JKPL celebrates 24 years in the CNMI

Dozens of children and library enthusiasts gathered at the Joeten Kiyu Public Library last Saturday to show their support and help celebrate the library’s 24th anniversary.

The lineup of events included storytelling with local authors, grounds beatification, Christmas caroling, raffle prizes, and book sales that highlighted the library’s role in promoting literacy and a sense of community.

Acting JKPL director Erlinda Naputi said the library is a lasting educational investment of indigenous entrepreneurs Jose Camacho Tenorio and Manuel Seman Villagomez who built the facility in 1991.

“We are truly blessed…for all the assistance throughout [the 24 years]. Prior to [1991], we didn’t have a public library but because of their hard work and dedication we have a library—the best library in the Pacific,” she said.

This year, the library focused on recovering from Typhoon Soudelor. With the assistance of the Division of Forestry, 100 plants were donated to beautify the library grounds.

Soledad Tenorio, a granddaughter of Jose Tenorio and the library council’s treasurer, said the library’s 24 years symbolizes many milestones.

“I know if my grandfather was alive today, he would be very happy to see how far the library has come and how hardworking the staff is in keeping the library alive. It’s been hard in the last few years but I give a lot of credit to the volunteers and all the staff who’ve been working overtime to keep the library alive, especially after the typhoon. With Erlinda at the helm…I really think that 2016 will be a good year for us,” she said.

Technical Services librarian Rosalyn Ajoste said that libraries are the greatest equalizer of society.

“Libraries are a place where people can come and get an informal education. Historically, libraries were known as the poor man’s university since the library exists to promote literacy and reading for enjoyment. It’s a place where people can come and check out resources free of charge,” she said. “All you need is a library card.”

The library has 70,000 items for the public to choose from, 16,000 alone for the children’s section and an IT center that helps bridge the digital divide for those looking to improve their 21st century skills.

Also at the celebration were acting governor Ralph DLG Torres, his wife Diann, Lands and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Seman, Agriculture director Manuel Tenorio, the Department of Corrections Christmas carolers, Best Sunshine International, Ltd. representatives, Petey Pablo and the Matua Riders.

The library is open from Tuesday to Friday at 10am to 6pm and Saturday from 9am to 4pm.

For more information about the library, call 235- 7318 or log on to marianaslibrary.org.

Daisy Demapan | Reporter

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