n Mousaion - How school libraries improve literacy : some evidence from the trenches

Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



The article comes out of a panel discussion, featuring five teacher-librarians, which was broadcast to schools across the Western Cape Province of South Africa in 2011. Four of the panelists are graduates of the University of the Western Cape's school librarian programme. The request for the broadcast came from two managers of the Qids-Up school improvement project in the Western Cape Education Department, which has sent collections of books to over 400 historically disadvantaged schools across the province. The aim of the project was to improve prevailing low literacy levels with injections of attractive reading materials in the languages spoken in the schools. The two managers, however, were concerned that the donations of books had had little impact. The article focuses on participants' stories about their reading projects. The discussion provides inspiring and convincing evidence for those, like the author, who have been arguing for years that without libraries and dedicated school- or teacher-librarians, the millions spent on book donations and literacy projects might be wasted.

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