Honiara City Library serves the city’s estimated 64,000 people and has about 6500 books in its collection.
6 June 2017
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is delivering about a tonne of textbooks and children’s books to the Solomon Islands this week to help restock the sole public library in the South Pacific country’s capital.
Daphne Smithers, a New Zealander working as a library adviser at Honiara City Library as part of Volunteer Service Abroad, said she chose the books from Rotary donations when she went home to Greymouth a year ago.
“These are mainly textbooks and non-fiction books that secondary and tertiary students desperately need, as well as children’s books,” she said. “I am glad that the NZDF can help us by delivering these books because they had been sitting in a Greymouth warehouse for a year.”
A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft on a scheduled flight to the Pacific left Whenuapai this morning with the donated books.
Ms Smithers said Honiara City Library served the city’s estimated 64,000 population, and had about 6500 books in its collection. However, the majority of the books dated from the 1980s and 1990s and were in poor condition because of constant exposure to moisture and dust in the absence of an air-conditioning unit.
“The young people in Honiara are hungry for books,” she said.
“So everyone at the City Library and the Honiara City Council, as well as some of the students who use the library frequently, was thrilled when I told them that the books are finally on their way.”
The NZDF’s delivery of the donated books came at a propitious time because the library planned to introduce an electronic loans system in July, she said.
“Our junior section is buzzing after school and with these new books I am sure more young people and even the adults will come to the library.”
Air Commodore Darryn Webb, the Air Component Commander, said the NZDF regularly helped deliver donated books to Pacific Island countries.
In February, an Air Force C-130 aircraft delivered more than three tonnes of donated textbooks to Fiji, and more than a tonne of children’s books to Papua New Guinea.
“We are delighted that we can help the young people in the Solomon Islands and other Pacific countries in a tangible way. We all know how reading opens new worlds to young people, introduces them to new ideas, and improves literacy,” Air Commodore Webb said.