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Besoek die aktiewe LitNet-platform by www.litnet.co.za

This is the LitNet archive (2006–2012)
Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za

Menings | Opinion > Onderhoude | Interviews > English

Frankie Murrey on the new library at Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School

Bibi Slippers - 2011-11-23

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Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School

Hi Frankie. I want to start by congratulating you, both on the success of the Open Book Festival and on the great work you are doing at Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School (MGMH). How did Open Book's involvement at MGMH come about?

From the start, we were keen to stock a library for a school that had been functioning without one. With the help of Equal Education (who run the One School, One Library, One Librarian campaign) we identified MGMH and have been working with them ever since. We handed the library over on 24th September, employed an assistant librarian in a full-time capacity and have started a reading club for teachers. We hope to get some other exciting projects off the ground early next year.

Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School

At the end of the Open Book Festival you were able to hand over 2 700 books to stock the MGMH library. Has this number increased since September? What has the feedback been from the students and teachers at the school?

The number has increased, as people are still interested in donating books to the school, which is absolutely amazing. Teachers and students are enjoying the library enormously and from feedback via the assistant librarian it looks as if the numbers of students using it is just going to grow.

The library now with students and books

How were the titles selected that were chosen to stock the library?

We approached publishers for a list of books they felt should be in every library, spoke to the teachers about what subjects they felt would be most useful, and got suggestions from Verushka Louw at The Book Lounge. From those different lists we then compiled a list of our own.

You've mentioned a reading club that you've started with the teachers at the school. Would you tell us more about this initiative, and how you see it developing in the future?

We all felt that simply putting a library into the school wasn’t enough, that we needed to do something to raise excitement about reading itself. In order to do that we felt it was important to involve the teachers at the school. If students see teachers reading, we thought they would be more likely to read themselves.

The project has been very rewarding. Teachers have read Sifiso Mzobe’s Young Blood and McIntosh Polela’s My Father, My Monster and are in the process of choosing two books to read over the December period.

We hope to start a reading club aimed at students in the new year.

Sifiso Mzobe visits to discuss Young Blood with the teachers' reading club

I was at Sfiso Mzobe's session at Open Book where he spoke with Paul Harding, and he mentioned his visit to the school. Are there more author visits in the pipeline?

Absolutely. I have let the teachers know that I would like to keep all titles they read local so that I am able to get authors to the school to speak to them. I am hoping to get Polela there early next year, but obviously that depends on funding.

How can our readers support your work at MGMH?

They can contact me directly (frankie@openbookfestival.co.za)
about donations of books – I have a list of books that teachers and students have requested that I am working my way through. Alternatively, they can drop books off at The Book Lounge for my attention and I will either take them to the school, or if they are not appropriate, take them to the Bookery so they can be put into other libraries.

I am also hoping to start extra class sessions at the school from early next year, so if anyone is able to donate some time on Saturdays, that would be valuable. I have a feeling that I am going to be looking for people with maths skills in particular.

The librarian has also mentioned that she wants to put bean bags into the library to make the space friendly and comfortable for people to sit and enjoy their books, so any donations of bean bags would be wonderful.

Can we look forward to another Open Book Festival in 2012? And will you be launching another library project in the coming year?

Open Book is annual, so people can definitely look forward to a festival in September 2012. We will be working with Equal Education once again to identify a school that is functioning without a library.