After much anticipation, Nal’ibali launched its Story Power in Motion mobile library project, funded by DGMT. The fleet of four tuk-tuks, retrofitted as libraries with Literacy Mentors at the wheel, increase the supply of engaging reading materials in text-scarce environments, teach people how libraries work, point them to brick-and-mortar libraries, and promote reading for enjoyment through events and visibility in communities.
While this pilot generated much visibility and excitement on the ground, logistical challenges taught us that a tuk-tuk is not to be the ideal vehicle for a mobile library. However, this has not dampened enthusiasm in the communities of Mdantsane (Eastern Cape), Ntuzuma (KwaZulu-Natal), Khayelitsha (Western Cape) and Soweto (Gauteng), where schools and educares have clamoured to partner with the mobile libraries for regular book check-outs and read-alouds. The vehicles also attracted significant media attention and PR coverage.
While not our own project, Nal’ibali was also an active participant in the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) and its National Reading Coalition (NRC). We helped frame and design the reading coalition model that was adopted in 22 priority education circuits, and offered training in 8 of these circuits.
We also secured funding for two new projects that will kick off in 2020. A new group of Story Sparkers, funded by Standard Bank, will work in 26 schools in Gauteng and Limpopo to bring libraries to life, supported by a Standard Bank employee volunteering programme.
The Liberty Community Trust is funding a three-year joint project implemented by Nal’ibali, Book Dash and Wordworks called “Yizani Sifunde” that seeks to increase book ownership, improve classroom practice and spark community reading clubs around 120 educare centres in the Eastern Cape. 2020 will be dedicated to content development, community engagement and planning so we can hit the ground running in 2021.