Local book tsunami for International Literacy Day

Posted on 20/11/2017 · Posted in Dialogos

In celebration of International Literacy Day at Stellenbosch University this year, the Reading Lab of the Language Centre instigatedt about a book tsunami in the Neelsie (the Langenhoven Student Centre) on 11 September.

A large number of donated books was placed in the Neelsie for anyone to take. Each book was issued with a Language Centre sticker beforehand, stating that the book was free of charge, that anyone could take it and that, when the reader was done with the book, it should be passed on to someone else. The takers in the Neelsie, mostly students, were flabbergasted. They could not believe that they were allowed to take any book that they wanted without having to pay for it. The project may not have promoted digital literacy – this year’s focus – directly, but book literacy and the ‘pay it forward’ principle reigned supreme.

Since July, staff at the Language Centre have been donating books towards the project, with donations adding up to a generous nine black bags of books. The idea came from famous actress Emma Watson’s Book Fairy project, which entailed her and other ‘book fairies’ leaving books in public places for people to find, read and pass on to a next reader.

The Reading Lab plans to launch the book tsunami once again next year and has already started collecting books for the event. If you have books you would like to donate, take them to the Reading Lab at 7 Bosman Street, Stellenbosch, during office hours, or e-mail Vernita Beukes, leader of the project.

‘Literacy in a digital world’ was the theme for International Literacy Day on 8 September this year. In her message on this day, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, said: “This year, the event is devoted to better understanding the type of literacy required in a digital world to build more inclusive, equitable and sustainable societies. Everyone should be able to make the most of the benefits of the new digital age, for human rights, for dialogue and exchange, for more sustainable development.”

tsunami collage1