The OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme (ELP) collaborated with Hands Across the Sea, the School Library Services and 23 schools to provide books to students throughout Antigua. This is part of a broader regional collaboration to ensure that children have access to libraries to borrow books during the school closures throughout the OECS. The Antigua and Barbuda Hands Across the Sea Literacy Links and ELP Coordinators have taken this initiative a step further. They are working in collaboration with 30 libraries in Antigua to distribute used books.
In May, Literacy Links, Vernest Mack and Hyacinth Gonsalves Barriero began sorting books at various libraries across Antigua – providing assistance in packing up books for summer to safeguard during the hurricane season and simultaneously identifying used books to give away throughout Antigua. The OECS/USAID ELP contributed over 300 early grade reading books to this drive. In June, the Literacy Links and ELP Coordinators distributed over 1000 books to students at all age levels, and parents throughout the island.
In reflecting on the project, Vernest Mack indicated, “We were very keen to give away these books to the children to read during school closure and for the entire summer season. Many children do not have access to books where they live. Our job is to make sure that the children have interesting books at their fingertips. All of the collaborating partners are committed to ensuring that children continue to read – because without literacy, they cannot function in society. Ultimately we wanted to ensure that as many children as possible got books as we strive to improve literacy in our communities.”
The OECS/USAID ELP was pleased to collaborate on this initiative and to provide over 300 early grade reading books to support the Antigua Book Mobile and early grade reading in Antigua.