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Glasgow Libraries need your books

Libraries across Glasgow are asking residents to donate their unwanted children’s books this month, as part of a city-wide drive to collect English language books for children in South Africa.

The initiative, delivered by Action for Southern Africa (Scotland) (ACTSA Scotland) and supported by Glasgow Life, is calling on Glaswegians to donate children’s books of all kinds, to encourage reading for fun and help young South Africans develop fluency in English. 

Councillor Archie Graham, the Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Here in Glasgow we have a strong relationship with South Africa, having been the first city in the world to honour Nelson Mandela with the Freedom of the City, in 1981; nine years before he was released from jail.

“I’m proud that for the past twenty years we have supported this fantastic project and I would urge all residents to donate their unwanted children’s books to one of the seven participating libraries across the city, to enable as many children as possible across South Africa to benefit from this initiative.”

Launched in 1995, the ACTSA Scotland book drive has collected over 450,000 children’s books to date, for school libraries in Nelson Mandela’s home province of Eastern Cape. This year, organisers are hoping to bring the total number of books donated to South Africa school libraries to over half a million.

John Nelson, Secretary of ACTSA Scotland, said: “We are very pleased that Glasgow Libraries are once again playing such an important role in marking Nelson Mandela International Day in Scotland.  

“Their support for the Book Appeal over the 20 years it has been running, and for Mandela Day in the four years since it was established in Scotland, has been invaluable. 

“It's fitting that they are so involved at this key stage of the project as we work to collect our first half million books from Scotland. We would encourage all residents in Glasgow to help us reach this target by donating children's books at their nearest participating library."

Children in South Africa are taught in English from the third year of primary school, and are therefore encouraged to read English-language stories for pleasure, to increase fluency and understanding. 

Story books and factual books in good condition, for all ages from pre-school to teenagers, are welcome – books that will amuse, absorb, inform and catch the imagination of young readers – with collection points set up in libraries across the city.

Unwanted children’s books can be donated at Cardonald, Dennistoun, Hillhead, Langside, Maryhill and Shettleston Community Libraries, as well as the iconic Mitchell Library in Glasgow.

The books will be loaded in to a shipping container by volunteers at Hillhead Library and dispatched from Glasgow City Chambers on Nelson Mandela International Day, Saturday 18th July.     

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