The 411 on GHT Librarians

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By Sihle Jack

Grahamstown Library (Hill Street)

June Kockott  

Q:  What is your favourite children’s book?

A: Peter Pan was my favourite when I was a kid but I would say The Snow Goose or Where the Wild Things Are  is my all-time favourite children’s book.

Q: Why should children visit the library?

A: It will put them in touch with lots of books. [From an adult’s perspective books are] good for children’s development. If children read at an early age then they become more successful in school.

Q: What’s fun for children to do at library?

A: Audio book reading, where the children can listen to the auditory version of the book as well as read the text. There is also a book club, which is a lot of fun.

Q: What is your favourite memory at the library?

A: There are too many good memories to choose from. One of them would have to be little children discovering the beauty of books and reading. Another memory is of Emily Amner, who would read a ton of books and then come back and tell me about them with much excitement. Another special memory would have to be of the plus or minus six street kids who would come to the library and draw pictures which they would demand I look at. Being given the name Khanyisa (Khanyisa means to bring light) by the children who visit the library is also another memory I cherish dearly.

Q: What did you have planned for National Library Week?

A: We planned to increase membership and invite children from different schools over to the library. We had our normal reading club and a celebration on 19 March. We also had a volunteering Rhodes student come in and read to the kids.

Q: Something interesting about you?

A: I am an old school librarian. I do not like working on computers. I also believe that Libraries should be fun and not graves.

While with Kockott, she shared an interesting story with me about a young orphan who learnt that books were the best thing to ever happen to her after having been orphaned. This little girl would always go to the library to get books as a way of bringing her solace and recovery. This goes to show that reading is indeed good for the soul and that if you find the right book, reading can enhance your life.

 

Currie Street Library

Melanie Daniels

Q: What is your favourite children’s book?

A: Anything by Dr Seuss and Books are Friends. Books are Friends teaches people how to handle books and encourages kids to read.

This is for all the people who are wondering what Dr Seuss books are and books which books I would recommend you all read by the author, real name Theodor Seuss Geisel.

  1. The Lorax
  2. The Cat in the Hat
  3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  4. Green Eggs and Ham
  5. Fox in Socks

Q: Why should children visit the library?

A: Children should visit the library because it gets them used to books.

Q: What’s fun for children to do at the library?

A: There is plenty to do at the library. There is the jungle-gym outside which is a favourite amongst the little ones. Children can colour in and there is an audio corner where the children can both listen to the story being read aloud to them while also reading the text. We also have computers where older children can do research.

Q: What is your favourite memory at the library?

A: We once had a group of Rhodes University students come in and have a focus group. They were talking about romance fiction when one of the library regulars, an old woman, interrupted the conversation. She told the students together with children in the library about romance and all the children were impressed. She sadly passed away. Another good memory I have of the library is of a man who lived in Extension 9 in the township and he would come all the way from there to read in the library.

Q: What did you have planned for National Library Week?

A: We planned on having a library tour and our weekly book club and on inviting children at schools such as DD Siwisa, Grahamstown Primary School and Little Dragon to come and see the library, also to get the “library experience”.

Q: Something interesting about you?

A: I love cooking, knitting, crocheting and needlework in general. I also love children dearly.

While chatting to Daniels, I discovered that she genuinely loves her job and that she loves people. She got into being a librarian after following in her mom’s footsteps who was also a librarian. She became a librarian 19 years ago at the same Currie Street Library she worked with her mom. She said that her mom made her enjoy working in the library.

 

Fingo Library

Zandile Pinini

Q:  What is your favourite children’s book?

A: A book I still read to my children, Jack and the Beanstalk.

Q: Why should children visit the library?

A: Children should visit the library because there are lots of interesting books to read and there are books which are read to them as well which might make the experience even more fun.

Q: What’s fun for children to do at library?

A:  We have our story-telling sessions, we also screen DVDs sometimes which can be a lot of fun. There puzzles for them to build, book clubs and also computers which they can use. They can only use the computers recreationally for games and other non-school related things on Fridays or during the holidays. School work gets first preference.

Q: What is your favourite memory at the library?

A: My favourite memory would have to be of all the inter-actions that I have had with people who visit the library. As a librarian I also get to be the children’s teacher, parent and social worker. I say this because the children start opening up to you and sharing parts of their lives with you. That for me is one of the highlights of my job, knowing that I am approachable and that they have a person who they can talk to in times of need.

Q: Something interesting about you?

A: I don’t know if this interesting but I love relaxing. I also love the children who visit the library. Being able to go down to the children’s level of understanding is also something which I think makes me a better person.

Panini shared that one of her favourite parts about being a librarian is the fact that she gets a swarm of love letters from the children who visit the library. She said that she deeply appreciates this and while I was with her, one of these letters was being delivered.

 

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