TIGblogs TIG | TIGblogs GROUP TIGBLOGS LOGIN SIGNUP
Bahamas Blog International
Bahamas Blog International
I stopped for public libraries!

By Jean H Charles:

 



The United States has one of the best free public library systems in the world. It is one of the rare direct benefits that the citizens receive readily from their government in a common denominator delivery mode. Yet there are pressing calls by the same government at the local and the state level to cut some of the privilege in terms of staffing and length of opening time.

Jean H Charles MSW, JD is Executive Director of AINDOH Inc a non profit organization dedicated to building a kinder and gentle Caribbean zone for all. He can be reached at: jeanhcharles@aol.comMy love affair with the New York public library system started with the Uniondale library. The village of Uniondale, tucked between uppity Westbury and up and coming Roosevelt, out slowly from its past rundown status, is a haven for the large immigrant population mostly from the Caribbean and Latin America.

Uniondale has two great assets that made its tax status attractive for its population. It is home to Hofstra University, an aggressive higher educational institution that attracts students from the West coast and well over the pond into China with a word of mouth that I have found very amusing.

Uniondale is also home to the Nassau Coliseum where the New York Islanders and countless concerts by big name stars such as Aretha Franklyn take place regularly.

The library located on Uniondale Avenue has enough free parking for its visitors. It has a large spread of books extended into different sections for kids, adults and teenagers. In the center you find the computer area where clients surf the web with only their library card for a full hour. In the basement, the library has an auditorium and a gallery room.

My love affair with the Uniondale public library was short and sweet. It lasted until I discovered the public library in East Meadow. It has a larger stock of books and its liberal office hours are more generous than most towns in the area. It remains open way after other libraries in the region have been closed and the library does offer the first 20 copies from the computer free.

Leaving the Nassau County on my way to New York, I fell upon the magnificent and grandiose Elmont Memorial Public Library. It is a model for any town or city that wants to provide efficient, extensive and superb library services to its citizens. Speaking with the director of the library she told me there has been a zero percent increase in their budget of three million dollars. The Board used the space of an abandoned middle school to rebuild an imposing edifice. It saved the theatre that was transformed into a 420-seat, state of the art, fully fledged space, with a screen for movie projection.

The library is flanked with a reception area for gala and charity affairs with ample parking space for the clients. The extra-curricular activities generate enough funds that recycle into the core educational mission of the system. The library offers exhibition space for emerging artists. I did use the opportunity to present a Haitian art exhibition at all three above library sites for the satisfaction of hungry art lovers.

My wandering through the library system led me also to the Flushing Library located in the heart of the Queens brand new Chinatown. It is humming from its opening time in the morning until late in the evening with hungry learning aficionado Chinese people, young and old, sitting on the floor and everywhere a place can be found to savor the joy of reading. The library is generous to its clientele. It is stacked with ample books, magazines, CDs and movies of Chinese origin.

Crossing into the city, I am a regular of the Mid-Manhattan Library on Fifth Avenue right across the majestic main flagship home to the two lions, a true repository that could compete easily with the ancient library of Alexandria, Egypt. There, I can rent my own laptop computer with the price of my library card, which is free if you have any type of identification.

The Kings County (Brooklyn) home to the largest Caribbean community also has its ample share of public libraries, starting with the flagship one right across from Prospect Park. There, the activities start very early in the morning into the wee hours of the night.

In all and each of these libraries, I have found a staff pleasant and eager to serve. Even the homeless clients (who may tend to see the library as their home) are served and handle with dignity and sensitivity.

It would seem fit and proper if one or several of the libraries in the Kings system could be dedicated as a repository of the history, the culture and the scholarship of different islands of the Caribbean, in particular my own motherland Haiti, in light of the recent destruction due to the earthquake . The sons and daughters of these Diasporas will be well rooted in the motherland of their parents, making them better citizens here at home.

CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta in a first-person essay in Guideposts, titled Doctors without Borders, instructed the youngsters who asked him for the force behind his vast education and his celebrity, saying: “I was a bookish kid. I spent long hours in the library reading everything I could find, histories, biographies, science fiction, fantasy and mysteries.” He continued: “Even today if some kid asks me: what’s the first step to take to become a doctor, I would answer: ‘read, read, and read!’”

Extending the joy of reading overseas, it would be fit and proper if each one of the branch library in the Greater New York area could adopt a library in any town or village in the Caribbean, sending their tired, used (not abused) books, CDs and movies for the delectation of the avid, hungry for learning youngsters, who certainly do not have the privilege of ordering books at will, in their own neighborhood for the cost of a free library card.

Back in the United States, as the space program is winding down its expansion, investing through bloc grant, a billion and half in each State library system will produce well groomed meteoritic geniuses, who will place us easily in the next and better stratosphere for a better enjoyment of this planet!

April 16, 2011

caribbeannewsnow

Caribbean Blog International


April 16, 2011 | 10:20 AM Comments  {num} comments

You must be logged in to add tags.


Dennis Dames's Profile


Latest Posts
The Effects of...
Environmental...
Edmund Moxey and the...
The Bahamas...
Living below the...

Monthly Archive
December 1969
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014

Change Language


Tags Archive
america american bahamas bahamian bahamians caribbean crime crisis cuba cuban development economic economy global government health history ict4d individualeconomy international investment obama people political revolution social war washington world

Links
A+ Links Int'l
Affiliate Marketplace
Bahamas Dames
Bahamas Political Blog
Bahamas Search
Bahamian Phone Cards
Blog Directory
Blog Directory
Blogadr
Caribbean Blog International
Cheap Int'l Calling Cards
Dating Network
Dennis Dames Blog Dash
Dennis Dames Hotel Finder
Dennis Dames Pages Online
Dennis Dames Web Hosting...
Find me on Bloggers.com
International Flight Search
LS Blogs
Vote For Me


0 views
Important Disclaimer