Friday, January 15, 2010

The Library

I read on one of the Roatan forums a posting from the librarian in
French Harbor about the need for school supplies for some of the
children. Many families cannot afford to buy the supplies needed,
especially if they have several children. Don and I decided that we
could help meet this need, so when we went in to Coxen Hole to run
some errands, we took a walk up Market Street and down Back Street to
the office supply/school supply store. The woman who waited on us
spoke English and was able to help us pick out the correct items.

We drove up to French Harbor and found the library (bibliot├ęca) and the librarian, Joan Dixon. This was our first visit to the library, and I must say, we were favorably impressed. Joan is a delightful young woman who seems to care deeply about the library and the school children. She proudly showed us around and apologized for the water on the floor at the back of the room, explaining that last year's earthquake had cracked the wall by the window and now when it rains
and blows hard, water leaks through. None of the bookshelves appear to have been damaged. The library is in a very nice municipal building
built in 1996. It does not appear to be very well maintained, though.
Joan said that is often the case. Buildings are built, projects are
started by one administration and then neglected or abandoned by the
next one. She does not know if she will still have a job after the new
administration takes office later this month. Her job is a political
appointment. I do hope she is able to stay on; she seems like such a
good fit for the job.
We asked where the books come from, are they donated or does she have
a budget to purchase books? Many of them are donated, some were
purchased. The paperbacks were all donated and she runs an exchange
program for them, or they can be purchased for about $1.00 each. She
had a decent selection of hardbound fiction for adults and paperback
books for younger children in English, lesser amounts of non-fiction,
and a fair amount of reference materials used mainly by the children
for their homework. She has the textbooks they use available; many of
them cannot afford to buy their books.
Some items they really need: computers and a copy machine. None of
these children have access to these, outside of the library, and often
need to use a computer or make a copy of something for their homework.
The libarary has very few computers and only one copier. Joan donates
the paper for them. She said they could really use a few more
Another need is for books in Spanish. She's getting more Spanish
speakers coming into the library wanting to check out a book and she
has perhaps 20-30 books in Spanish, some fiction, some non-fiction.
She would really like to have more to offer. I told her that perhaps
we could help her with this.  Don and I love to read, and we love
to encourage others to read. Perhaps when St. Louis has their big book
fair in April, we could have our daughter go shopping for Spanish
books. Joan said that we might be able to ship a box of books to
Roatan through Hyde Shipping for free; she knows the owner's daughter.
So, I'll see what we can come up with and then contact her for help
with shipping. There are so many ways to help out on this island;
we're happy to be of service.

1 comment:

  1. awesome!! Yes, I'm sure we'll go to the book fair anyway so we can pick up books. I'll see what I can find in the thrift shops, too. If we can really get free shipping then I can buy some used copiers, too. Fun!!