Bring back the library

Jamaica Library Service, Green Island residents appeal

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer West writer

Thursday, August 09, 2018

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GREEN ISLAND, Hanover — There are echoing calls from Hanoverians as well as an executive of the Jamaica Library Service (JLS) for financial assistance to repair the derelict building which once housed the Green Island Branch Library in Hanover.

The facility has been closed for the past seven years due to the dilapidated condition of the building.

“Anybody, from the politician to the average citizen, anybody at all who has the resources that can be given, we will appreciate that,” pleaded Marvetta Stewart -Richards, regional director of the Jamaica Library Service.

The 42- year-old building was closed in 2011 due to structural damage, which among other things, resulted in concrete falling from the roof.

“There was structural damage to the building, and so we had to close it to prevent any damage to the public and our staff,” explained Stewart- Richards.

“We (JLS) don't have the money to construct a new building, so, we were thinking that if we can get this [existing building] repaired up to a certain level of safety for our staff and the public, then the library can be reopened.”

Acting director general of the JLS Maureen Thompson informed that, over the years,several appeals have been made for funding.

“We submitted a proposal under the Sugar Transformation Fund (STF), but we were not successful. The amount at the time was $25 million and they (STF) could not support that proposal,” disclosed Thompson.

She said the aim was not only to rehabilitate the building, which is owned by the JLS, but to expand it in order to cope with the development of the community.

Thompson also pointed out that over the years, the parish library network committee has also made unsuccessful approaches.

Two such, she noted, are the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and a community venture (organisation) through the Hanover Municipal Corporation.

Chairman of the Hanover library network and Custos of Hanover, Dr David Stair, shared that prior to “regulatory changes”, the parish was able to accumulate funds generated from activities, among other things, which could have been used to assist with the necessary repairs. However, he said, the “present regulatory changes” do not allow for money to be kept at the local level any more. Dr Stair continued: “I really would like to see the branch put back in service because the western part of the parish is being underserved by this library network at this point in time, and I think every effort should be made to bring it back in service.”

The closure of the library is said to be having a negative impact on the delivery of quality education in a number of communities it once served. It has resulted in students travelling up to 14 miles to use either the Hanover Parish Library in Lucea or the Negril Branch Library in Westmoreland. Among the communities the library once served are Cave Valley, Kendal, Orange Bay, Green Island, Rock Spring, and Cousins Cove.

“As a school, we can't even give the children too much of research to do because of the cost for them to travel to a library,” bemoaned Vaccianna Moseley, principal of Green Island Primary School.

“Many parents are not willing to send their children all the way to Lucea or Negril. As a result, we do have a problem when research is given. A large portion of students have been coming in without their research being done, and the explanation is, 'Mommy did not get the chance to take me to the library'.

 

 

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