Library assessable for learners thanks to JCP-students

Posted on August 01, 2010


As part of their fieldwork for the compulsory undergraduate module for the Faculty Engineering, Built Environment and Information technology, Community-Based project (JCP) a group of students assisted in the library of Rietfontein-North Primary School. The students Mr Z Coetzee, Beyers de Vos, Marissa Gravett, Ashley Houigan, Laetitia Marais, Miss H van der Westhuizen, Marie van Wyk and Carina Vermooten reported:
Our JCP project for 2010 was definitely right up our alley, as 6 information technology students we were pretty sure whatever we built would fall apart! We decided to renovate a library in the Rietfontein North primary school in the Moot area of Pretoria. The school closed down the library which they had from the mid-70’s in 2000, at the initialization of their medium change from an Afrikaans School to an English one. This year, to mark the final Afrikaans grade 7’s they decided to re-open the library for students use.

At the start of this project we sat down and discussed what we would like to achieve in the final opening of the library, we wanted to make a place that the students could use to study and use reference books, as well as read for pleasure and just relax. Most importantly we wanted a library that would be easy for the students to manage and use, understaffing is a huge problem in this school for underprivileged children, we wanted to provide a library the students could interact with.

With this in mind we brainstormed a way to provide a functional library, without forcing the children out of their comfort zones, and we came up with a ‘sticker system’ that designates one sticker on the spine of the book for language, fiction and non-fiction and age group, the idea was a hit with our volunteer AIC leaders!

We collected many generous donations of books, as well as small donations from people who were interested in what we were doing. As we had little funds and the school could not help us, we sold and swapped the outdated books that the school had for more suitable ones in a variety of languages. By far the most time consuming part of our project was sifting through the mountains of books the school still had trying to find books that would still be suitable for the children, many of the books were last read in the late 1970’s and were hardly applicable to today’s children. We were lucky enough to also receive a very kind donation of an E-book server for the library, with 2 terminals, this will enable the children to be exposed to new technology and enable the school to easily update the library and keep the library up to date technologically.

In our JCP project we learnt to work with people we would not normally associate with, and work together well, we learnt to respect the opinions of all members of our group and that everyone can make a contribution to make a project great. We learnt to use initiative, with very little money and hard work we provided an opportunity for learning, we learnt that you don’t need money to make a difference, you just need people who care. We thank the University of Pretoria and the Rietfontien North primary school for giving us the opportunity to make a difference, and to get to know ourselves better.”

Thanks for all your hard work!

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences