While most students were enjoying their summer breaks, three LIS students traveled to St. Lucia to promote the love of reading and literacy. During the six day Reading Camp, Sarah Colbert, Lauren Bielecki, and Jessica Robey presented storytime activities, reading education, and entertainment to 31 boys and girls from Laborie, St. Lucia.
The Reading Camp idea was developed by Alan Strathman, a former MU professor turned Peace Corps Volunteer, with the help of Doug Temple, another Peace Corps Volunteer who was a former school librarian. Mr. Alan solicited the help of Dr. Denice Adkins, who provided the educational experience and structure to allow the students to attend. The Reading Camp will be featured in “Corps Values” on St. Lucia’s DBS News World on August 24.
After the camp concluded, the students traveled to Castries, St. Lucia, to visit the headquarters branch of the Public Library of St. Lucia. There they met with Cynthia McFarlane, the director of the public library, and Nicole Gaston, a Peace Corps Specialist who was stationed at the public library to develop their technological infrastructure. Ms. Gaston holds the MLIS (McGill) and Ph.D. (Victoria University-Wellington), and was a Peace Corps Volunteer to Benin prior to her special assignment in St. Lucia. 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.
In addition to the educational activities, the students also visited a World Heritage site, two beaches, and two nature preserves.