Esher Primary library reopens after seven years

BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer West writer

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

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ESHER, Hanover — Anthonette Wright, principal of the 24-year-old Esher Primary School in Hanover, is hoping that the recent reopening of the school’s library, which was closed seven years ago, will increase the reading and reasoning ability of her students.

"Hopefully, with the introduction of our school library, I am expecting to see reading and reasoning abilities skyrocket," asserted an optimistic Wright during the opening ceremony held last Thursday.

The school, which currently has an outstanding record in the performing arts, has a literacy success of 90 per cent in the 2015 islandwide report. However, Wright’s aim is to increase this figure by getting all students on par.

The reopening of the library became a reality with the assistance of Reading Owls International and their donors, who donated books, book shelves and other furniture valued at over US$13,000. The creation of the library was done under the supervision of the Jamaica Library Service.

Elaine Dickson of St Mary and her husband, Easton, a Hanover native, started Reading Owls International three years ago after returning home from the United States of America.

"Having left Jamaica for 30 or so years, we came back and said to ourselves, ‘not much has changed in terms of some of our communities where books are still absent’. So, three years ago we came together and we said, ‘we need to transform reading through kids in Jamaica’. And, so out of that, Reading Owls International was born and this is the reason why we are here today [at Esher Primary]," explained Dickson.

The original library was closed in order to accommodate classroom space. However, Wright, a professed bookworm as a teenager and young adult saw the need to reopen the facility.

Former Hanover Parish Library senior librarian, Marvetta Stewart-Richards, who was recently promoted to the post of acting regional director for the Jamaica Library Service, said the Jamaica Library Service in partnership with stakeholders, is hoping that the school library will transform the lives of the students.

"We know that the library is not able to provide all the information needs that you have. So that is why we have a public library in your community as well, and we expect you to share in that occasion with us as well, and come and make use of what we have there in our library. So, I am encouraging you students, take care of your facility. Make use of the resources and be champions in your community," she encouraged.

Meanwhile, the school is also set to start benefiting from a computer centre within another two weeks, thanks to the charitable group, Hanover Charities, which has donated 12 desktop computers, tables, and chairs, at a cost of $1.3 million, to the institution.

Katrin Casserly of Hanover Charities said her group, which has donated some $30 million to various needy organisations in the parish since the start of the year, recently decided to undertake a number of projects involving the establishment of computer centres.

The 59-year-old charity garners it’s funds from an annual fund-raising activity called ‘Sugarcane Ball’ held jointly by the Round Hill Hotel and Tryall Golf Resort, both located in Hanover.

"Some really loving people who come to this island several times a year ... they say, ‘Katrin, we really want to build computer centres’ and we [Hanover Charities] said perfect, we want to do that too. Because we feel every child needs access to computer besides reading all the beautiful books. As a prerequisite, you’ve got to read well first before you use the computer well," stated Casserly, who noted that Esher would be the first primary school to receive a computer lab from her organisation under the new initiative.

Education Officer Warren Brown noted that without partnerships it is almost impossible to maximise education.

"We have recognised as a ministry that without sponsors, without donors, without our education partners, it is almost impossible to effectively deliver to the system," said Brown.


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