Hurricane Maria deals heavy blow to library services

The Roseau Public Library

The Dominica Library and Information Service is reporting a loss of about $1.7 million in the book loss following the passage of Hurricane Maria.

Chief Librarian, Vernanda Raymond said the loss at the Roseau Public Library was heartwrenching.

“We have lost the majority of our reference collection, our adult circulation, our children circulation, our black history collection, a number of our first edition of our West Indian material which is so heart wrenching for us,” she said.

Raymond reported that literature books and items such newspaper collections, print journal collections and other material saved for use by the public was also impacted.

She explained that thousands of books were lost in the entire service.

“So in total, the Dominica Library and Information Service has a loss of 25,000 volumes in terms of the entire library service,” Raymond stated. “In terms of just stock, and we are basically looking at books, we are in the range of $1.7-million…”

She stated the Portsmouth Public Library remains closed and over 3,000 volumes of books were lost there.

The Portsmouth Library was also impacted, that library is closed at the location, we have lost over 3,000 volumes of books there as well.

Raymond said apart from book stock, equipment, such as computers, were also impacted by the hurricane.

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13 Comments

  1. Malpardee
    December 17, 2017

    Will surely try to help..

  2. Peter Dikc
    December 16, 2017

    I was made aware of the scale of this loss when I visted the library in Portsmouth (Dominica) in October. On arriving back in the UK, I asked friends to donate books and have been over-whealmed by their generosity. On Monday, 18th December, I will be assembling a pallet of over 1,000 books in Portsmouth (UK), ready for the Geest ship that is scheduled to arrive in Dominica on 8th January.

    My message is: together we can re-stock the books. But we need the help of the Government to rebuild the libaries.

  3. Jax. GB.
    December 14, 2017

    Sad- yes, to loose such an historical building. But did not Mr Skerrit say that HE was going to build a state of the art library and that he already has the plans for it. ?? Well what better time then now for him to keep his promise.

  4. Possie
    December 14, 2017

    Break that old building down now. We to like to spend money on old stuff. Now as u said it is a time of building back bigger and better so let’s get a modern Library building up.

  5. Thinking idiot
    December 14, 2017

    Call me an idiot but if you people were trying to save anything on the library why was the roof left uncovered even up to this day the roof is still uncovered? Call me a thinker but apparently it wasn’t so heart wrenching if you just left the books exposed to the constant elements day after day even after the storm… But hey I would want that 1.7 mil as well :-D

  6. Bee
    December 14, 2017

    When i sent pictures of the library I had received to my son after the hurricane he said mom I’m sorry but I’m not sad to see it go. I asked why and he responded that it was a very depressing place and he hated having to go there as a child. He reminded me that I forced him to go there a few times to many for summer school programs, research etc. According to him the place was dreary. So please seek to have the renovated building a more child friendly place so that our youngsters will be eager to enter it’s walls.

    Having said that I am very sorry for the loss because I benefited a great deal from its services, having been a bookworm from a little girl. I will seek to make whatever contribution I can towards restocking the shelves of the library.

    • Anon
      December 16, 2017

      I think you were the problem, not the library. Maybe you needed to be a more child friendly parent. If you were forcing your child to go there you can hardly expect him to have pleasant memories of the place.

  7. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    December 14, 2017

    This is one building I wish the hurricane had blown into the sea a few yards behind that old building, which is almost two hundred years old.

    That place served a purpose for the Dominica back raw; bakay, (bourgeoisie,) and their children, way back when there were less than fifteen thousand people in the country, dating back in the 1800’s. Even in the the 1950’s black people and their children were not allowed to enter, that place never mind to enter and read a book.

    If the skin of the person was yellow, maybe they let them in. In any event we are in the twenty-first century it is time for a new modern liberty packed with modern education material: science books in general.

    Although we have less than fifty thousand people in the country, we deserve better than that; to be honest that is the smallest library I have ever seen on an island with one one!

  8. Concerned
    December 14, 2017

    Is there anyway you can put a mater list of books etc that can be replaced and do a campaign asking people especially Dominicans in the Diaspora to pick the books or collection that they can commit or pledge to replace?I think this is a manageable project for all pockets and a great way of rebuilding your inventory? BT

  9. Roger Burnett
    December 14, 2017

    It is indeed a sad loss, and not just for the library’s collection, but for the damage to a rare historical building that is perfectly fitting in scale and character to its location. I hope that it will be sympathetically restored.

    Having said that, we do need a new library that fulfills present day needs. May I suggest the building that stands directly across the road as a possible contender?

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      December 14, 2017

      Historical yes!

      I regret I did not say it should be preserved, nevertheless, in modern times we need to move on to better and more modern things, hence we need a more modern Library!

  10. My Two Cents In
    December 14, 2017

    The Roseau Public Library might be a historic building on a historic site, but I think it is a good idea to now move (sadly) the library to a busy section of downtown Roseau to make it’s services more convenient for the public to get to, and also make services available to card holders through the internet.

  11. Dominican
    December 14, 2017

    Sad that i think is our greatest loss

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