Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

19 December 2014

HCL Transforms Children's Section into Fantastic World

The new-look interior of the Children’s Library, a section of the Harare City Library

Harare City Library (HCL) has renovated its Children’s Library, making it a modern, comfortable space for reading. The new bean bags, cubicles, and the enticing colourful wall mural have altogether transformed the children’s section into a fantasy world.
It is going to be fun for children to read while sinking in a bean bag chair and surrounded by books and the beautiful mural of forest animals portrayed on one of the walls.
In a recent interview, HCL consultant librarian Edwin Madziwo said that they believe this children’s section is very important because this is where future learners are nurtured and therefore the need to make the place have a dramatic impact upon the kids.
“Now that the renovations are complete, children and their families should brace for exciting activities next year. We intend to introduce various activities suitable for the children,” he said.
The activities, according to Madziwo, include introducing monthly library visiting days for pre-school and primary school children, painting games, writing and reading competitions and many more. He also said the HCL is contemplating on introducing science for children.
“In this new-look arena, we also want the children to conduct the basic science experiments that demand no huge resources, simple scientific activities that will brighten them up,” said Madziwo.
Should the HCL succeed in establishing this children’s mini-laboratory, it would undoubtedly identify and nurture talents in diverse fields and this is what Zimbabwe is looking for.
The HCL had in the past been calling for parents to bring their children to the library so that they can enjoy a wide range of fantastic books and activities. This year, the HCL hosted a Swedish/Zimbabwean Children’s Literature Day as a means to get parents and children become aware of the significance of reading for pleasure. HCL has also been in charge of the Children’s Reading Tent at the annual Zimbabwe International Book Fair. The Children’s Reading Tent has over the years proved to be a useful and fun-filled outdoor event for children from different backgrounds.
Eleven year old Tatenda Mutanga from Northwood Adventist Primary School in Mt Pleasant captured here while she was enjoying reading in the Children's Library

Madziwo said the HCL committee believes that children are an important constituency in the building of a literate society and hence they saw it prudent to provide the children with reading space which they cherish.
While child-sized bean bags keep children calm and soothed, they also have a health-related advantage because they help children with sensory processing disorders to stay calm. The bean bags are also safe because they do not hurt like the wooden or steel or plastic chairs when they break. This awareness of children’s needs makes the library even more useful to all kinds of children.
The mural, done by Boarding Dzinotizei, a gifted independent artist, and the company Aerosol, portray a vivid forest with animals going about their different movements. Friendly eyed elephants stand on the side of a pool of water, giraffe towers above other animals while a monkey is perched on a tree under which there are two zebras taking a rest, this fantasy world encourages an awareness of art among kids.
Madziwo said the small-sized, colourful cubicles they have added are in preparation for ICT which will be introduced soon in the Children’s library. Furthermore, the HCL has already purchased Android tablets which are going to be helpful in the outreach programmes targeting disadvantaged children.
The outreach will see HCL lending the tablets to orphanages and other children institutions for a stipulated period during which the children will be taught how to use the new technology. To encourage reading culture, the library offers free use of the Children’s Library to primary school children but when they (school children) want to borrow books they are entitled to pay a subscription.
Harare City Library is still beaming with inspiration from yet another milestone event that saw it receiving a huge collection of adults’ books from the late great writer Doris Lessing’s literary estate. Renovations of the entire library, including the Children’s Library, have been done with financial support from the Culture Fund Trust in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden in Zimbabwe.

 Harare City Library, a place for reading pleasure


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