SINT MAARTEN (DUTCH QUARTER) - The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset launched its fifth Little Free Library on the island at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Primary School in the presence of the school’s Adjunct School Manager, Tr. Minerva Marlin-Cooper, teachers and students as well as members of Rotary Sunset. The momentous launch took place on October 14th, 2021.
The concept of the Little Free Library was initially introduced in 2009 by Rotarian Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin and the idea quickly spread throughout thousands of communities in the United States, with the goal of creating awareness on the importance of literacy. The Little Free Library is certainly not a new one for the island of St. Martin, as Rotary Sunset initially introduced the first little free library in December 2018 with its initial launch on the Marigot Waterfront.
In addition, Rotary Sunset now has free little libraries located at the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex, Simpson Bay Community Center and at the University of St. Martin. The objective of the little free library is mainly to advocate the importance of reading and to promote literacy, a key area of focus for Rotary clubs worldwide.
“We received an outpouring of support and encouragement from members of the community with the installation of our first little library on the French side and we decided that there was a need to construct additional little libraries which will be installed at various locations around the island.
Today, we are extremely grateful for the support of the Management and staff of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Primary School and for the generous donation of Rotarian Lionel Lawrence, who built and installed this little free library,” President Anatol stated.
Rotarian Lionel Lawrence in a brief statement expressed his gratitude and pride to Rotary Sunset and to MLK for permitting him the opportunity to give back to his community by not only contributing financially to this initiative but also trusting him to construct and install it, as well.
“My mother always told me that if you can’t read and write a dog is better off than you. Therefore, when this project arose, I personally endorsed it as I saw the importance to advocate and stimulate reading and literacy, amongst our youth, especially of Dutch Quarter and MLK. I always had an infinity to reading and by extension, writing, and when I heard that the club wanted to install a free little library in Dutch Quarter, I leaped at the opportunity and ensured that this project was executed and completed, with the very best in mind. Placing this free little library at this location, here in Dutch Quarter and MLK is personal for me, as I am not only a resident of Dutch Quarter, but I was born and raised right here in this district. Additionally, I am also a proud alumnus of MLK, so this gives me more than enough reasons, why we are here today. I encourage all those who will be utilizing the free little library to take good care of it, read as much as you can and treat it like a personal bookshelf in your home,” Rotarian Lawrence added.
MLK’s Adjunct School Manger, Tr. Minerva Marlin-Cooper, thanked the club for their efforts in the community and for considering MLK to house one of its little free libraries with MLK also being the first school on the island to have a free little library. Tr Marlin-Cooper along with MLK students, Rotary Sunset’s President Anatol, sponsor Rotarian Lionel Lawrence and his son, Aijden Lawrence, symbolically cut the ribbon to officially declare the free little library open to the public.
The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to encourage the general public to pass by the little library, take a book and leave a book. Members of the community are urged to donate books they are no longer using to either of the club’s little libraries. The club would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Rotarian Lionel Lawrence for his generous donation and to Jacques Annicette for his support and assistance towards this initiative.