The Hanging Library Project

The Hanging Library Project: How it Started

The Hanging Library Project started in 2022 through collaboration and funding from the HCI Foundation; you can read more about it here: What started as an idea to ensure that our beneficiaries could safely and neatly store and display their resources has evolved into a project that is blossoming and extending to hundreds of Early Childhood Development Centres and Playgroups countrywide.

After concluding our 2022 project with the HCI Foundation, we were asked to extend it to additional ECD Centres we could not reach in the first year. Thus, 2023 is our second consecutive year supporting 8 ECD Training Centres and Resource Centres across nine Provinces of South Africa with funding from the HCI Foundation. We are working with the same 7 ECD Training Centres and Resource Centres by extending our reach to additional ECD Centres they support. Sikhula Sonke is a new addition to our project for 2023, and we are excited to have them on board. All the ECD Training Centres and Resource Centres are receiving training support from the HCI Foundation. Through our donation of resources, the ECD Centres will now have the necessary resources to implement what they are learning during their training.

The Training Centres and Resource Centres receiving support are:

  1. Ntataise Trust in Free State and Northwest: 12 ECD Centres
  2. Ntataise Lowveld in Mpumalanga: 12 ECD Centres
  3. Khanimamba in Limpopo: 12 ECD Centres
  4. Lesedi Educare Association in Free Street: 12 ECD Centres
  5. Tshepang Educare in Free State: 11 ECD Centres
  6. Ubunye Foundation in Eastern Cape: 12 ECD Centres
  7. LETCEE in KwaZulu-Natal: 11 ECD Centres
  8. Sikhula Sonke in Western Cape: 12 ECD Centres

Why The Hanging Library?

Our objectives for the Hanging Library Project were always to:

  • Design a durable display and storage solution for ECD Centres: This was especially important because many ECD Centres we support do not have the facilities to display and store their resources properly.
  • Ensure that the design of the Hanging Library is dual-purposed: The hanging libraries can be hung at the ECD Centre as a display for their learners, or they can be folded and carried around by the Family Community Motivators who visit children and their caregivers at home.
  • Include the community and support our local economy: We intentionally partnered with women and local NGOs who could create the hanging library.
  • Ensure that the ECD Practitioners are included in the book selection process: At the beginning of the project, each Training Centre is sent a sample pack of 10 books they can share with their Centres. The Centres can then select the books they prefer in their book donation, and Biblionef will select the remaining books. The Training Centres will keep and use these packs of books when training their Centres.

Biblionef has been supporting ECD Centres for 21 years, and our storage solution has always been our roller boxes and book trunks, allowing ECD Practitioners to store their donated books and toys easily. Understanding the lived experience of our beneficiaries and what they need to best display and store their resources sparked the creation of the hanging library. The hanging library is a versatile display option that allows Practitioners with limited space and facilities to hang it anywhere, for example, behind a door, on a hook on the wall, and one of our beneficiaries even hung it outside on a tree.

Below are some comments from our beneficiaries about the hanging libraries.

Empowering Women and Stimulating the Local Economy

A cornerstone belief of this programme and our work, in general, is that meaningful impact cannot happen in silos.

For 2023, we partnered with two women, Beauty Mavuso and Audrey Morkel, who are self-employed seamstresses working in Khayelitsha and Bonteheuwel. In addition, we also partnered with the Ubunye Foundation through their Uthando Programme. Without this talented team of the hanging library would not have been created. Their skill and talent brought our vision of the hanging library to life. Early on, there was an option to work with a large manufacturing company to mass-produce the hanging libraries to have a quicker turnaround time. However, this did not appeal to us because we aim to support our local small businesses and NGOs. Click on the photographs below to meet the women behind the making of the hanging libraries.

Click on the image below to see how we pack the hanging library


The Future of the Hanging Library Project

This project has grown beyond anything we could have expected. Since our initial project in 2022, we have offered the Hanging Library Project to other ECD Centres and donors, all of whom are thrilled by the concept. Our beneficiaries are delighted with the dual purpose of the hanging library.

In 2023, we have completed four Hanging Library Projects, including the project with the HCI Foundation:

  • With funding from the Fulton Trust, we supported 27 ECD Centres receiving support from Zero2Five in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • The Jim Joel Fund allowed us to support 101 ECD Centres in KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, and Mpumalanga. These ECD Centres are affiliated with five Training Centres: Impande, Lesedi Educare Association, LETCEE, Lulamaphiko, and Masakane Trust.
  • Through our self-sustainability efforts, we assisted Newlands Rotary in completing their multiyear project by providing 39 ECD Centres in Langa with hanging libraries.

Below is an overview of what we have achieved with our Hanging Library Project since 2022

We could not have anticipated how well the hanging libraries would be received by our beneficiaries. We are thrilled by this new chapter in our organisation, and cannot wait to see how this programme will flourish in the years to come. Thank you once again to the HCI Foundation for sparking the initial conversation and providing us with the funds to realise this landmark project at Biblionef.