NOORDGESIG LIBRARY CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY AND ITS FIRST ANNIVERSARY.
by Gabriel Mashabela
08 SEPTEMBER is celebrated worldwide as International Literacy Day (ILD). Interestingly Noordgesig library on this day 08 September 2022 celebrates its one (1) year anniversary. The Noordgesig library was officially opened on 08 September 2021 by the then executive mayor Jolidee Matongo.
To celebrate this historic and significant anniversary and International Literacy Day, Noordgesig library celebrated the event in style. The library organized an interactive and educational information literacy program using smart devices to discover and explore interesting facts about the library, its collection, and services as well as to inform and educate the participants about the significance of international literacy day. The library organized these interactive activities through an APP called Actionbound. Actionbound is described as an “app for playing digitally interactive scavenger hunts to lead the learner on a path of discovery” (https://en.actionbound.com/).
In line with this year’s theme of the international literacy day, “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces”; Noordgesig library resorted to Gamification to transform literacy, as well as to reinforce and nurture the culture of learning. To live to the principle of the literacy day theme which was anchored in the principle that literacy learning spaces build resilience and ensure quality, equitable, and inclusive education for all, all children of all ages were allowed to participate in the digitally interactive activities organized. Surprisingly even learners from Noordgesig High School were actively involved and participated.
In order to “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces,” Google read-along APP was also used to tap on the participants’ reading skills whereby stories were downloaded from the APP and participants had to read the stories to collect the maximum points. There more the participants wanted to collect points, there more stories they had to read. The APP is designed in such a way that it makes reading fun and interactive for participants whereby Diya (reading buddy animation) listens to children when reading and provides feedback on their reading exercise as well as corrections and helps them with the pronunciation of challenging words. The APP is instrumental in helping children to develop their reading skills, using the latest and emerging technologies.
In terms of usage and the number of individuals or groups utilizing Noordgesig library in the past 12 months, the library has been used heavily. More than 11 000 individuals utilized the Noordgesig library for the duration of 08 September 2021 to 08 September 2022. These individuals were utilizing the facility for various reasons such as for study purposes, circulation of books, attending library-organized programs, and other services offered by the library.
According to Miss Smith in her annual report of 1961/2 Noordgesig library is a “busy lending library”. Therefore it is not surprising that in the 1 year Noordgesig Library officially opened, circulation statistics reveal that more than 8000 books were circulated. Interestingly, the other positive trend emerging from stats is the upward trajectory of membership. The upward increase in membership and circulation stats puts Noordgesig amongst the top 10 City libraries with high circulation and membership statistics. A high circulation trend of Noordgesig library is a well-documented trend dating back as far as 1961 when the secretary of the then city council stated that Noordgesig library in its first year operating in a little shop, has managed to circulate 26 125. Till hitherto, Noordgesig library in the past 12 months has lived up to the culture of being a busy lending library.
In terms of service delivery in the form of library programs, Noordgesig has delivered numerous programs both physically and digitally. Key highlights are interactive and intriguing holiday programs, information literacy programs, digital career guidance series, digital storytelling, digital awareness programs such as tanks coding, book reviews, Mandela Day coding day, face-to-face story hours, and many more programs. The 67 minutes of coding for celebrating Nelson Mandela Day as well as other digital programs organized put into practice, what the then executive mayor, Jolidee Matongo in his keynote address during the launch of the library said;
“Noordgesig library will prepare and leap-frog young people to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)”.
Holiday programs are organized quarterly based on the school holidays calendar. Previously, kids used to hang out at the playground next to the library and play in the recreational facilities. Since the official opening of the library, children found a place to learn, explore and become independent and critical thinkers of tomorrow by reading books. Children indulge in reading regularly which in turn will result in improved literacy skills, as well as better performance in other subjects. In addition, reading increases their knowledge and vocabulary. The library, therefore, also plays a critical role in teaching, creating, and nurturing a reading culture at an early age. By so doing library is serving as a catalyst in reinforcing the fact that reading is a valuable exercise to indulge in and it also provides entertainment. The library is stocked with relevant books that children can read for leisure and entertainment. Therefore, the library is playing a significant role in their lives and nurturing them into developing an interest in reading at an early age.
Therefore, libraries matter; libraries are the local gateway to knowledge. Libraries are creators of the community. Libraries are the digital hubs for the communities; libraries are cool!!.