PHILIPSBURG–After receiving two separate reports from the Labour Inspectorate and the Fire Department about the state of the current library building, board and management of Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) have decided to close the facility until further notice as of Monday, December 10.
“Both reports are very clear and indicate that the building is unsafe and dangerous for both staff and visitors. The reports also indicate that operating the library under the current conditions constitutes a violation of rules and regulations set out in the labour laws,” the library board said in a statement on Monday.
“Taking our primary responsibility as employers into account, we have to ensure the safety of the library staff. Secondarily, we need to ensure the safety of the visitors to the library. Therefore, the board had no other choice than to decide to close the library as of Monday, until further notice.”
The annual Christmas Market, which was scheduled for Thursday, December 20, has also been cancelled, as this would entail using the PJL building and premises. During the temporary closure of the library, staff will continue to carry out basic administrative tasks from home.
Just after celebrating the library’s 95th anniversary, the board said it “deeply regrets having to take this tough and drastic decision, and together with the staff had sought ways to continue serving the public. Unfortunately, however, there is no other viable option other than closing the PJL building until the move to the Super Plaza building can take place.
“It is important to note that the Super Plaza building was carefully selected after a due diligence process during the tenure of the previous Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (ECYS).”
This temporary move was again brought forward as urgently required during a recent meeting with the minister. In this meeting, the PJL board reminded Minister Wycliffe Smith of the agreement between the board and his predecessor to apply part of the insurance claim legally due to the library to finance the temporary move to the Super Plaza building, until the National Heritage and Knowledge Centre (NHKC) has been constructed.
“As such, the board looks forward to receiving the confirmation on the insurance pay-out, which we have been awaiting since May of this year, within a short time,” the board said.
With regard to the construction of the NHKC, part of the funds raised during the radiothon held in November will go towards preparing a complete and professional project dossier for the different local and international funding institutions, including the government.
The financial package and business plan for the project is being prepared by a joint Task Force comprising representatives of PJL, St. Maarten Archaeological Research Centre Simarc, and St. Maarten Historical Foundation, which are to be housed in the new building. The package will include the architectural designs as well as the NHKC’s operational, legal and financial structure.
The selection process of architects is well underway and a number of institutions locally and abroad have indicated interest in co-funding the project. The remaining part of the raised funds will go towards the interior adjustments to the Super Plaza building prior to the temporary move.
Thus far, the PJL fundraising efforts, including the radiothon, have resulted in a total amount of NAf. 32,599.30 being received in cash on its bank account. The total amount in pledges is still being calculated and will be published as soon as this has been finalised.
“The board and staff of the PJL wish to extend heartfelt thanks to Laser 101 for organising the radiothon, and to all those who have supported and continue to generously support the cause of the PJL and NHKC with pledges, actual financial donations and through other means. Your support is much appreciated, and we are convinced that with it, the NHKC will become a reality for generations to come,” the board said.
The PJL board and staff said they remain committed to serving the general public and will continue working on securing the insurance payment as soon as possible, so that the temporary relocation to the Super Plaza building can take place and the library can resume its services to the general public. Updates on the relocation to the Super Plaza building and the progress on the NHKC will be forthcoming.
“In the meantime, we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience of the closure, and thank you for your understanding and patience,” the board stated.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/83492-library-closes-door-until-further-notice