appropriate for the schools we assist. The sale is from 12 - 4pm weekdays until Tuesday 2 September 2014. All the books are on sale for R20 for one or R40 for any three books. Read more here.

The Bookery pledges to support Nali'bali distribute its Children's Literacy Charter

Nal’ibali, a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, launched a Charter on Children’s Literacy Rights on World Book Day this year (23 April 2014).
The charter highlights literacy experiences that all should have to best enable them to learn to read and write. It states, for example, that “children should have daily opportunities to use reading and writing to help them explore life from both imaginary and realistic perspectives. These opportunities enable them to learn about themselves and others while exploring their changing place in the world and how they can contribute to it.”The charter is freely available in all eleven official South African languages. Alongside other organisations, The Bookery has pledged its support in circulating the poster to the libraries it has established. Read the charter here.


SABC Education includes The Bookery in its Raise Your Hand campaign


Raise Your Hand is an SABC Education initiative designed to encourage the public to get involved in the education of South Africa's children. The campaign makes it easy for people and businesses to find organisations tailored to what they are able to give.

Find The Bookery on the website's Donate Stuff page.


The Bookery is mentioned in The Herald

See the great story here in Scottish newspaper The Herald about The Old Barn and its work with us in Cape Town.


The 12 000 books from Scotland arrive

Much excitement unfolded at The Bookery on 12 March due to the arrival of 12 000 quality children’s books! Click here for more.

12 000 quality second hand books on their way to The Bookery from Scotland

The Scottish arm of The Bookery at The Old Barn in Glasgow has just sent us exactly 12 053 quality second hand books, all of them classified and ready to go into school libraries. The shipment is part of The Old Barn's annual contribution to The Bookery's work. Read more about it here and on their website

In our gallery are a few pictures of the team loading up the books in freezing conditions under unusually clear Scottish skies. Thank you once again, Claire and the team.

The Oprah Magazine supports The Bookery, EE and Symphonia

As part of Oprah Winfrey’s South Africa launch of O YOU membership, The O Magazine asked all their guests to donate a children’s book to The Bookery.

The Bookery team, in association with Equal Education (EE) Gauteng and the Partnership for Possibility Programme run by Symphonia, received 1500 quality, age-appropriate books that will go into two primary schools in Rabie Ridge and Tembisa townships in Johannesburg.
This is a great start to what will be an on-going drive to gather a total of 9000 books for our projects in Gauteng.

This event was a first in many ways. The O magazine has been supportive of The Bookery over the last few years. O Magazine’s Cape Town office has collected and covered books for us in the past. This major event presented an opportunity for them to broaden this support to the O Magazine fan base. It is also the first time that The Bookery will be setting up a library outside the Western Cape, where we have established and are supporting 27 school libraries.

The Bookery, in association with EE and Symphonia, welcomes this partnership with O Magazine and encourages all O fans to continue donating books to these two libraries.

Oprah at Gallagher Estate

The Bookery, EE and Symphonia

Receiving book donations