What remains of the university library

Books on their way to support hurricane-destroyed library in The Bahamas

3rd December 2019 | News

Book Aid International today sent 2,500 brand new, publisher-donated books from its South London warehouse to University of The Bahamas. The library of University of The Bahamas-North’s northern campus on the island of Grand Bahama was destroyed when Hurricane Dorian – one of the strongest hurricanes on record to hit The Bahamas – struck in September 2019. Approximately 600 faculty, staff and students were displaced and left without any access to books.

Hurricane Dorian lashed the islands with winds in excess of 180 miles per hour and sea surges of over 20 feet. Thousands of people were displaced when homes and communities were severely damaged or destroyed.

Through the support of UK publishers, Book Aid International has today sent 2,500 books, offering brand new books to replace those which were destroyed in the hurricane. Books which were lost included those in subject areas of education, business and the sciences. University Librarian Dr. Berthamae Walker said the donation of books will go a long way towards helping to restore a sense of normalcy for students and the members of the University community in Grand Bahama.

“Though Hurricane Dorian caused massive disruption, our University of the Bahamas-North community is determined to rebound. Less than a month after the hurricane struck, classes resumed at temporary locations on the island so access to books and other publications to support students’ continued academic pursuits is fundamentally important. We are so grateful for the support from Book Aid International and we look forward to building a stronger relationship for the benefit of our educational community.”

Book Aid International always stands ready to help wherever books are lost to disaster or conflict, but this book donation is particularly special as Book Aid International was founded in The Bahamas. In 1952 the Countess of Ranfurly moved to The Bahamas with her husband, who was Governor General there.

As Lady Ranfurly toured the islands she was shocked at the lack of reading materials for all ages. She set about collecting books that could be packed up and sent on to schools, libraries and institutions on the islands. Thus, the Ranfurly Out Island Library was born – the organisation which would become Book Aid International. Book Aid International’s Chair Lord Paul Boateng commented on this very special donation, saying:

“These storms have a devastating effect on books, libraries and those who use and work in them. The destruction of the library on Grand Bahama was complete and The Bahamas was where our founder the Countess Ranfurly started her work. In stepping up to meet the challenge of its restocking Book Aid International is coming home.”

Book Aid International plans to send an additional 2,500 books to University of The Bahamas in early 2020 and is appealing for donations of higher education texts as well as funds for this upcoming shipment.

To support Book Aid International’s response in The Bahamas click here. If you would like to discuss a donation of brand new books, please contact the charity by emailing Harry Boughton or calling 020 7733 3577.

Learn more about the reconstruction efforts taking place on The University of The Bahamas website.

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