Free State Ceremony: Impact Analysis report and handing over of Start-up libraries in the Free State (9/22/2016)

On 22 September 2016 SAPESI organised a ceremony in Bloemfontein, Free State, where a report on research commissioned by the University of the Free State and VVOB was presented. 


One of the start-up library in Free State
One of start-up libraries in the Free State


This report outlined the impact of the Mobile Library Project on rural schools in the Free State.  At the same function fifteen start-up libraries for rural schools were also officially handed over to the Free State Department of Education.


In Free State, 10 mobile libraries are visiting over 300 schools which covers about 1/3 non-library schools. In order to validate the impact of the project, the research was conducted over 2 years from the beginning of 2015. Through the guidance of VVOB and the University of Free State, all involved in the mobile library operation (Resource Coordinators, Media Subject Advisors, Library Assistants, Mobile Operators, teachers and principals) conducted participatory action research whereby they reflected on their contribution and how best to improve it. They also participated in the writing of the final report.


Main findings of the research

- both teachers and learners handled and used books and enjoyed reading

- a clear improvement in children’s reading comprehension in English

- various ways of using books in a classroom setting were developed 

- the research process was also a capacity development exercise for mobile library operators and library assistants. 


The research findings have since led to an additional initiative in the Free State in which guidelines were developed for teachers on how to integrate library resources into their teaching programme. 


Moreover, 15 start-up libraries (500 books) were set up at schools where teachers and learners are using books effectively after a few years’ visits by a mobile library. In these schools, learners now can choose and read books every day. SAPESI would like to thank the sponsors of these libraries namely SA Taxi Foundation, Sumitomo Corp Africa, Biblionef, and Sony. We are planning to set up more start-up libraries in 2017.



VVOB website:

Mobile Library Final Report: Download