Merrivale woman opens fourth library

2015-09-06 08:33
Delighted pupils from Crystal Springs Primary get books from Maureen Snowden at their new library yesterday.

Delighted pupils from Crystal Springs Primary get books from Maureen Snowden at their new library yesterday. (Ian Carbutt)

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BETH Drennan, Merrivale resident and retired primary school teacher, is championing an initiative to open libraries for under-resourced schools.

Aided by Maureen Snowden, librarian at the Jabula Combined School at Lidgetton, Drennan opened her fourth library yesterday at the Crystal Springs Junior School at Lidgetton.

Both pupils and teachers were excited about the new library, as teacher-librarian Nomusa Ndlovu said: “I’m overwhelmed … We are so grateful for the help. I am a full-time teacher, and I don’t have time to run the library.”

After retiring, Drennan felt she needed to make a contribution to her community around Merrivale. Noting numerous schools’ severe lack of resources, she decided to open a library for the schoolchildren in her area. After “begging and borrowing”, Drennan recounts, the library was successfully opened at Cedara.

Fuelling her passion to help local children, she is driven by the severe lack of resources in underprivileged schools.

After attending school at former Model C schools before teaching at these schools later, she has been shocked by the drastic contrast in resources between the two. However, she needs assistance in terms of funding and with books.

Libraries are not her only initiative. She also works with Zulu-speaking teachers to help them understand the importance of English phonics.

“[Phonics were] not taught to the Zulu teachers by the apartheid government and continues to plague the education system,” said Drennan, who also supplies the schools with educational visual aids to assist them.

Drennan has a team of retirees who manage the libraries, and she has received donations from many well-resourced schools and Education Library Information and Technology Services (Elits), a government department that provides under-privileged schools with books. Many teachers have reported on how much the pupils’ work improves once they have made use of the facility.

• Drennan can be contacted at 079 566 4475, and welcomes anyone who is willing to “help put a book in a child’s hand”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  books

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