What’s “hottest” at Philipsburg Jubilee Library?

The Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) closed its doors here to the public over the weekend so that its librarians could take part in an essential 3-day seminar, October 30 – November 1.


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The library will re-open on November 2. But reading is not taking a holiday. And PJL’s customers appear to be an active enough bunch with as much ‘trending now’behavior as www.yahoo.com users.

How else to explain the following "hottest" picks at PJL’s e-Library of "What Others Are Reading"? According to the new streamlined website, for adults and youths using the services of PJL, the "Hottest title: Love Songs Make You Cry; Hottest author: Danielle Steel; Hottest subject: African-American literature – Fiction." Love Songs Make You Cry is the first St. Martin book of short stories, published on the island. This is a good thing for St. Martin’s literature and Caribbean books.

And what publisher could resist commenting on such an activity tagging a seminal collection published over 20 years ago? So I pitched the story to HNP, the book’s

publisher. "That’s really good news," said Jacqueline Sample, president of HNP.

"Trends like these go up and down and usually don’t last long. We noticed that many students were reading Love Songs in 2009 for their school assignments so this new information is exciting."

"It encourages us when we see the ways people make use of HNP books. We are happy for the library, that it can document such activities in our society."

"I wish the library more successes as a busy center for information and documentation, for leisure and serious readers in St. Martin," said Sample.

While I tried in vain to get a comment from the book’s author, Lasana Sekou, I did find out that Love Songs might also be one of possibly only two books from St.

Martin on the territory’s elementary and high school reading lists at PJL. According to the e-Library data, there are 123 books from a variety of countries

and territories for the "English for Havo/Vwo" list and 111 titles for the "Book list English TKL." So, only two books from the island speak of a shortage?

Sample said that as far as the education system in concerned, HNP is working toward the day when there would be far more books by more St. Martin authors to

compete for readers, and for students, teachers, and researchers to use.

Meanwhile, for who didn’t take note, PJL is now more than just a public library, competing with exciting multimedia and digital devices. According to the website, the 2010 "constitutional changes have resulted in the Philipsburg Jubilee Library becoming the National Library" of the territory.

For more information of the PJL services, facilities, its many books and magazines in various languages, and to keep up with its activities and "trends," visit PJL

or check out www.stmaartenlibrary.org

To find out about being a volunteer, or a sponsor for the upkeep of the only public library in the South of the island, call 542.2970 or email info@stmaartenlibrary.org

As for the importance of sponsorship, let’s read it in the library’s own words: "The Philipsburg Jubilee Library welcomes and encourages sponsorship from local

businesses, corporations, families and individuals." "The aim of sponsorship is to obtain funding or in-kind support to provide services and equipment that may not otherwise be available, to enhance events, programs, activities and services to the community." Oh, about the Danielle Steel novels and US literary fictions popular now at PJL,maybe I can pitch another story to their publishers.

Kevin Davids is a journalism student in the USA from Kittitian background.