Belair Government School reopens its library
The cutting of the ribbon to officially open the facility
February 14, 2023

Belair Government School reopens its library

Students at the Belair Government now have the use of a refurbished library which was re-opened yesterday, February 13.

The school received assistance to improve the small facility from a number of organisations including the Logos Hope book ship, and Hands Across the Sea.

“We are trying to change the lives of the students of the Belair government school by encouraging them to read,” the school’s principal, Carmalie Nichols-Bascombe said as she delivered remarks at a brief ceremony.

The re-opening coincides with the school’s observation of Literacy Week this week which is being held under the theme “Changing lives one book at a Time”, as the principal and staff seek to encourage all 163 students currently registered at the school to read more.

Students browsing the collection of books

Principal Nichols-Bascombe pointed out that reading “is an integral part in the development of any child. Reading, as we say, takes them places. They have to learn to read. If they’re travelling, they have to learn to read signs, fill forms and the likes. So, we know that it is very, very important for their development, for their academic development as well as their personal development, so,we are encouraging them to make use of the library and to take care of the resources that we have.”

The Belair Government School is one of 15 schools that have received a donation of books from the Hands Across the Sea organization.

Representative of the organization, Anna Bullock, said the donation is a “very wide collection of books and are ready for the students.”

Thanking the school’s leadership “for embracing the opportunity to improve the level of literacy in your school,” Bullock said “students have a basic right to read, and I think from time to time, somehow, this gets overlooked. But it is about time that we really do not just feel that it is basic that children have the basic right to read. “Instead, it is time for us to get up and see that children read and not only read but read well for this school year”.

Speaking on the role of the teachers, Bullock said “I am pleased that literacy is the core of your school improvement plan, and I urge you as a staff to be a united team as you work together to make each student a fluent and motivated reader. Times are changing and we do need to prepare our students with this life skill, so that they can face the real world successfully.”

She also urged the parents to play their part to help their children to develop a love of reading.

“There are books that are humorous, magical, mysterious, and adventurous… I want to encourage our parents. It is our job as parents so that the child can form good reading habits and experience the joys of reading at home.”

Bullock also called on the students to “practice to read to others, and by so doing you yourself will become a better reader. It is said that reading everyday keeps illiteracy away and that’s just what we want here at Belair Government school library.”

Minister of Education, Curtis King who also attended the ceremony pointed to the critical role of reading in the lives of children.

“Reading is absolutely important to the development of the child, and I remember a friend used to say ‘reading is to the mind what food is to the body’ just to drive home the importance of reading,” the Minister said.

“Too often I hear in the schools that you have a literacy coordinator and everyone seems to be waiting on the literacy coordinator to do reading, but reading is very much part of the curriculum,” said King, who is also Parliamentary Representative of West St George, the constituency in which the school is located.

“…we all can help our students to read by focusing time for that and by ensuring that the children read. So, I always have to make this point. Yes, literacy coordinator, we expect that you will play a leading role…we are all teachers of reading, let us not neglect that.”

As part of the preparation for the re-opening of the library a training session was conducted for seven students about two weeks ago.

And, the principal said the training would allow these children to “have a good idea of the setup of the library and they will be able to assist teachers during lunchtime to help to lend the books to other students. “They have been taught how to check out a book and check in one so that in itself is helping these students to learn to assume responsibility”.