Litchfield family opens library to encourage widespread reading By Clifford Stanley
Guyana Chronicle
May 4, 2004

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THE Litchfield Development Committee (LDC) of Litchfield, West Coast Berbice, has established a public free library in the village after ten years of persistent preparatory work.

Ms Carmen Jarvis of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) commissioned the library at its Litchfield site recently.

The spanking new Litchfield Public Free Library accommodates hundreds of fiction and non-fiction books and membership is open to all West Berbicians, from nursery school age to adults, who are resident between Belladrum and Hopetown Villages.

In a brief history of the project, Public Relations Officer Albert Straker said that the LDC is part of a simple foundation that comprises descendants of the Semples - former slaves in West Berbice.

The foundation has been established by leading members of the Semple family with the aim of helping relatives scattered countrywide to develop socially, educationally and financially.

Several members of the Semple family tree currently reside in Litchfield and the idea of establishing a library in the village was first raised during a family reunion in 1994.

"Inadequate funds presented obstacles from the start. Up to late last year we were still struggling for adequate cash but we got help from SIMAP, from the Tempie/Seafield Neighbourhood Democratic Council and from the Regional Democratic Council of Region 5, among others," Straker said. "Earlier this year we surmounted some major obstacles and moved to complete this part of the project."

"We will be expanding as we move along," he added.

Straker disclosed that the Caribbean Association of Professors and Scholars based in Washington donated most of the books, some twelve jumbo-sized barrels of books that comprise the nucleus of the library.

The staff of the National Library had sorted out the books, and persons will be trained as Librarians and will be in charge of running it as a subsidiary centre.

The building housing the library was formerly a community Coop Shop and was renovated with assistance from the Regional Democratic Council of Region 5 (Mahaica/Berbice).

Villagers completed other repairs and painting by self-help. The recently commissioned library opens from 15:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.