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Opening Soon – Walwyn explains continued library closure

Myron Walwyn. File photo

Myron Walwyn. File photo

Minister for Education Myron Walwyn said his ministry is aggressively working to soon reopen the Territory’s primary public library.

With its opening, the Road Town Public Library will be housed in a new and more accommodating location at the old Clarence Thomas Limited building at Pasea Estate.

In May last year, the ministry was advised by four Government agencies to take a certain course of action concerning the Road Town library.

Walwyn stated that the recommendation came in the middle of the year and, though he wanted to reopen a new library almost immediately, it was not possible as the project was not budgeted.

He added that legal advice – among other factors – was necessary before committing to a new location.

Walwyn further stated that, as his ministry continues its reforms to improve the education system, it has worked administratively to ensure a greater level of accountability for the spending of public funds.

That effort, the minister further said, is to ensure that each dollar spent in the Ministry of Education adds greater value to the Territory.

“Everyone in our ministry has been aggressively working to ensure our largest public library can be reopened as soon as possible, but we also want to ensure that the investment it will take to reopen the library is one that will be long-serving to the people of the Virgin Islands,” Walwyn said.

He also indicated that the prospective landlord for the new location of the Road Town library has started the necessary work to prepare the building to be turned over to the ministry.

Funds budgeted

The minister further explained that his ministry intends to immediately commence outfitting the space following the passing of the 2017 budget in which provisions – subject to the House of Assembly – have been made for the new library.

The minister, in the meantime, communicated his thanks and appreciation to the public for its patience.

“I fully understand the importance of a functioning library to our community, and I have always advocated for improved library services and better access to our main library for all residents.”

“I thank the public for their patience, and I am confident that the new facility will improve services and restore library services as a vital resource centre for our young people and wider community. We thank the former landlords of the Road Town Public Library for housing the library for so many years; it served our community well,” Walwyn further said.

Interim measures

To continue to offer students library services, the Ministry of Education has improved its BookMobile schedule, which goes to schools on Tortola as well as various communities.

In addition, last year, the management of the library at H Lavity Stoutt Community College was asked to allow persons normally using the Road Town library to utilise its facility, and the college willingly accommodated all residents, Walwyn said.

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