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Libraries Open On St. Thomas and St. Croix … Arts Grants Available There … DPNR Moves Its Headquarters Into The Library

DISASTER EFFECTS: King Street in Christiansted in front of the Florence Williams Library after Hurricane Maria.

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) said the libraries on St. Thomas and St. Croix are now open.

The Charles Turnbull Regional Library on St. Thomas and the Florence Williams Library on St. Croix reopened on Monday, October 30th with new operational hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, DPNR Commissioner Dawn Henry said.

Services at the Turnbull Regional Library will be limited to the main-floor areas where the Public Computer Center, the Von Scholten Collection, and Public Services in the general circulation area are housed, Henry said.

“The popular Children’s Room will also be open for our younger clientele,” she said.

Florence Williams Public Library in Christiansted is ready for patrons and is equipped with electricity and Internet.

Acting Director Arlene Pinney-Benjamin is requesting for library patrons to return all checked out books, regardless of the condition – even hurricane damaged books, to either the Turnbull or Williams Library.

Henry urged the community to visit your library and borrow a good book during these times of recovery and fewer entertainment options.

Meanwhile, the V.I. Council on the Arts is giving out grants for art-related losses at the newly reopened St. Thomas Turnbull Regional Library and St. Croix Florence Williams Public Library, and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources has temporarily relocated to Turnbull Library.

DPNR is also helping the government with archival services with records and materials at risk or damaged in the recent storms.

According to a Monday news release from DPNR, services at the Turnbull Regional Library will be limited to the second-floor areas, where the public computer center, the Von Scholten Collection, and public services in the general circulation area are housed. The popular children’s room also will be open.

Florence Williams Public Library in Christiansted is ready for patrons and is equipped with electricity and internet, according to DPNR.

All of DPNR’s St. Thomas offices are now in Turnbull Library.

This includes all divisions, including Fish and Wildlife, the V.I. Council on the Arts and the State Historic Preservation Office.

The libraries phone service has not yet been restored, but residents can visit any of the divisions from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

According to DPNR, the U.S. National Endowment of the Arts will give damage assistance to art organizations, non-profits and individual artists, via annual state grants through the V.I. Council on the Arts. Any art organization needing technical assistance as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria can contact the VICA office to get a Damage Assessment Form.

Damage Assessment Forms will be available at their temporary location at the Charles W. Turnbull Regional Library on St. Thomas, or at the Mars Hill office or Florence Williams Public library on St. Croix.

To avoid interrupting library services, DPNR Commissioner Dawn Henry is asking everyone coming to the library for DPNR services to use the lower level entrance.

To help with its archival efforts, DPNR is asking all V.I. government entities to conduct a pre-assessment of their archival materials. These can include annual reports, minutes of board meetings, personnel files that may contain notices of personnel action, employees’ personal information, ceremonial booklets and photos.

DPNR also will provide curating assistance to preserve art collection, furnishings, and other V.I. collectibles.

“No matter how tempting it may be, please refrain from throwing away such valuable material, it’s an integral part of our history,” Henry urged in a statement.

According to DPNR, the department will contact agencies to schedule site visits. Any question or concerns can be called to (340) 643-6013.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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