SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - K1 Britannia Foundation with the help of volunteers have built and assembled four mini libraries that are currently located at the Emilio Wilson Park, John Larmonie Center in Philipsburg, and St. Peters at the Rupert Maynard Community Center – the fourth library is to be placed in the Belvedere Community.
The inspiration behind the project was the temporary closure of the St. Maarten Jubilee Library, and the need to facilitate learning and leisurely reading because of easy access to reading materials.
The libraries were built and installed over the course of 4 days, during SXM DOET, by 17 different volunteers including Jake and Stephanie Bonds of Bonds Construction who lead the project, K1/National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) carpentry students who were able to put their learnt skills into practice, 4 UTS staff, and many others who came to assist and share their skills.
“It was a wonderful sight to see different volunteers come together, connect, learn, and use their creativity to build these community libraries from scratch. It shows the importance of volunteers and the impact they can collectively have on the community when working together towards a common goal” reflected Chiaira Bowers, Little Libraries Project Manager.
The process included the cutting and assembly of wood, painting and beautification of the bookshelves, installing at various locations and filling the libraries with donated books received by the foundation.
“The Little Libraries” is a global concept with over 75,000 little libraries present in approximately 88 countries. The idea behind the community libraries is to inspire the community to invoke the spirit of giving, trust and community building. K1 encourages persons to share a book, with a complete stranger, with the opportunity to take a book.
The Little Libraries Project Leaders Chiaira Bowers and Tanvi Goklani chose the Emilio Wilson Park, John Larmonie Center and Rupert Maynard Community Center because it covers large and key community areas and places where families and youth gather and reside. The library also adds a different element to Emilio Wilson Park after K1 installed benches for visitors during last year’s SXM DOET.
Connie Francis-Gumbs, Director of St. Maarten Youth Council Association mentioned, “Having the little library at the Rupert Maynard Community Center is an encouragement for the children to read. The little library will always have new books we can share with them outside of our own library and it’s a great way for them to get into reading - which is a difficult thing, unfortunately. ”
Tanvi Goklani, K1 Communications Manager, added “Reading and easy access to books should be a fundamental right for persons of all ages, we hope through the little libraries, that the public will take advantage of paper-back books in this day and age of technology, and find joy in sharing collected books with others.”
K1 would like to acknowledge and commend Rotary Sunset for their installations of little libraries on the island and persons who have similar concepts around the island. Individuals have already donated books to the foundation and placed books in the libraries.
Currently, all three libraries are filled with books and persons can visit any location, take a book and leave their personal books for someone else to enjoy. The libraries would not be possible without the support of management of all locations for seeing the importance of giving access to books to the community and approving the installation of the library.
K1 Project Manager Chiaira Bowers explaining to the children how the little library works.