Barbadians are being encouraged to discover or rediscover the “simple and unembellished pleasure” of curling up with a good book.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Culture, Sharon Drayton, issued the challenge during a recent donation of books to the National Library Service (NLS) by the Mexican Embassy.
“Reading, especially reading aloud, is one of the most important things we can do for children. This gift will be part of a larger effort within the country to nurture and support a culture of reading in Barbadian schools,” she said.
She pointed out that books opened the imagination and sparked the creativity in readers, as they contained the wisdom of mankind and offered hope for the future.
Ms. Drayton said though we now lived in an age of internet and smart phones, viral YouTube clips, Facebook chats and tweets, research showed that reading books from an early age equipped children with the vocabulary and the ability to communicate at higher levels and excel in areas such as problem solving.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary further stressed that the simple pleasure improved children’s comprehension and study skills and built their self-esteem and social awareness.
She added that if children were encouraged to work hard and commit themselves to lifelong learning through reading, then doors would be opened for them.
Acting Director of the NLS, Jennifer Yarde, further noted that reading diverse literature could create a shared understanding and appreciation for the historical, and the current social, political and economic contributions of different societies around the globe.
Noting that this year marked the 175th anniversary for the National Library Service, she said library collections must be diverse and inclusive; offering windows into and reflections of the vast array of people, stories and experiences that make up our world.
Chargé d’Affaires at the Mexican Embassy in Barbados, Victor Valtierra Pérez, explained that the 21 Para El 21 book donation was being done to mark the 50th Anniversary of Mexico’s bilateral relations with Barbados.
“I am sure these books will create the strongest link between Mexico and Barbados…. There are 21 books, Mexican books,” he said, noting it was his first visit to the island. The books are written in Spanish and give residents the opportunity to practise the language.