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A book bank has been established in the Poor Relief Department of the St. James Parish Council, through which primary and secondary school students can access text books and other relevant reading material.
The facility, which is a project of the 2007/2008 Junior Council, was officially launched in the Council Chamber, located in Montego Bay yesterday (Nov. 11).
Giving an overview of the project, Davian Reynolds, one of the youth councillors said: “we intend to make education more accessible to our many young people and to accelerate the proliferation of education as a commodity, an asset and a genuine investment. It is with this in mind that we began to formulate the Junior Council’s book bank project.”
He explained that the Poor Relief Department was chosen to house the book bank, as that department caters to some 300 destitute children, who cannot afford to purchase school books.
Davian informed that the project was funded through donations of cash and books from the Montego Bay community, which responded enthusiastically to an appeal for support. He said the books are those commonly used in secondary and primary schools throughout the parish.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the St. James Parish Council and Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Charles Sinclair Jnr., commended the young people for launching the book bank, noting that several students will benefit from the initiative.
President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), Lloyd B Smith, who gave the main address at the launch, pointed to the benefits of reading.
“We are now in what is being called the information age. Without information the average human being is nothing more than an animal,” he stated. “It is when you have knowledge that you become someone of worth and substance and in order to achieve that objective you have to read,” he added.
He pledged his organisation’s support for the project, noting that it should be continued at all cost.
At the launch, the National Commercial Bank Foundation presented the Junior Council with a cheque for $100,000 towards the project.
The book bank will operate in a manner similar to the secondary school book rental system. Students accessing books from the facility will receive them at no cost, but will be required to return them at the end of the academic year.
A registry of the students who utilise the facility will be kept.