Cayman’s battered libraries received a special Christmas gift this year when a US family decided to forgo usual gift exchanges and instead donate the money to buy new books.
The Perdue family, in Grand Cayman for a family reunion, raised a hefty sum as they pooled the money they would otherwise have used to purchase gifts. Family patriarch, Frank Perdue, further pledged to match the family’s donation dollar for dollar, enabling them to present Director of Libraries Benedicta Connolly with a check exceeding US$6,000, states a GIS press release.
Ms Connolly explained to family members the damage done by Hurricane Ivan and said that the money received would be used to replace the Caribbean collection as well as the biography section that was destroyed.
‘I still get emotional when I think of the storm and what we went through. I promise you that we will use your donation wisely in buying materials that will benefit all on the island so that we will never forget this kind gesture.’
Mr. Ed Jennings, a Perdue family member who visited the Islands before, initiated the project:
‘I visited Cayman several times before the storm and when I heard of the devastation, I knew we had to do something.’
Another family member, Mrs Mitzi Perdue, who is also on the US National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, said the family decided on helping the libraries as they are the keys to the knowledge people need to cope with the present and the future: ‘We felt that this way we could be part of the recovery process and that we would be doing incalculable good by playing a part in the future of the Islands.’
Representing the Ministry of Education, Human Resources and Culture, Assistant Secretary Doss Solomon noted that libraries are an important part of children’s upbringing, giving them opportunities to learn and explore the world around them.
‘Unfortunately the road to recovery for our libraries is going to be a rough one and it is therefore with great appreciation that we accept your donation. Words cannot capture the value of a gesture such as yours,’ he added.