In an effort to keep the youth off the streets and away from a life of crime, Delft Public Library has introduced a gaming section.
Created by the library’s director, Ashley Lewis, the gaming initiative provides a safe space for children to play, and it also creates an incentive for reading and learning as patrons are required to have library memberships, borrow books regularly, and complete their homework before being allowed on the PlayStation.
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According to News24, Ashley Lewis, manager and director of the Delft Library on the Cape Flats, says the library has been inundated with children on a daily basis since launching the initiative.
However, they must first become library members. Before they can play, they must first check out a book on their newly created library card and read it, beginning with one easy-read book. They must also complete their homework in the library first. According to Lewis, the number of children visiting the library increased from 4 to 25 in the first few days of the project.
Lewis told SABC News that it was difficult at first:
“So, what I try to think of what our children are struggling with, it’s the reading and the homework. So, let’s attach that to gaming and give them the motivation by doing the homework you get a chance of playing the game by reading a book you get a chance of playing the game and the game is a motivation for them. And now, I know I am working towards getting our children literate.”
After class on any school day, children can visit the library, get a library card and enjoy themselves. A librarian assistant will move the children to the reading corner after about 15 minutes of game time.
Lewis grew up in a disadvantaged community, and he says being targeted for not being able to read is debilitating. Only three children took part in his project when it first began a few weeks ago. But now, over 100 children visit the library on a weekly basis.
The games are appealing, but children are also borrowing books, enthralled by the world of stories and ideas.
Lewis hopes to expand the project to other libraries throughout the city to encourage more children to read.
A staff member managing the library’s social media page shared the following message:
“Dear Delft Library Facebook Followers
Look at what we achieved as a library. Look at all the children that visits the library now and are now off the street. They are becoming educated and entertained at the same time. We are going after every child, Youth and Adult in the community.”
Delft Public Library details:
- Hours: Monday: 10am – 7pm | Tuesday: 10am – 6pm | Wednesday: 10am – 6pm | Thursday: 10am – 7pm | Friday: 10am – 5pm | Saturday: 9am – 1pm
- Address: Delft Public Library | Voorbrug Road, Delft, Cape Town
- Contact: 021 400 5397 | [email protected]
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Picture: Delft Library / Facebook