Tag Archives: Greenbay

Greenbay Reading Fest – 2008

Back in 2008, Greenbay Primary School invited me to participate in their ‘Reading Fest’ – part of their Year of Literacy. It was a full day of fun reading activities for the kids. Right up my alley. I remember I read Friday Night Fish Fry and the kids seemed to relate to it. We had a pretty interactive session. And all in all the kids seemed to have a fun day as they explored the literary arts. Thumbs up to the organizers. Here are some memories.

Dramatist Melissa Mcleish of the National Youth Theatre


Sylvanus Barnes

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The Village Library Seeks Your Help

This is a repost of a letter by Marlon Carr, a young man I met years ago when he first started the village library in his community, Donovans. Still a kid himself, he wanted to reach out to other kids and promote literacy, and I was impressed with him. I decided to assist; donating books, doing a bit of fundraising, and writing about his efforts in the local and regional press. I was heartened to learn from a recent letter he published in the papers that the project was still going – if not as strong as he’d like. I wrote to him and asked him about re-posting the letter on the site, not sure if he’d remember me. He responded: “I could never forget you, you were one of the first to get the library’s name out to the public. I would love for you to add my letter to Wadadli Pen.”

So, here it is…help out how you can.


By Marlon Carr

Years ago I had an idea to build a library.   I started with just a few books stacked in a pigeon coop in my yard on a quiet street in Greenbay.  I began my little Village Library (the name remains to this day) with the goal of giving the youth in my community something else to do with their free time.  Reading, I thought, would provide an alternative to stealing donkeys and all the other wasteful things they did to pacify (not realize) their dreams.  A change was needed and from that humble pidgeon coop my Village Library grew and grew into what it is now: a spacious three-room temple (blackboard and tutorial sessions included) for hundreds of books on thousands of themes and subjects from countries all around the world. 

I believed in the power of books and their ability to change lives. I believed that reading was the best means to stir action in people. Word of my little library made its way around the island; donations of books and money and equipment poured in and gracious articles were written about the project in various newspapers.  At about this same time, I was preparing to leave to pursue undergraduate studies in the United States.  It was a painful thing to leave my Library.  I left Antigua hopeful of the library’s continued success and arrived in the US to pursue a degree in Computer Engineering.

Nothing much has changed in the ten years I have been away. I returned to find my library without light, dusty and underused.  We remain a society that promotes the wanton misuse and mismanagement of our young people’s time.  The school system is being stretched thin. They cannot do it all. There needs to be something in place that helps student after the school day has ended. There needs to be a place where things that were learned that day can be expanded upon. This remains the goal of the Village Library.  I’ve spent the last few weeks working on getting my library back in shape. I recently started a few tutorial sessions for primary school students around my neighborhood.  There is an eleven year-old boy I remember who came to me not knowing how to do simple addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. I worked with him for a few days and we were both surprised at how fast he grasped these fundamental skills. I remember clearly the indefinable joy I felt every time the light went on in his eyes.

There are many more lights that need to be turned on.  It is only when we know about the countless people who came from nothing to someone very important to the human race, can we really free our minds. It is only when we learn of far off places, people, and things can our minds begin to open to the possibilities. This was the belief I held nearly ten years ago and this belief remains my daily motivation. I want everyone in this nation to share in the greater adventure of life by getting up from their seat in the background. Of course we all can’t be Prime Ministers or legendary cricketeers. But we all can make a contribution to our communities and, by doing so, affect the world.

I began the Village Library because I wanted more for the young people in my community. I still want more for them; perhaps now more than ever.  Some may call this hopeless optimism, but I believe that more can be done. I believe that my Village Library can do more and reach more but I have reached a point where I cannot do it on my own anymore. This is the reason I write today, to seek your help.

“We must be the change we want to see in the world”.  These immortal words from Mahatma Ghandi compel us to do one thing:  talk less, do more.  Much has been done but there is so much more I can do with the Village Library.  I would like to provide students with access to computers, which would place in their hand a tool that could unlock many possibilities for learning. I would like to provide them with the many learning software that would make learning both fun and effective. I would like to provide them with an environment that is both fun and beneficial to their advancement. These are all very important to growing people, who are great assets to our communities but who cannot achieve their potential without your support. 

On behalf of the Village Library, I ask for your help today. 

Marlon Carr (jamaca@gmail.com)

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