SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) — The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset launched its first Little Free Library on the Dutch side of the island at the University of St. Martin in the presence of the President of USM, Mr. Antonio Carmona-Baez, the Dean of Academics, Dr. Rolinda Carter, as well members of the club.
The concept of the Little Free Library was initially introduced in 2009 by Rotarian Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin and the idea quickly spread throughout thousands of communities in the United States, with the goal of creating awareness on the importance of literacy. The Little Free Library is certainly not a new one for the island of St. Martin, as Rotary Sunset initially introduced the first little free library in December with its initial launch on the Marigot Waterfront. The objective of the little free library is mainly to advocate the importance of reading and to promote literacy, a key area of focus for Rotary clubs worldwide.
“We received an outpouring of support and encouragement from members of the community with the installation of our first little library on the French side and we decided that there was a need to construct additional little libraries which would be installed at various locations around the island, especially given the dire state of the public libraries on both sides of the island. Today we are extremely grateful for the support of the Management and staff of USM and for the generous donation of Rotarian Stuart Johnson who sponsored this little free library,” President Jaida Nisbett stated.
Stuart Johnson in a brief statement expressed his gratitude to Rotary Sunset and to USM for awarding him the opportunity to give back to his community. “I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be able to give back to USM and I am thankful to be a part of such a wonderful organization which has enabled me to be able to give back to my community and to further promote literacy on our island with the installation of this little library. USM is dear to my heart, especially being a former student and this is a small token of appreciation to show how much I appreciate USM.”
President of USM Antonio Carmona-Baez in a brief statement thanked the club for their efforts in the community and for considering USM to house one of its little free libraries. “On behalf of the Dean and myself, I would like to thank you all for this wonderful opportunity for collaboration. As a new resident on the island, I have come to realize how important Rotary Clubs are to St. Martin and it is extremely nice to see that there are so many collaborative efforts, especially in the areas of education. I do believe this would have a tremendous impact on our students and all visitors who come by. We are truly proud of this collaborative effort and we look forward to many more in the future.”
The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to encourage the general public to pass by the little library, take a book and leave a book. Members of the community are urged to donate books they are no longer using to either of the club’s little libraries. The club would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Rotarian Stuart Johnson for his generous donation and to the Management and Staff of the University of St. Martin for their support.