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“A Chance Encounter”- a book lover stumbles upon her passion

February 13, 2015

:: by Rosana John

 

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      Shanna ensuring that all the books are categorized correctly.
Photography by Malaika Brooks-Smith- Lowe

It is a surprisingly cool and quiet evening at the Mt. Zion Library and all that can be heard is the steady hum of the recently donated fan and the distant drone of chatter and traffic.  The library has closed for the day and Shanna Julien sits completely engrossed in her novel.  “The Duppy” by Anthony Winkler is her paperback of choice for the day. She will not sleep until she is finished. It is her third book for the week and it is only Wednesday.

The twenty-four year old poet, singer and aspiring songwriter recalls reading from as early as the age of three. “It really kills me when I can’t get a book to read…literally!” she exclaims, her eyes serious behind her razor cut bangs.  When asked about her favourite book, that question was simply impossible to answer.  Nonetheless when presented with the  hypothetical scenario of being stranded on a desert island, and having only three books at her disposal, she identified ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ by Jeff Kinney , ‘Best of Friends’ by Cathy Kelly and the Bible as her companions of choice.

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The Children’s Library

 

It seems only natural that a booklover would volunteer at a library, however when asked about how her relationship with the Mt. Zion Library commenced, she smiled and replied that she had no glamorous story to tell.  She explained that on the day in question, she had gone over to the neigbouring phone repair shop to collect an item and was told that she had to wait. In order to pass the time she started walking around only to stumble upon the library. Upon being told that it was free she joined instantly and checked out her first two books. She kept returning and at times even borrowing as many as six books in one week! Her passion for reading was apparent and Oonya, the library’s Director asked if she wished to volunteer. It was an easy decision since as a volunteer she would have unlimited access to books.  A few months later when the library received more funding, she was offered the post of Head librarian. She describes the news as incredible; ‘I am being paid to do something that I actually enjoy!’

Shanna loves coming to work every day. She cites Oonya as being “the best Director ever” and Alesia Aird as being “so funny” and a pleasure to work with.  “I love looking at other people enjoy what I love!” she exclaims with a great sense of satisfaction. However, she laments that currently the library has very few male members and as such she is working on compiling a ‘wish list’ of books that may attract male readership.

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Shanna soon learnt that the Mt Zion Library is more than a centre for housing books. Volunteering at the library has broadened her horizons and she describes her most memorable experience as representing the library at a workshop on Gender Equality organized by CUSO International. At this forum, she was able to learn so much and gain a new perspective on society. The library has also hosted two workshops on Literacy​, Prejudice and Discrimination from which she also benefited.  Shanna is very excited about the library’s new adult literacy programme at the Motivational Reading and Writing Club and looks forward to seeing how the library’s work continues to positively impact the community.

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Rosana John

Project Intern, Groundation Grenada

project Intern Rosana is an attorney-at-law and a member of the Mt.Zion Library. As Groundation’s 2014  Project Intern, she is closely involved in literacy-based projects.

Groundation Grenada, as a co-founder of the library, envisaged the Volunteer Profile Series as a means of telling the stories of the individuals who give so much of their time and effort to   keep the library up and running from day to day.

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