The Sunbird Library – A special Library Makeover

Biblionef South Africa and the Otto Foundation have a shared goal – creating life-long readers. Therefore, when the opportunity presented for us to partner with the Otto Foundation, we jumped at it!

The Otto Foundation is an education-focused philanthropic organisation established in 2016. They support Primary Schools in becoming sites for quality education and safe nurturing spaces for children. They achieve this goal through collaboration and strategic partnerships with education innovators who creatively share their vision and contribute to school excellence.

When we first met with the Otto Foundation to establish how we could work together, we discovered they were already working at Chapel Street Primary School in District Six. Along with their donors, Clicks South Africa, The Kamvalethu Foundation, and The Waterfront Rotary Club, the Otto Foundation sought to construct a new Grade R classroom which would free up space in the school building for a fully-fledged school library. The Otto Foundation would manage the library space conversion, support the library’s ongoing operation, and maintain an active library and reading programme in the school; however, funding was limited. This is where Biblionef would step in and provide support.

With the fantastic support of our donors, Wings of Support and Wilde Ganzen Foundation, we were able to partner with the Otto Foundation and provide the library with the following:

  1. A donation of 1 450 new books comprising of fiction and non-fiction titles. The books donated are in the children’s home languages of isiXhosa, Afrikaans and English.
  2. Reference materials and teacher resources
  3. Essential library resources to ensure that the library is operable, i.e. library software, library materials (date slips, book-ends, etc.), and a contribution towards tables and shelving.
  4. The Otto Foundation has appointed a library assistant, and Biblionef has contributed towards this for the first year.

On Tuesday, 27 September 2022, we attended the official opening of Chapel Street Primary’s school library, formally known as The Sunbird Library. In attendance were the donors, supporters of Chapel Street Primary and the Western Cape Minister of Education, David Maynier.

The Sunbird library was impeccably put together, from the stunning design elements to the clean layout and exciting display of books. The Sunbird Library is a beautiful space that its learners will enjoy for many years. This project is a testament to the power of collaboration and what is possible when organisations come together to achieve a common goal. We are proud of our partnership with the Otto Foundation and cannot wait for it to grow from strength to strength.