Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports
Release Date:
Sunday, 17 April 2016 - 2:00pm

Sunday, 17th March, 2016

Libraries and Literacy: An Integral Part of Building Communities”

Greetings, I am Myron V. Walwyn, Minister for Education & Culture. In recognition of Library Week 2016, it is my pleasure to once again offer these remarks to foster an appreciation for libraries, promote reading, and advance literacy by encouraging all residents to support, utilize and visit our public libraries throughout the Territory.

Libraries and Literacy

Libraries all around the world play an integral role in creating literate communities and promoting literacy by offering programmes and services, as well as providing current, relevant and attractive materials for persons of all ages in the community. Literacy has been defined as “the ability to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and develop one’s knowledge and potential.” Every day, libraries contribute to increasing literacy levels in their communities simply because it is their inherent duty or responsibility.

The Public Library Service of the Virgin Islands provides free and equal access to different printed collections for children and adults, a multimedia collection, a foreign language collection, a gender collection, a local book collection, as well as reading and learning materials.  A variety of information is available for everyone in digital and audiovisual format. By providing such information, the library is providing persons with tools that can be used to improve their reading, writing, critical thinking skills and their overall information literacy skills.

In addition to improving basic literacy skills, the library provides an opportunity for persons to build their digital literacy skills. The Library Services Department provides access to online databases, a cultural heritage database, an automated catalog known as VILIBCAT (Virgin Islands Public Access Catalogue), and an Internet service.  

The growth of the Internet along with the vast amount of information accessible in cyberspace, as well as the use of modern technology in libraries have changed the role of libraries, and librarians all over the world.  However, the Virgin Islands Library Services Department continues to be the custodian of educational, historical, cultural, digital documents and the patrimony of the Virgin Islands for future generations. The Public library of the Virgin Islands remains the corner stone on which literacy is built.

This year’s theme:  Libraries and Literacy: An integral part of Building Communities is timely and a number of activities are planned to celebrate the Week.

Library Week Activities

On Sunday 17th April, the public is welcome to join the staff as they start off the week with a church service at Cane Garden Bay Baptist Church at 10:30 am.

On Monday 18 April, library officers will conduct a career presentation at the Alexandrina Maduro Primary School in the morning for grades 3 and 4 students.  In the afternoon, students from the Enid Scatliffe Pre-Primary School will be treated to an interactive drama presentation on how to use the library’s resources at the Road Town library.

Also on 18th April, students at the Jost Van Dyke School will have a career presentation.

On Tuesday 19th April, students in grades 3 and 4 at the Enis Adams Primary School will have a career presentation, while students from the Francis Lettsome Primary School will visit the East End / Long Look library for the same activity. On Virgin Gorda, students will also be treated to a career presentation.  On Anegada, students from the Claudia Creque Educational Centre will be treated to a storytelling activity at the library.

In Road Town, students from First Impressions School will participate in an interactive drama presentation on how to use the library’s resources.

On Wednesday 20th April, Althea Scatliffe, Willard Wheatley and Bregado Flax Primary Schools will have career presentations in the morning.  At the Road Town library in the afternoon, students from St. Georges Secondary will enjoy a book hunt, and students from the Jost Van Dyke High School will enjoy a book hunt in the Jost Van Dyke library.

On Friday 22nd April, there will be Open House at all the libraries. There will also be a book hunt at the Road Town and Jost Van Dyke libraries. The last career presentation will be at Isabella Morris Primary School, and the final interactive drama presentation for the Agape Total Life Academy for grades 1 and 2.

On 23rd April, the library will be hosting Storytime in the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park from 10 am to 2pm.  This activity will be celebrating World Book and Copyright Day. Activities include storytelling by different community groups, a book sale, readings by local authors, music, face painting, and a display on World Book and Copyright Day. The Bookmobile will be on site to register new members.

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 take the time to become a member of the Library and obtain a new library card from the Road Town library. This Government is committed to improving literacy among persons of all ages and providing the resources for lifelong learning which can be found at the Library.

Now, as Minister responsible for the Public Library Service of the Virgin Islands, it gives me great pleasure to declare Library Week 2016 officially open.

Thank you.