Bookstorm Fundraiser for St.Maarten

nets $12,000 at the end of this Month!

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Fundraising events for Philipsburg Jubilee Library

The action Book Storm, initiated by several librarians in the Netherlands to support the Philipsburg Jubilee Library, has become a natiowide initiative that ends and the end of January. All Dutch libraries support the action through FOBID - Forum of Dutch Libraries. At the end of December, Book Storm has generated E4,859; the Royal Library will more than double this amount to E10,000 ($12,000) and transfer the funds to St. Maarten at the end of this month.

There have been iniitiatives accross the Netherlands to help the Library. The Bijlmer Park theater in Amsterdam organized on October 18 a fundraising evening with recitations from the work of black authors and thinkers like Maya Angelou, Winnie Mandela, and Aimée Césaire. Blanca Hodge, a former librarian in Philipsburg, hosted a fundraising concert together with her husband Stanley on November 5 in Wolder.

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Aid for children with Post-hurricane trauma

According to United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, all children in St. Maarten are traumatised by the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. To assist children in processing these traumas, social worker from Curaçao Guineta de Palm will be working in St. Maarten for the next three months.

The social worker by profession and storyteller by conviction was invited to come to St. Maarten by Philipsburg Jubilee Library. De Palm will be working here in conjunction with Association for Psychologists and Allied Professionals (APAP) and Mental Health Foundation (MHF). In Curaçao, she developed a methodology for guiding traumatised children and youths.

De Palm said it is her intention to organise activities at the Library and in schools involving stories, music and games to give children the opportunity to express themselves about their experiences during the hurricanes. De Palm will be inviting schoolchildren to tell how they feel, not what they have gone through. “I’m not here to teach. In group sessions, I want to try to let the children discover themselves and to make them feel safe again,” said “Juffrouw Gini.” In this, she said, love is key. “With love you can achieve many things.” She said it may not be immediately clear whether a child is traumatised or not. “Children may seem very quiet, but they can be very busy in their minds.

Caribbean children are very expressive where it concerns fun things, but not with traumas. But they are feeling themselves comfortable with stories and songs to express both their pain and their happiness,” De Palm explains. After having studied and worked in The Netherlands for 14 years, De Palm (51) returned to Curaçao in 2004. Originally a social worker by profession, she decided to start her own business to be able to spend more time on her other profession, that of storyteller. She tells stories she has written herself, as well as existing stories. She regularly performed as “Gini the Clown” for groups of children, telling them stories and playing all kinds of games with them. Her company,

Creativity for Children and with Children – Consultative Office, offers activities that are original, educational and innovative so that children can get the space to express themselves and have fun doing so. Besides that, De Palm also writes educational activity plans, organises all types of events and makes sure there is entertainment. In St. Maarten, De Palm will be available for after-school sessions in the afternoon and on Saturday. “We hope to reach many children,” said Library Director Monique Alberts. Interested schools may contact the Library’s project coordinator Maryland Powell at tel. 542-2970

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About the Philipsburg Jubilee Library

Philipsburg Jubilee Library was founded on 23 November 1923, the year in which Queen Wilhelmina celebrated her silver jubilee. Hence the name Philipsburg Jubilee Library. The initiative to set up a library was taken by W.R. Plantz, C.M. Darrell, C.C.G. Philipszoon, A.C. Wathey and C.A. Beaujon, who recognized the necessity and importance of reading by all.

The first books were purchased with money donated by some of the wealthier people on St. Maarten. A big problem was the absence of a permanent building. Time and again the library was moved around in order to make room for offices, schools, etc. In these early days the library was run exclusively by volunteers.

Some time in the late 1950s or early 1960s the St. Maarten Cultural Centre started a Dutch children's library, also run by volunteers. When a qualified librarian, Blanca Hodge, moved to St. Maarten in 1967, the then lieutenant governor, Mr. Jappa Beaujon, decided the two libraries should merge, keeping the name Philipsburg Jubilee Library. The new library was to be run by a board consisting of members of both libraries.

Mrs. Blanca Hodge started her new job in January 1968 by making quite a few changes. She catalogued the books and merged the members' records from the two separate libraries. At the time the library was housed in the same accommodation as the courthouse, where marriage ceremonies were also often conducted. Though sometimes interesting, this was hardly ideal. This situation ended in August 1968, when the library moved to a new building, together with the St Maarten Cultural Centre. In 1974 an extra member of staff was taken on and from 1978 the number of employees grew to the current number of 14.

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Libraries join forces to aid the Jubilee Library!

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