By Makeida Antonio
Children in Antigua and Barbuda have received the gift of Christmas cheer thanks to a toy donation from the National Public Library.
Library Director Ryllis Mannix revealed that Helping Hands Incorporated, an organisation of Antiguans in the United States, helped to gift 75 packages to children between the ages of three and 12 yesterday.
“They are a group of Antiguans who reside in New York and they donated five barrels of books to us some time in November. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that they sent two barrels of toys so that the children of Antigua and Barbuda could benefit for Christmas,” Mannix told Observer yesterday.
Mannix said that the donation was inspired after noticing the tough times parents have been enduring as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and expressed gratitude to the organisation for the timely gesture.
“We realise that things are pretty difficult for parents at this time and just to bring a little joy to the children, we are happy to be a part of this initiative. We want to thank them immensely for their contribution,” she said.
Meanwhile, the library is anticipating the revival of several programmes and initiatives in 2022, such as craft, sewing, reading skills and computer literacy just to name a few which will service local children, residents and visitors to the country.
Mannix shared that library operations have been scaled back tremendously due to the pandemic. This year, the usual hustle and bustle of the library has been significantly reduced due to social distancing concerns.
The break-in experienced by the library in August also proved to be a stumbling block in meeting the learning needs of citizens earlier this year. According to Mannix, the two stolen televisions were an integral part of operations, especially for children.
“We would interact with them with singing, dancing and then we would have word skills, world building etc, teaching them how to cross the street, things like that.
“It was also very interactive because we had meetings with some of the staff and our overseas partners and we could not do that,” Mannix recounted.
As a result, the library has made an appeal to corporate citizens for assistance in securing the compound.
“Anyone who has the library at heart, and I hope a lot of you do, we are asking for assistance to fence these grounds so we can have access control, because too many persons are crossing on our compound. Not only individuals but animals as well and making droppings all over places where they shouldn’t,” the director added.
Other items needed by the library include arts and craft materials, and laptop and desktop computers.