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Hispanic Collection Dedicated at Williams Library
by Carol Buchanan

Carmen Miray Dominguez recites a poem by Virgilio Davila.
Carmen Miray Dominguez recites a poem by Virgilio Davila.

     Oct. 13, 2007 -- More than 80 people attended a formal dedication ceremony Friday night at the Florence Williams Library in Christiansted for the opening of the Hispanic Collection.
     "The library is a sacred place," said former Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole, acting director of libraries, archives and museums.
     Cole turned over the program to his predecessor at the library, the recently retired Wallace Williams, to fill in the background of the library efforts.
     After recounting the library's initiatives for Spanish speakers, Williams said, "Enjoy this collection, it's your library. Encourage your children to come and enjoy it."
     He added, "Your library card is the key to these wonderful resources."
     A collection of Hispanic books was located in a library in Estate Slob that closed in 1997. Earlier this year, Zoraida E. Jacobs, reading campaign coordinator for the Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship Committee, asked the administrators of the Florence Williams Library if they could find room for the Hispanic collection of books.
     The location chosen is on the first floor of the Christiansted library, with space to hold more than 2,700 books. There are currently about 500 volumes.
     Jacobs is expecting 30 more boxes of books from the University of Puerto Rico Institute of Culture and is looking for volunteers to get the books ready for the shelves.
     Jacobs will be asking residents what other books they want to see in the collection.
     Also on display was a collection of books in the lobby from writer Edgar Lake's collection. Lake enthusiastically explained to interested residents how most of his books dealt with the intermingling of cultures.
     He was not the only person there enthused with literature.
     Jose "Chin" Figueroa and Carmen Miray Dominquez recited poems in Spanish. Richard Schrader, author and poet, read about his connection with his Hispanic neighbors from his book "Kallaloo." Lake read works of Joseph Patrick Gimenez.
     Othelio "Chino" Concepcion played three guitar pieces, closing with a sing-along of "My Old San Juan."
     The event closed out the Puerto Rico-St. Croix Friendship week, and prominent Hispanic public figures such as Sen. Juan Figueroa-Serville and Pedro Encarnacion, the St. Croix administrator, were on hand.

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