Sandals Foundation funds new roof for Silston Library

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The Sandals Foundation donated US$3,100 towards the library restoration (Photos contributed)
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Restoration work to a local library home to a host of invaluable cultural artefacts has been given a boost by the Sandals Foundation.

The philanthropic organisation donated US$3,100 towards the reroofing of the historic Silston Library building, scheduled to be completed this month.

The Silston Library Restoration Committee (SLRC) was commissioned to revive the library including its intellectual property and educational outreach, but was forced to cease operations in 2020.

Since 2022, with support from the local private sector, the SLRC has worked to convert the library’s foyer into an exhibition area showcasing Antiguan and Barbudan pioneers. It has also renovated the main reading room.

Committee member Margaret Irish said the partnership with the Sandals Foundation for the second phase of the works will help to develop the youth of the nation through community initiatives.

“The Silston Library has been dormant since the early 2000s, but, once the new roof has been completed, the public can visit our exhibition centre, which focuses on the lives and legacies of unsung pioneers of Antigua and Barbuda.

“The SLRC can now move forward to facilitate programmes aimed at improving the learning experiences of our youth with its boys’ book club and youth self-awareness seminars,” she said.

“In an age of economic, ecological, and social unpredictability, history and identity are crucial assets to the stability of our Caribbean states.

“The Sandals Foundation’s support of Silston Library’s new roof contributes to the preservation of a historic building unique to the nation and allows us to resuscitate the ethos of educating the nation, especially young people, about the culture and history of Antigua and Barbuda,” Irish added.

Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation, said, “Building resilient infrastructure means not only providing new resources, but preserving existing spaces.

“Historic sites that protect the identity of a nation are vital to cultural preservation for future generations. Places like the Silston Library provide an accessible, inclusive space where members of the community can learn about and be proud of what makes their island home unique.”

Embodying its motto, ‘Man owns only what he knows’, the Silston Library has served the people of Antigua and Barbuda through summer programmes aimed at reviving reading among the younger population.

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