Greetings, I am Myron V. Walwyn, Minister for Education & Culture. In support of Library Week 2015, I am pleased to offer these remarks to encourage all residents to support, utilise and visit our public libraries.
Public libraries can be viewed as unique social institutions which bind diverse members of a community together. Throughout its 72 years of existence, the Public Library in the Virgin Islands has served as a centralized public repository for locally published and other documents, information provider, custodian of cultural and historical Virgin Islands documents, and as an educational institution. The Library Services Department has improved its services over the years by increasing its services and programmes. It wholeheartedly embraced technology in order to modernize its services, while satisfying the needs of its patrons and community. Today, the library provides access to online databases, multimedia, a large diverse collection of books for children, teenagers and adults, and an automated catalogue known as the Virgin Islands Public Access Catalogue (VILIBCAT). In addition, valuable Virgin Islands documents are being digitized daily with the objective of completing the cultural heritage database which is currently under construction. In the meantime, we are working diligently on upgrading the Library Act which has been in existence since 1974.
All these efforts are to ensure that the Public Library of the Virgin Islands is on the cutting edge as the local centre for information, and readily provides all types of knowledge, as well as general and indigenous information to its patrons. The Department must be congratulated, as it was recently nominated for the second time, for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in Stockholm, Sweden. It was the only library in the Caribbean to be nominated for the world’s largest children and young adult literary award.
The theme for the 2015 Library Week celebration is “Creative Ways of Depicting Libraries: Through Art, Music and Storytelling” and a number of activities are planned to celebrate the Week.
On Sunday, 19th April the public is welcomed to join the staff as they start off the week with a church service at Zion Hill Methodist church, at 11:00 a.m.
On 20th April, students from the Joyce Samuel primary school will be taught research methods at the Road Town Public Library, while students from the Claudia Creque Educational Centre will be taught the same at their school. On 21st April, research methods will be taught to students from the Isabella Morris Primary and Francis Lettsome Primary schools at the Road Town Public Library and the East End/Long Look Library respectively. On 23rd April students from the Bregado Flax Educational Centre will be taught research methods at the Virgin Gorda Community Library.
Art activities will be held throughout the week with students from Pelican Gates, Althea Scatliffe Primary, BVI Services, Ebenezer Thomas Primary, St. Georges Primary, Jost Van Dyke Primary, Robinson O’Neal Primary, Eselyn Henley Richez Learning Centre and the Bregado Flax Educational Centre.
On 21st April, Storytime, read by Miss BVI, Jaynene Jno Lewis, will be held at the Road Town Public Library with students from the Wendell Potter Learning Center. On 23rd April, students of Little Rainbow will be treated to Storytime at the Virgin Gorda library by former queen, Ms. Leilani Stevens.
Open House will be held on Friday, 24th April. However, on the same day, senior citizens at the Sea Cows Bay Centre will be treated to stories told by Mrs. Janice Blyden while students at the Claudia Creque Educational Centre will enjoy stories read by Dr. Angel Smith. Meanwhile, on Virgin Gorda, Leon (from Leon & the Hot Shots) will be entertaining the seniors with stories and music, and in Jost Van Dyke, Foxy will be doing the same for the students of the Jost Van Dyke Primary School.
As Minister for Education and Culture, I implore all residents to visit one of the five libraries which are located in: Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Road Town and East End. I also urge you to become a member of the Library and obtain a new library card from the Road Town Public Library. Also encourage your children to use the library and see it for the important institution it is in our Territory. This Government is committed to improving literacy and to providing the resources for lifelong learning which can be found at the library.
Now as Minister with responsibility for Public Library Service of the Virgin Islands, it gives me great pleasure to declare Library Week 2015 open.