by Donella Hosten
The ribbon to Grenada’s Community Library and Resource Centre was officially cut on Monday, 9 January 2017, as its doors were publicly opened followed by a brief ceremony and viewing of the facility.
According to Honorary Consul of Mexico to Grenada, Magdalena Fielden, who was present at the opening, “it’s been a long road to get here.” Clearly excited about the reality of the opening, Mrs Fielden added that “this is just the beginning… we should all be very proud.”
She stated that this is a critical time, and children ought to be able to learn about what is happening around them, especially since Grenada has no public library. Fielden pledged her administration’s support to the Library. “We will support the Library, we will bring books, we will be there.”
Also speaking at the opening ceremony, was Grenadian Historian, John Angus Martin. He encouraged persons to read as much as possible and reminded them of the importance of reading. “If you want to write well, you have to read,” he stressed. Martin thanked the persons who assisted on this venture. One of the things he also focused on is having a mini archive or a national archive in Grenada, where students can come in to do research.
Hon. Alexandra Otway–Noel congratulated those who played a role in the Library’s opening becoming a reality. “I think what you’ve done is tremendous. It is a huge contribution to the young people in our country.” Otway–Noel extended congratulations on behalf of the Government, and “as a friend of the Library, I’m here to support in any way that I can, and I wish you all the very best in going forward.
Co-founder of the Grenada Community Library, Oonya Kempadoo, reminisced on the time it took for them to get to where they are now. She said they started in a small room, with a few boxes of books and about 20 children; now they’re up to 2,000 members.
“With the kind patronage of James Bristol, this building, a magnificent building of 2 floors all dedicated to [the] Library and Resource Centre.” Mr Bristol, who was unfortunately absent at the opening, donated the use of the 2-storey building at No. 7 Lucas Street, St George’s, and for this, Ms Kempadoo expressed her gratitude.
According Ms Kempadoo, the Community Library came about as a result of the closure of the National Library. Sharing how proud and happy she was about where they are now and where they want to be, she urged and encouraged persons to come out to assist. “Your help is still needed to help grow this little library into this rich and gracious home for literature…”
The Library holds a diverse collection of books, including those authored by Grenadian writers; and the Centre is owned and operated by Grenadians.
Newly appointed manager of the Library, KizzyAnn Abraham shared some of the visions and expected programmes on their agenda. “The most important thing we are going to try to do within the next 5 months, is to strengthen our existing programmes.” These include chess on Tuesdays for secondary school students, adult literacy classes on Mondays and Thursdays, storytime for primary school students, and the reintroduction of art classes on Saturdays for “young, budding artists.”
The young manager said although they are interested in introducing new programmes, they need to connect with the surrounding schools to find out the weaknesses and needs of their students, and “how the Library can be used as a resource centre.” They will continue to work with other partners and community groups in order to have “effective programmes.”
A number of book presentations and donations were made during the ceremony. Also gracing the audience were local artistes, storytellers, and poets.