SISLT faculty, students host reading camp in St. Lucia

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Denice Adkins, Ph.D., and Sarah Colbert, Lauren Bielecki and Jessica Robey pose with 31 students, 3 Peace Corps Volunteers, 3 teachers, and 2 school cooks.

Denice Adkins, Ph.D., and Sarah Colbert, Lauren Bielecki and Jessica Robey pose with 31 students, 3 Peace Corps Volunteers, 3 teachers, and 2 school cooks.

Faculty and students from the MU School of Information Science and Learning Technologies (SISLT) dedicated part of their summer break to impacting lives in Laborie, St. Lucia.

After celebrating the Laborie Freedom Parade, called “Carnival”, Denice Adkins, Ph.D., associate professor, along with Sarah Colbert, Lauren Bielecki and Jessica Robey, library information science graduate students, held a six-day reading camp on the south end of the island in Laborie. It included storytime activities, reading education and entertainment for 31 children who attended Laborie Boys’ Primary School.

“This trip was a great experience,” said Jessica Robey. “I lived on a beautiful tropical island for nearly two weeks; learned about a new culture; and shared my love of reading with the children of Laborie.”

“The graduate students who traveled with me gained a lot of valuable experience that they will be able to use in public libraries and for children’s programming,” said Adkins.

“Hopefully, through the reading camp, we were able to get the primary students to believe that reading and learning could be fun”, said Sarah Colbert. “I also hope that we were successful in getting them to discover what a magical thing a library is.”

After the camp, the SISLT delegation visited the headquarters of the Public Library of St. Lucia in the capital city, Castries. While there, they met with the director of the St. Lucia Public Library and a Peace Corps Specialist who was assigned to help the St. Lucia Public Library implement an online public access catalog.

The Public Library of St. Lucia has 17 branches and roughly 70 employees, but hasn’t had an acquisitions budget since 2005. Despite this, the library has an extensive local studies collection and is the only source of indexing for local periodicals.

“What the public library system manages with such a small budget was quite impressive,” said Adkins.

Headquarters of the Public Library of St. Lucia branches. Photo credit: Jessica Robey

Headquarters of the Public Library of St. Lucia branches. Photo credit: Jessica Robey