Bridgestone keeps tyres rolling for mobile libraries
No library – no problem, as all nine South African provinces now offer a mobile library service to schools that do not have one.
A total of 50 mobile libraries bring this important service to 885 schools around the country with the help of Bridgestone’s ongoing sponsorship of tyres for the fleet.
“The typical mobile library is a converted bus, which offers a selection from over 550 000 children’s books available to the project,” explains Bridgestone PR manager, Desirée van Niekerk.
The Mobile Library Project is overseen by the South African Primary Education Support Initiative (Sapesi). The project has been in operation for 11 years and assists in fostering a love for reading among children. Each of the mobile libraries also has an on-board librarian.
The project also provides a specialised bus for Grade R children in Gauteng. In the Free State, one third of all schools without libraries are already being serviced by the mobile libraries.
However, according to Sapesi, challenges still remain, as fewer than ten percent of South African schools have functional libraries. The Free State University’s school of education is undertaking a study to determine what measures can be taken to improve the service across the country.
“One of the many aspects which impressed us about the Mobile Library Project is the emphasis on ongoing development,” Van Niekerk comments. “For instance, some rural schools are being equipped with start-up libraries to help them make the transition from a mobile library to a school library,” she explains.
“Education is the key to the future and it will remain one of Bridgestone’s pivotal areas of social responsibility involvement,” Van Nikerk concludes.