There was a substantial turn out at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Elaine Ione Sprauve Library & Museum of Cultural Arts on June 13th as St John residents were thrilled to tour the refurbished library, the first completed FEMA recovery project to open its doors on St John.
The opening ceremony began with an Invocation by Father Anthony Abraham of Our Lady of Mount Carmel R.C. Church, followed by a moving rendition of the National Anthem and Virgin Islands March by the talented, well respected St John Island Administrator, Shikima Jones-Sprauve.
Dr. Gilbert Sprauve followed with a delightful, brief talk on the importance of having a library available to all citizens, especially in these day of digital social disconnection. Dr. Sprauve, a retired professor of modern languages, has a Ph.D. in linguistics from Princeton University. He is a folklorist, a storyteller, a previous Virgin Islands senator, a community activist and a fisherman.
Highlights included Governor Albert Bryan Jr.’s speech who reminisced about his childhood memories of the library that instilled in him a love for reading and learning. The gathering chuckled as Governor Bryan touted the buildings’ air conditioning as a key feature in reaching St John youth. He added that every qualifying household can receive a complimentary device to access the online Hoopla site which allows card holders 24hr access to ebooks, audio books, movies, games, music and more. https://www.usvipubliclibraries.com/hoopla There are also multiple on-site computers offering free WiFi access. I was personally impressed by the number of books and welcoming areas dedicated to children.
Lieutenant Governor Roach discussed the difficult process of getting the project completed and how additional funding by the Virgin Island’s government was required for necessities such as painting beyond the $325,000 allocated by FEMA. Both the exterior and interior spaces are beautiful and well stocked.
The Library remains closed as the government continues its search for full time staff to operate the facility. It is eventually expected to be open Mondays through Saturdays, closing at 6pm. On the hill just above Cruz Bay, the Enighed Estate Great House was built in 1757 and housed a sugar factory and horse-driven mill. Enighed (pronounced en-nee-high) is Danish for “concord” (unity or peace).
Elaine Ione Sprauve was a dedicated St John resident who was known by most residents as Auntie Laine. Her only child, Jean Gibbs, recalled her mother as very gracious, extremely kind and having a lot of patience. The Legislature in 1980 decided on this honor because of her long years of government service and contributions to the people of the Virgin Islands. Affectionately remembered as “someone who would help anyone”, Ms Sprauve was also a board member to over eight groups that help the young, elderly, handicapped and women.
Additional announcements of special interest included Lieutenant Roach’s statement that there is currently a HUD program in place to make St John the first island in the USVI to have an address system established. Governor Bryan mentioned the current housing crisis on island and was pleased to say that the USVI government is currently looking to purchase land on St John for much-needed affordable, long-term housing. Do you have a property that qualifies? As an Associate with 340 Real Estate Co., I would be delighted to assist you with this propitious transaction or any Real Estate inquiries you may have. I can be reached by calling 340-777-7002 or by email at [email protected]