SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The book published by House of Nehesi (HNP) that was checked out the most from Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) in 2020, is Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin by Rhoda Arrindell.
Last Friday, PJL librarian Francia Housen provided the list of “The top 10 books from HNP that were checked out for the year 2020,” said HNP’s Jacqueline Sample.
Dr. Arrindell’s book topped the list, followed by Nativity / Nativité / Natividad, the trilingual edition of the Atlantic World long poem by Lasana M. Sekou.
The illustrated storybook Lizzy Lizard by Robin Boasman and St. Martin Massive! A Snapshot of Popular Artists took third place in going home with library users.
The HNP books that tied at fourth place in 2020, are: Hurricane Protocol by Sekou, An Introduction to Government by Louis L. Duzanson, The Rainy Season by Drisana Deborah Jack, Cul-de-Sac People by Mathias S. Voges, After the Storm by Tamara Groeneveldt, and pioneerseries booklet Chester York – Making of a Panman.
Jack’s first poetry book The Rainy Season (1996), started appearing on HNP’s top “check out” list at PJL in 2009. “What’s interesting is how Drisana’s book looked like it had popped up out of the blue that year,” said Sample, HNP’s president.
St. Martin Massive! appeared on the top 10 list nine years after its publication in 2000. Since 2009, the book has been competing to be checked out with National Symbols of St. Martin, a long-standing favorite at the front of the list.
In 2020, National Symbols did not make the list it usually dominates. “Over the years, librarians told us that books taken home don’t reflect the full use of books at PJL. HNP publications, such as the pioneerseries, may have high in-library use for homework, pleasurable reading, and research and are not listed as borrowed,” said Sample.
The space available for the public at PJL has been significantly scaled down at its temporary location on WJA Nisbeth Road. The library building on Voges Street was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017.
The HNP books checked out for the pandemic year 2020 by PJL cardholders are all by St. Martin authors. “This is not always the case but I vaguely remember a similar book sales and reading trend right after Hurricane Luis in 1995,” said Sample.
The indie press has published books by writers from the USA, Italy, Israel, India, and throughout the Caribbean.
HNP is celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2021. “In the mid-1990s, HNP started looking at library use and bookstore sales of its books, to get more information about reading habits related to books published on the island,” said Sample.
Cul-de-Sac People – A St. Martin family series by Mathias S. Voges, published by HNP in 2006.