PHILIPSBURG–Several librarians and library organisations in the Netherlands and in the United States have sprung into action to collect money to rebuild Philipsburg Jubilee Library which was damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Irma.
Not only did the library’s roof collapse, all computers were stolen from the public rooms and offices, and the Library’s Media Lab can no longer be used. Children lost a place to do their homework, residents lost a meeting place and the community as a whole lost a centre to obtain information or to hook up to the Internet.
Philipsburg Jubilee Library was founded on November 23, 1923. The Library will, therefore, celebrate its 95th anniversary next year. The Library may not be celebrating with a new building, but it is hopeful that by that time the interior, its collection and services will all be restored.
To fix the damage as soon as possible a group of librarians in the Netherlands, with past and present ties with St. Maarten and with a warm heart for the island, have started the initiative called “Book Storm for St. Maarten.”
In consultation with Jubilee Library Director Monique Alberts funds raised by the initiative will be primarily used for the creation of an emergency location for the Library and to create a place where children can be educated.
Among initiators of the fundraiser are information specialist at Tilburg University Petra Ploeg, who has been a librarian at Gertrude Judson Bicentennial Public Library at St. Eustatius between January 2010 and August 2011; senior advisor at Rijnbrink Yvonne Sinkeldam who was a librarian at Jubilee Library in the 1990s; Library Director in Southeast Utrecht Mariet Wolterbeek; former (acting) Director at Jubilee Library Ans Koolen; and manager marketing and communication at GO-Education Eric Kokke.
Heleen van Manen on behalf of the Royal Library in The Hague and former Netherlands Library Forum FOBID Marian Koren joined later. Library sector organisations VOB and UKB are also involved.
The Library needs a new building because the current building will most likely be declared a total loss. Library Director Alberts is investigating the possibilities for a new building, possibly in cooperation with St. Maarten Museum and St. Maarten Centre Archaeological Centre SIMARC.
In the meantime, the fundraisers try to raise enough funds to build an emergency building with the use of Red Cross porta cabins. An application has also been submitted for a special programme for children in trauma situations.
In the meantime, the Library will use its lobby area to display books. This section of the Library will reopen today, Tuesday.
The Library van remained undamaged and will be used to restart the Book Box programme for educational and reading activities at community and day care centres.
At the Bijlmer Park Theatre in Amsterdam money and books were collected in aid of St. Maarten’s library. During the evening, several persons recited from the works of well-known and critical thinkers such as Winnie Mandela, Maya Angelou and Aimé Césaire. The event marked the official kick-off for a series of fundraisers.
Not only in the Netherlands, but also in the United States funds are being raised for the Library. The American Library Association (ALA) is raising funds for libraries in the Caribbean and St. Maarten’s Library has been designated as one of the recipients as Director Alberts is also an ALA member.
ALA state chapters, the Texas Library Association and the Florida Library Association are taking in donations and leading the response efforts in their respective states. ALA is partnering with Florida International University Library and its Digital Library of the Caribbean staff on assisting those in the Caribbean, the organisation states on its website.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/70357-libraries-join-forces-in-aid-of-jubilee-library