St. Vincent and The Grenadines

Population: 111,579

237 Library Programs
130,713 New Books

St. Vincent and The Grenadines

C.W. Prescod Primary School

730 students • Grades K to 6
Suzette Abbott-King, Principal
Ms. Zoriah Cato, Librarian

The story continues! With 730 children from Grade K to Grade 6, C.W. Prescod Primary School, located in the busy urban crush of Kingstown, the capital city of St. Vincent, this school is a busy, busy, busy place. But it also has a big and growing appetite for reading. After overcoming physical challenges (pigeons in the rafters, termites in the bookshelves) a few years back, the library is charging along, reports Yvette Pompey, one of two Hands Literacy Links for the island.

“This year, termites have staged another attack on the bookshelves, but the school purchased replacement materials and the government is working on the repairs” says Yvette. “The school’s longtime librarian, Ms. Noella Duncan, has migrated to the U.S. but she has trained another young lady, Zoriah Cato, as a part-time librarian. We now have 25 children trained as Student Librarians, and the Principal is planning to re-launch the new, improved library when school reopens in September.

“The students and teachers at this school have really embraced the library. All classes are coming to the library with their teachers to engage in literacy activities and to borrow books. The borrowing is improving steadily.”

Yvette also notes that, of the Hands 11 measurement points for a successful library, C.W. Prescod is a resounding “Yes!” to every one of them:

  1. Are all classes coming to the library weekly?
  2. Are all classes recording the number of books borrowed weekly?
  3. Is the book check out and check in system working?
  4. Has the library team had sufficient training with the Hands Library Manual and the Hands Teachers Resource Guide to the Library (Grades K-3)?
  5. Are the class teachers requesting/seeking information making use of the librarians to find books that would support their lessons in the classroom?
  6. Has the library team shared with teachers and students what is available in the library through book displays, conversations, read-alouds, library activities, and/or reading contests?
  7. Does the library have inviting places for children and teachers to sit and read?
  8. Does the school have an active Wish List that teachers and students can add to for books they would like to see in the library in the future?
  9. Does the school have a Student Librarian program?
  10. Is the library accessible for teachers and students to spend time in the library during break times and lunch time?
  11. Has the school involved the students’ parents in the use of the library?

Focus: Islands of the Grenadines

If you’ve ever wondered what the words “and the Grenadines” mean after “St. Vincent,” the Grenadines are a stunning array of 32 gumdrop islands and cays—the Tobago Cays Marine Park (photo) is a magnet for sailors. After meeting John and Darcy Dillon, U.S.-based free spirits who are now cruising the region on their sailboat, Kindred Spirit, on their recommendation we’ve added a pre-school and a primary school on the island of Mayreau to the 2020-2021 Hands Wish Lists, along with a pre-school and two after-school programs on the island of Bequia. All are worthy of your support!

BEQUIA: The Learning Centre

60 students • Grades K to 6
Library makeover! For years, after-school programs at the Learning Centre helped children build their academic and literacy skills. Now the staff has reorganized the center library according to the color-coded, covers-facing-out guidelines of the Hands Library Manual for Primary Schools. Recently, the culled the worn-out books (book sale or giveaway), and the library needs an infusion of new books to feed its voracious readers.

BEQUIA: Bequia Children’s Reading Club

60 children • Grades K to 6
The Saturday readers. Cheryl Johnson, who runs a bookstore in Admiralty Bay, the large, beautiful bay which acts as “yachtie central” for many hundreds of visiting sailors and charter-boat parties each season, also runs a very popular Saturday reading club for local kids in the patio of The Fig Tree waterfront restaurant. Sailors volunteer to read to and mentor the children—a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

BEQUIA: Glen’s Pre-School

30 children • Ages 3 to 4+
Eager early readers. 
Notes from John and Darcy: “This school has earned a sparkling reputation on Bequia. The school grounds are lovely and clean, and the interior features bright colors and learning on every wall. Money is very tight for supplies, but Glynis (photo) and her team of four teachers do their very best. When the kids graduate, they have grasped phonics and can read.”

MAYREAU: Mayreau Pre-School

35 children
Hooray! A pre-school for Mayreau! The children are ready. The parents are ready. The school staff is ready. The school building is built. At long last, the island of Mayreau will be opening its very own pre-school. John and Darcy Dillon, sailors on Kindred Spirit, want to fill the bookshelves so that all is ready for the first day of pre-school. That is going to be one totally exciting day in the history of Mayreau, the tiny island with big dreams!

MAYREAU: Mayreau Primary School

48 children • Grades K to 6
The one-room schoolhouse. Mayreau is a very small island, with a small but very proud population. The primary school is a classic Caribbean one-room structure. The grade “classrooms” are separated by moveable chalkboards, and the ventilation is provided by holes in the concrete-block walls. The Principal does a great job, despite limitations, and the 360-degree view from the school, which is perched on top of the peak of Mayreau, encompasses the Grenadines and more.

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