In an effort to introduce a new generation of children to the joys of reading and bridge the digital divide in underprivileged areas, the City of Cape launched an Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD) Resources Library in Crossroads.
The library will also address illiteracy among young people. Opening the library on Tuesday March 27, Mayor Patricia de Lille said the safe corner will boast more books and toys for the eager kids keen to read during break and after school.
Ms De Lille said the library is one of the most important facilities to ensure that children and even adults have a quiet space where they can get information needed to expand their knowledge base.
She said libraries provide a platform for the young ones to be able to have a solid foundation for the future.
She said the library is the City of Cape Town’s effort to solidify further the reading foundation with the ECD resource libraries.
“Twelve of our public libraries, including this one here in Philippi, will be equipped with learning materials including books, educational and recreational toys that will add to the development of the young children. The primary aim is to provide a variety of play and educational materials for children at various levels of development to ensure that the children’s experiences are enjoyable,” she said.
She said according to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), eight out of 10 Grade 4 pupils still cannot read at an appropriate level.
“That is quite alarming and is an indictment on us as a society. It is important, now more than ever, to value our children’s education and to ensure that they have the tools from an early age to be able to take on a challenging world,” she said.
She further said the establishment of these ECD resource libraries will assist in ensuring to cultivate a culture of reading at an early stage.
Head librarian Nonzukiso Nkume said she felt privileged to be able to help instil a culture of reading in children who are not ordinarily exposed to books. She said the centre will give many of the local children a chance to learn, play and mostly offer safety.
“It is a great day today not only for me but for the children. This is the start of good things.
“It is a privilege for me to lead them and take them through their first phase of reading.
“They will play and read here. This is a safe space for them,” she said.
The City said the ECD resource libraries will also provide a valuable resource for parents and professionals who are pursuing the development of children to their optimum potential.