—Philipsburg Jubilee Library held its Open House Reception on Friday, February 6, 2015 at 5pm for invited guests, including the Minister of Education Rita Bourne-Gumbs, Dutch Representative for the Netherlands in St. Maarten, Gert Versluis, Secretary General for the Ministry of Education, Jorien Wuite, Head of the Department of Culture, Neville York and Romelio Maduro, Managing Director of GEBE NV.
The evening started off with a cocktail reception, followed by three presentations given by Library Director, Monique Alberts, Foresee Foundation President, Jose Sommers, and Solar Energy expert Peter Mazereeuw. Each presenter provided insight on the library’s goals and activities for 2015, to over twenty current and potential financial partners, funding agencies, service clubs and members of the business community.
During Alberts presentation, she outlined a few of the activities and projects that the library would like to carry out in 2015. Alberts discussed phase two of the “New Shelves and Furniture” project, which would allow the library to completely replace the shelves in their Non-Fiction Department, with more modern and attractive shelving and seating areas; providing designated parking spaces and a wheelchair ramp for senior citizens or persons with impaired mobility; replace damaged computers and laptops with new ones; a literacy project for (young) adults with reading and writing difficulties; an exhibition on World War II heroes from the Dutch Caribbean in partnership with the National Library of Aruba; construction of a storage area to properly protect library educational materials; Storytelling and Reading Activities for visiting pre and primary school students.
The Second presenter, Sommers, discussed the Philipsburg Jubilee Library’s DigiKidz Media lab, which started in April 2014 and was designed especially for courses in digital multimedia, where children and adults are able learn how to use computers, using new media technology as a tool of expression. “Thus far, the library’s Media Lab has had approximately1500 visits by 1176 students through 64 workshops in the morning hours. The adult program has held 48 public workshops and 28 workshops for teachers. The library in partnership with Foresee hopes to continue the momentum we started last year but we need your help to continue to grow”, stated Sommers.
Solar energy specialist, Mazereeuw spoke about the Solar Energy Restoration project. During Mazereeuw’s presentation he discussed how solar energy works and how the solar installation was able to tremendously cut down the library’s expenditures on energy bills. “In 2014, solar panels were installed on the libraries roof. As a result, the library saved 1/3 on its monthly energy bill. Unfortunately, most of the solar panels were destroyed by Hurricane Gonzalo. This year, the library hopes to restart the solar energy project by replacing the damaged panels and continue to provide free green energy education workshops for the general public.
The highlight of the evening was when President of the Library’s Board, Chantal Schaminee- Ringeling, presented tokens of appreciation to Foresee Foundation’s President, Jose Sommers and GEBE’s Managing Director, Romelio Maduro for being the largest sponsors of the library in 2014. Schaminee in her presentation mentioned that, “Foresee Foundation was instrumental to the success of our DigiKidz Media and we are so grateful that Jose Sommers and her team decided to choose to provide the library with a facility and the technology that will continue to positively impact the lives the children in the people of St. Maarten. I also want to thank GEBE for providing the entire library with LED lights. We are tremendously grateful to GEBE’s support of the library”.
After the presentation, visiting guests took a tour of the library’s facility, including the Baby & Toddler Room, and Youth and Adult Sections. Library Director Alberts thanked all invited guests for attending and encouraged them to support their library. Minister Bourne Gumbs closed of the evening by commending the library for its educational programmes especially those in the field of digital technology. Photo Caption: Jose Sommers of Foresee Foundation (left) and Romelio Maduro, Managing Director of GEBE N.
V (right) receive tokens of appreciation from President of the Library’s Board, Chantal Schaminee- Ringeling (center) for being the largest library supporters in 2014.