Posted by: universallearningcentreblog | August 26, 2011

First Public Library in Ouanaminthe, Haiti to Open in 2012




Yes, the exciting news we have here at ULC is that mid-2012, we will be opening our 2nd library in Haiti!  Once again, the Parliament Foundation of Quebec has been so kind as to bestow upon us 25,000 books from all categories in the Dewey Decimal System.  This is the second such gift ULC has received and we are beyond thrilled to partner again with the Foundation to provide such wonderful resources to the people of Haiti.

The team in Pilate unpacks the 25,000 books received from the Parliament Foundation of Quebec for ULC's first library in Haiti

The process is an interesting one.  Once the Parliament Foundation accepts a request for books, they extend their reaches throughout Canada to collect books from libraries to fill the order.  The books range from gently used to brand new, but are always high quality and relevant.  The process took about eight months from the time our first request was accepted and the time the arrived in Pilate.  The shipment sat a while due to a strike at one of the harbors where the cargo ship stopped, and then again in the harbor in Port-au-Prince while we waited, like many others who had to endure the customs process that was overwhelmed after the earthquake.  This time, it may take 10 to 12 months for the shipment to arrive in Ouanaminthe, because the demand is greater now and it will take longer to compile the shipment.  There are two other organizations scheduled ahead of us, so their orders will be shipped first, of course.  We hope to receive the books by August, 2012, but the chunk of time between now and then will give us just enough time to secure the facility and build out to fit our needs, as well as to do other “house keeping” type of activities such as hiring and training staff, raising funds for their salaries, and more.

Preparing the facility in Pilate, Haiti for the arrival of the 25,000 books

Now, the real work begins.  ULC is responsible for the cost to ship the books to Haiti, which could total up to $30,000, including freight costs as well as customs fees.  In order to raise those funds, the Board of Directors will be hard at work in the next several months, working on a multi-faceted fundraising campaign, targeted at individual donors as well as large foundations and corporations.  We will share the campaign via the blog and other social media as soon as we kick it off, so please watch for information as we describe ways you might be able to help.  Feel free to refer back to or for ideas on how you might help.  Every little bit contributed helps enormously and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support and continued interest.

This time next year, I hope to be reporting back to you about shelving the books in Ouanaminthe and a holding grand opening to introduce ULC to the surrounding community!  For now, enjoy the pictures below, and join us in celebrating ULC’s latest milestone!  Watch for more details about Ouanaminthe, the new library and how the town’s Mayor, Rony Pierre, has been instrumental in helping ULC locate and secure a facility.  More to come in the following days!

Aerial view of Ouanaminthe

Catholic Church in Ouanaminthe

Town Square in the center of Ouanaminthe

Baptist Church in Ouanaminthe

Ouanaminthe is located near the north eastern border with the Dominican Republic, south of Fort Liberte

Library Card used in Pilate


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