Making reading accessible.
“So this project actually was born because we identified a need in the community for, we actually unfortunately have book deserts, and we realized there was an opportunity to give back,” Desiree Wilkes with the Department of Tourism said.
Through donations from visitors and dedicated community volunteers, the Little Free Library was brought to life.
“We had long wanted the Little Free Library as a project and they embraced it fully,” Dee Baecher-Brown with the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands said.
The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, Department of Tourism, Princess Cruises Foundation and My Brothers Workshop all came together to bring books to more kids in the territory. My Brothers Workshop built the red phone booth library.
“The Department of Tourism reached out to us after being contacted by Princess Cruise lines to build the little library. So we’re the ones who actually constructed it, our workshop constructed them and with the help of a volunteer group from the University of Alaska put them up here today,” Chrystie Payne from My Brother’s Workshop said.
Then the Community Foundation filled it up.
“At the moment it is stocked with books that we selected initially so it’s a wide range of different books different levels and then when those book have all been taken we will be replacing them with donated books from tourists,” Baecher-Brown with the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands said.
“I think it is a wonderful idea and hopefully it creates that urge for our young people to get up and come read,”
Joseph Boschulte the Tourism Commissioner Designee added.
There’s a donation box set up by the cruise dock for visitors to leave books for those in the VI community.
As of the day it opened, it was already full!
“This is something that will serve as a shared exchange for students and readers all throughout the territory providing free access to books and reading material. And I think that is something that is absolutely vital in the way that as a society as we learn as we move and as we communicate. Reading is such an interictal part of the human experience,” Wilkes with the Department of Tourism said.
Now these books, are right at their fingertips.
Organizers of the purpose in paradise project said this is just the beginning.
They plan to provide at least 20 Little Library’s throughout the VI and eventually in St. Croix.