Our children are the readers of tomorrow. We need to introduce them to the library to ensure that the libraries of today will still exists in the future. Each library within the City of Cape Town has their own way of involving the children of the community in the library. Reading programmes, holiday programmes and school outreach programmes are all being used to get the children to read. Some widely know slogans like "if you read, you lead" and 'readers are leaders" are used in several of these programmes.
Children of all ages can make use of the library. The different categories for the junior library users are the following:
  • Board books: Board books are a type of children's book printed on thick paperboard. Each page panel is a minimum of two plies of paper-bond thickness. Board books are very durable and consequently intended for small children who often tend to be destructive and unpredictable.
  • Picture books: This is the selection of books in the Easy section of the library, intended for the beginner reader with minimum words and maximum pictures.
  • JE books: These junior easy books are for the children in grade 1 to 2. There are more sentences and longer paragraphs than in the Picture books.
  • JEJ books: This is a step up from the JE books. They are for the children in grade 2 to 4. They have very few pictures and much more paragraphs. The books also get longer with more pages and smaller words.
  • Junior (J) books: These books are for the children in grade 4 to 7. The fluent readers will enjoy these books with more detailed stories and barely any pictures.
  • Junior teenage (JT) books: These books are for the young teenagers. They have much longer story-lines and with hardly ever any pictures, leaving the readers to build the picture in their heads.
  • Teenager (T) books: These books are for the teenagers, age 13 and up. Social issues, vampires and more intense love stories will be included here. The teenagers are also introduced to much thicker and more intense stories with various twists.
  • Careers and Study aids: The career and study aid books are available for all school grades. They help with the various subjects that are covered in school. Study aids for the various literature books that are discussed in Afrikaans and English are also in this area.
  • Pamphlet collection: Some libraries have a collection of newspaper or magazine articles that are filed in the pamphlet collection. These articles can then be used for projects if the books in the library are not available or if the books contain outdated information. Some libraries also collect articles on topics that they know are hard to find in the books.

Library orientation

To make use of the library children need to know the rules and regulations. Libraries regularly have orientation days, where a school group is brought to the library to show the children the library and what they can and cannot do. During these orientation sessions the children are taught how to handle books in the proper manner. Pictures are used and questions are asked.
After the lesson the children are treated with a story or two and then sometimes even some arts and crafts where they can make bookmarks for their books.
Some of the Grade 3's attending the library orientation at Goodwood Libary

How to handle books
1. Keep your books in a single place. Don't let it lay
around and get lost.
2. Keep your books out of reach of little children or
pets. They might damage the books.
3. Make sure your hands are clean before you
use/read a book

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4. Don't eat or drink while you are reading a book.

5. Hold a book in such a way that the spine is
supported and is not bent and broken.

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6. Page a book from the top corner and don't wet
your fingers to page a book

7. Use a book in such a way that it is not damaged when
you are done. Other library users also need to use those


8. Use thin, flat bookmarks to keep your place in a
9. Protect your books from the rain by carrying it in
a plastic bag


10. When you need to make notes, make the notes
on a separate notepad and don't write, underline or
encircle the words in the book.

Children programmes

Reading programmes

All libraries have reading programmes during the year. This will sometimes be in a form of a competition with nice prizes to be won. Each library has their own way of organising a reading programme so for specific information contact the library where you would like to take part in a reading programme.

How does the reading programmes usually work?
A list of books that is suitable for the target age group is drawn up by the librarian. The list is then taken to the schools in the area and the programme is introduced. The children then go to the library and take a list to become part of the programme. The books on the list are usually separated from the other books to make sure it is easy to find for the children, especially when it is an age group of 5-6 years. Once the children return the books, the book on their list are marked of with a star or other type of marker to indicate that they finished the books. If the child finishes the list, it is given to the librarian and she then writes out a certificate to the child. If there is a competition, the list is kept until the prizes are drawn. For the older children, 12 years and up, it is requested that a short summery of each book is handed in with the completed list.
Some of the children taking part in a reading programme with the books that they enjoyed the most.

Holiday programmes

Holiday programmes are run in the four school holidays during the year. Depending on the library, the programme can be spread over a week or more with various different activities each day. A topic is chosen for the programme (eg. spiders) and then all the activities is drawn up from that (eg. reading spider stories, learning facts about spiders, making spider crafts, singing spider songs). These programmes are also different for each library. To know what the libraries in your community are planning for the school holiday, contact them directly.

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Children busy with Arts and Crafts during a holiday programme.

Two librarians with some of the children that made animal masks during a holiday programme that revolved around animals.

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A puppet show that was done by the SPCA during a holiday programme

Story hours
All libraries in the City of Cape Town has story hours. The regularity of the story hours depend on the library where you want to go. During story hours, the stories are read and told to the children and the children also take part in activities that are related to the story (for example they will sing the incy-wincy-spider song if they read a story on spiders).

Sometimes only a small group attend the story hour and other times larger groups attend. In some cases the librarian invites the schools or creches in the area to join the story hours. This is then a nice outing for the children as well as a learning opportunity.
Grade 3 learners from Koos Sadie Primary School listening to a story during a story hour at Goodwood Library