The Division of Libraries, Archives & Museums

The Virgin Islands Public Library System



Illustrations courtesy of Leo Carty,
"Artist in Residence”
The Florence Williams Public Library








The Division of Libraries and Archives

Literacy Volunteer Application Form here

History of the St. Croix Literacy Center 

1985 Initial establishment of the project as Virgin Islands Training for Adult Literacy (V.I.T.A.L.), for the orientation and training of Administrators. It included 18 hours of tutor training funded by the National Diffusion Network Facilitators Project and the State Department of Bilingual Education.  The purpose was to provide one-on-one tutoring for adults with reading competency of 4th grade or less.  It was based on the F.I..S.T. (Functional In-Service Training) model developed by Middlesex College, New Jersey. 

1986 The State Office of Adult Education Assumed fiscal and administrative responsibility.  Thirty individuals completed the second tutor training workshop.  Eight tutors were bilingual. 

1987 The First V.I.T.A.L. newsletter was created to bring the latest information to the volunteers for literacy on St. Croix.  The third training class was conducted.  Established a one-on-one tutoring project at the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility. 

The Virgin Islands Virgin Islands Literacy Alliance was initiated by the Florence Williams Public Library, it consisted of all the agencies, organizations and entities involved in the advancement of adult literacy.

1988 A plan for the cooperation between the public library literacy program and V.I.T.A.L. was agreed to and the name was change to Literacy Center of St. Croix.  The center was located on the fourth floor of the Florence Williams Public Library. 

1989 The Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums applied for a $25,000 grant from the LSCA (Library Services and Construction Act) for the expansion of the Literacy Center with the library by providing reading instruction to adults who were illiterate, hoping to attract adults and their families as patrons of the public library. 

1.    To continue to build the reading collections

2.    To hire a part-time Literacy Center Technician

3.    To expand the awareness of the program 

Hurricane Hugo destroyed the Florence Williams Public Library and severely damaged its collections. 

1990 The Literacy Center was re-opened in estate Zion Farm under the Dept. of Education Adult Education Division.

1991 Re-established literacy tutoring program at the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility.

The first tutor training since Hurricane Hugo was conducted in March 1991.  23 Tutors were Trained and several of them were matched with adult new readers. 

The St.Croix Adult Literacy Alliance, a non-profit organization was formed and incorporated in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The purpose of the Alliance is to promote literacy programs, to receive grants and gifts, to organize fund-raising activities and to act in the interest of adult literacy on St. Croix. 

1996 The New Adult Readers Room of the Florence Williams Public Library opened in partnership with the St. Croix Literacy Center. 

2000 National Connections Adult Literacy Project   

"National Connections" is designed to give adult literacy students an opportunity to gather with their peers to discuss timeless themes and to make connections, sometimes for the first time, between books and their own lives.  It was offered by a coalition that consists of the library, the state humanities council, a local literacy organization, and a scholar. 

The Florence Williams Public Library was one of 40 libraries nationwide selected to participate in this project organized by the Vermont Council on the Humanities in partnership with the American Library Association Public Programs Office.  The project was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. A team of four from the Virgin Islands including the Literacy Coordinator, the Virgin Island  Humanities Council, a reading scholar from the University of the Virgin Islands and a librarian participated in the training and conducted a pilot project at the Florence Williams Public Library. 

National Prime Time Family Reading Program 

FWPL was selected as one of 14 libraries in the U.S. as a participant in the National Prime Time Family Reading Program.  This is a reading, discussion and storytelling series offered by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with the American Library Association and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Locally the library worked in cooperation with the VISTA/Americorp program, the V.I.Humanities Council, the St.Croix Literacy Center and the FRIENDS on this project. 

This project received at least three mentions in local newspapers and numerous hits on local radio and television.  One article was a cover story with cover  photograph which appeared in The St.Croix Avis on July 30-31. 

There was a total of 97 people registered, among them 28 families.  The total attendance was 308 for the six consecutive Saturday sessions.  The average weekly attendance was 51.6% with 14.6% adults and 36.6% children.  20 library cards were issued to this group. Plans are to further evaluate the project and determine as to whether to continue it, hopefully in all the V.I. public libraries. 

2001 The USVI READS Story and Art Time Program continued in its second year as a family literacy program at the Florence Williams Public Library. This project is organized by AmeriCorp/VISTA Janice Daniels.    This program requires review and perhaps, revision in that this is the final year for the VISTA/Americorp Program. 

2003 The FWPL purchased $10,000 worth of Literacy Volunteers of America materials for the St.Croix Literacy Center/Adult New Readers room.

Two tutor training sessions were held at the Florence Williams Public Library. 

2005 New Literacy Coordinator hired.

St. Croix Literacy Center
a program of
The State Office of Vocational Technical and Adult Education and

The Division of Libraries, Archives & Museums/
Florence Williams Public Library

Government of The Virgin Islands
of the United States
Department of Education
The Department of Education






The Division of Libraries and Archives
1122 King St., Christiansted,
St. Croix, VI 00820
Ph.: 340-773-5715

Division of Libraries and Archives
#23 Dronningens Gade
St. Thomas, VI 00802
Ph.: 340-774-3407
Fax: 340-775-1887






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