In our first library feature, we’re taking you to Gigiri to learn more about The Bookworm Library. It is privately owned and offers support to the Gigiri area and its environs. An intimate space that has much to offer to the book lovers who are on the lookout for unique books.

Tell us a bit about your Library

The Bookworm is at the Craft Centre in Gigiri amidst an array of small businesses. From a small under the stairs flower shop to a multi chain hardware store, the Craft Centre is a very unique mix. The space is very welcoming to new ‘first’ businesses. You can set up a space with little working capital and you are given a chance to spread your wings. A real place for dreamers. Our working hours are Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm, and Saturday 1pm-4pm. The Bookworm carries 80% fiction – 20% non-fiction, out of which 60% are adult books and 40% children’s and YA books. Our fiction spans a vast breadth of genres, but they tend to be the best of their genres. ‘Best’ being not by sales numbers, but by their impact on the reader.

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Who can Benefit from your library?

Anyone who likes to read, to get lost into a story that makes you think. A story that carries you away from the fleeting moments that social media offers us today.

Describe your library using 3 adjectives.

I can think of 4 befitting adjectives. Unique, Intimate, Welcoming and Supporting.

What is your library top 3 must reads for kids and adults?

For kids I always recommend the Little People, Big Dreams series as in my opinion it introduces great themes to kids that our education system has not made a structured space for, but are inherent to our society, e.g. racism, courage, standing up against the wrongs – our education system unfortunately does not prepare children to our realities and when we have to face them, we are told to just deal with them.

For adults I like to think that I am unbiased when I give recommendations, but after asking new members – whose reading history I don’t have – what they read last etc. I do steer them towards my favourites. Zadie Smith, Kate Atkinson and Jhumpa Lahiri are three of my favourite writers.

What has been the biggest surprise about working in a library?

I have been surprised by the positive reception of the library; some members come from far just to check out books. They could be getting the same books as a 50 bob PDFs, but I think the factor of discovering your next read on a shelf, leafing through books – instead of downloading a sample – and talking ‘books’ with me is alluring. That came as a surprise. I had not anticipated so many readers being so ‘like me’.

What is your favorite childhood book and why did you love it?

My favourite childhood books are by writers Erich Kaestner, Astrid Lindgren and Christine Noestlinger. I don’t keep them at the library funnily, because they are from a completely different world it seems. Most deal with National Socialist times in Europe between the two world wars.

Why are libraries an important body in our community? What role do they play? Where does the bookworm fit into this important play?

When I was a child, librarians were like guides to completely new worlds. Picking a book – one book that is – from rows of shelves is a daunting task. You are pretty much set up to fail, unless you know what you are looking for. Librarians, most of whom are very well read, help you uncover treasures you did not know exist. Libraries provide a safe space for people to explore, discover and escape. The bookworm exists to offer my community in Gigiri and its environs the same experience I had as a kid. That of travelling around the world from the pages of a book and sensitizing my imagination.

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What kind of book do you think should be read more? What kind are a popular ask?

I think people should read what they have not read before. That means, if you read Africana, try reading hard boiled American crime. If you read thrillers, read some contemporary fiction. Read diverse. In terms of genres, but also in terms of the writers. At the Bookworm, a popular ask is Africana and Women’s Fiction by Black Writers.

Apart from reading material, what else does your library offer?

We have a 40ft container above the library which we hire out for Art Exhibitions, workshops and other events. Our terrace at the front can also be hired out for pop -ups, be it fashion or food, we are open to all. We also offer regular workshops led by third party partners. Our current offerings, include book swaps, embroidery, crotchet classes, and flower arrangement. In future we want to incorporate coffee-with-an -expert, book clubs and engaging talks.

How have you coped since COVID struck and how have you kept the love of books alive in your community?

The Bookworm is actually very much a Covid baby. Were it not for Covid, the space where The Bookworm is, would have been our office and we would have continued doing communication work. Covid taught us to rethink what we want to spend our time doing. And keeping the love for books, art and creativity alive is what we want to do.

Fun is a very broad concept. What about your library concept would you consider to be fun in your own understanding of fun?

Our library concept is fun, because it is the safest space to get out of your comfort zone.

Keep up to date with The Bookworm:

Instagram: thebookworm_gigiri


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