We are three months post-ribbon cutting for St. John’s Elaine Ione Sprauve Public Library and are anxiously awaiting an update on when the public might actually have access to the facility.
UPDATE: After posting our article, a press release was shared on DPNR’s Facebook page on Wednesday morning that lists the opening date as Wednesday, September 13th. To read the original article with updates from the Territorial Director, see below – –
Rumors have swirled about what is causing the delay in opening, especially after such a grand ribbon cutting ceremony. Most recently, I had heard that a software installation issue was stalling progress. As a former stateside library employee, I understand that software and connectivity issues can definitely slow things down, but I also understand that libraries have existed long before computers. In my experience, we would revert to the old school library stamp when the computers were down so that people could still have access to books.
On Tuesday, I reached out to Amy Parker De Sorbo, the DPNR territorial director for Libraries, Archives and Museums, to be able to give everyone an accurate update and clear up the rumor mill.
On Tuesday morning, De Sorbo informed me that there would be a press release coming later today (Tuesday, September 5th) about the upcoming opening to patrons. At press time, the only DPNR press release on that date was regarding the Talking Books Book Club at the Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Challenged in Christiansted, St. Croix. The last press release regarding St. John’s library was posted on June 13th in regards to the June 14th ribbon cutting.
“We are so excited to energize Elaine Ione Sprauve Library and Museum of Cultural Arts,” De Sorbo said in her email.
Ms. De Sorbo asked if I had a library card and offered to have the team get me signed up. I was eager to get more information about requirements so that I could pass along the info to our News of St. John readers. DeSorbo says that they will be able to walk me through the process next week.
“I am so excited I accepted this position so I can be part of solution in Territory. Working with Administration and Commissioner has been amazing. While there have been many challenges faced, they have become learning opportunities,” De Sorbo said. “I understand the frustration about not being fully recovered from 2 CAT five hurricanes yet. The process with our Federal partners intensive. Then Lack of Contractors, supply chain demand problems, and throw in a Pandemic that literal [sic] shut us down on top of it. We are moving forward to open all our libraries and service our community.”
According to the DPNR website, of the six library branches listed in the territory, only two are open – the Florence Augusta Williams Public Library and the Regional Library For the Blind and Physically Challenged – both in Christiansted, St. Croix. Most recently, the Turnbull Regional Library in St. Thomas closed for renovations in late August.
I thanked Ms. De Sorbo for her information and work on the project, told her I was excited to read the press release later today (Tuesday), and asked if there was anything I could do to help.
“I would just appreciate some support,” De Sorbo said. “I work over 80 hours a week to do the people’s work, so much gets done behind the scenes.”
Although there has not yet been a press release providing information on an opening date at the time of publishing this article, we are optimistic a date will be announced soon based on the comments of Ms. De Sorbo.
At the time of the ribbon cutting it was mentioned that the library was not opening yet due to staffing.
We will update our readers as soon as a date is set for the opening of the library.
In the meantime, I will use this opportunity to invite any child who would like to attend a free storytime event to meet us at the gazebo in Franklin Powell Park on Monday afternoons at 4:30.
While my husband, Andy, and I read books and sing songs with the kiddos, our friends operate a book exchange in the park for all ages during this time. We had our first event on Monday, September 4th and are looking forward to many more in the future.