SALUDA, South Carolina-Thanks to the efforts of volunteers in Saluda County, young adults on a remote island in the Central Pacific will have some much-needed reading material.
Kayla Haynes, interim director of the Saluda County Library, led a joint effort with the Friends of the Saluda County Library to put together a gift of several dozen fiction books for teenage and adult readers on the tiny island of Mogmog. Situated about 300 miles south of Guam, Mogmog is one of only four inhabited islands in an outlying string of Micronesian islands called Ulithi.
The island's small public elementary school has a sparsely furnished reading room that doubles as a community library. The addition of several boxes of books will be a source of tremendous excitement for a community with very limited access to new literature.
“These are books that were being pulled from circulation, so we're excited to know they'll continue to be enjoyed,” Haynes explained.
The Friends of the Library is a nonprofit organization that supports Saluda County's two public libraries. Their work includes sponsoring public support of the library, promoting library facilities and services as well as providing additional money for library materials, equipment and services.
The donation will be sent to Micronesia by the Habele Outer Island Education Fund, another South Carolina based charity. “Habele” was established in 2006 by a group of former Peace Corps Volunteers who served as librarians and teachers in the Federated States of Micronesia. In addition to supporting public school and community libraries in the remote “Outer Islands” of Micronesia, the group also organizes after-school programs including traditional canoe carving and robotics competitions.
“These young adult and adult fiction books are great,” said Neil Mellen, a Habele volunteer in Columbia. “Remote communities like Mogmog are starved for educational materials, and we're doing everything we can to help meet that need with limited resources. Now, the older readers on Mogmog must take an open boat across the choppy lagoon to the high school library on another island just to check out books at this reading level. The generosity of the Friends of the Salauda Library will save them the trip!”