The Child looked up at the librarian with arms wrapped around two books and quietly hopeful eyes.

“ I’m sorry! You can’t borrow those until you have found the missing book and paid the fine.  Do you know where the book is?” asked the librarian encouragingly.

The child’s shoulders drooped as he shook his head.

“How much does the lost book cost?” asked a stranger in the queue.  “R32”, replied the librarian matter of factly.

“I would like to pay for the missing book and the fine”, said the stranger handing over a R100 note.  The note changed hands over the child’s head, a re-entry pass into the world of knowledge, fantasy and literacy.

The eyes of a number of people in the queue that day reflected the child’s murmured “thank-you”.