In 2016, Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) revealed that school libraries were a crisis in South Africa due to a lack of sufficient resources, an inadequate number of qualified staff members to manage the facilities, and lack of funds to buy a textbook.
In partnership with Touch Africa, AVBOB is providing mobile libraries to underprivileged communities. AVBOB is a Mutual Assurance Society which provides a one-stop funeral insurance and burial service solution.
Ever since AVBOB’s inception in 1921, countless contributions have been made to charity organizations and this continues through the amazing library project”.
According to the CEO of AVBOB, Firk Rademan “the container library is a fitting donation to the school and community as it will assist in breeding a deep and continued reading culture within the learners and the community as a whole”.Rademan continued to share that “the improvement of learner performance in literacy and numeracy is one of the biggest and most important challenges our government faces and as AVBOB we are trying to alleviate the issue one school at a time.”
The Mobile library project is a nationwide project a three-year campaign which provides 30 mobile libraries to previously disadvantaged schools throughout the country. After AVBOB decided to implement this amazing project when they realized that they needed help and this is when they appointed Touch Africa to help them with the containers that they would turn into libraries. Touch Africa manages the refurbishment of the shipping containers and handles the logistics of the libraries. The containers are fitted with air conditioning, wooden laminated floors, beautiful shelving, a blackboard, tables and chairs, as well as +-2500 brand new books. AVBOB is also responsible for selecting the disadvantaged Schools.
Research, studies, and investigations were then conducted in order to find the most deserving schools who would receive these libraries, which were then run by the schools themselves or by appointed librarians. One of the challenges which arose with this particular CSI project was the maintenance of these libraries. Firk Rademan said “It was difficult at times, but the challenges were nothing that cannot be overcome. Most learners had never been inside a library before, and it was a joy seeing their faces light up”.
AVBOB has already committed 40 libraries throughout the country with the possibility of adding more, their focus is on sustaining these libraries so that they are run properly and are able to continue performing their function. “We would love to build more libraries, but we need to make sure that all these libraries can be sustained”, adds Rademan.