A growing list of more than 50 civic-minded Bahamian authors has come together to provide 17 public libraries in Eleuthera with new copies of their books. At the time of the presentation, more than 550 books were donated, with additional copies on the way. This whirlwind initiative was spearheaded by local authorand publisher Mrs. Teri M. Bethel of BooksByBethel.com, a website that features Bahamian authors (and residents of the Bahamas) who provide books with family-friendly reading content. The initiative, however, was not limited to their website’s authors. “We were delighted to come across many talented writers in the Bahamas who we did not know before this book drive,” Mrs. Bethel indicated. “While some had already made their books available to several of the libraries around the Bahamas, others embraced the opportunity to join the effort to build, inspire, and entertain the far-reaching communities in Eleuthera.” Mrs. Bethel further indicated that when authors or their families found out about what was being done, they immediately threw their hand in (so to speak) as an act of participating in nation-building.”
When asked about the inspiration behind the gesture, Mrs. Bethel noted that she had read a story in the Eleutheran Newspaper featuring a 6 th -grade student from the Tarpum Bay Primary School. The little girl, De’Anntae Hepburn, had started a virtual reading club to encourage fellow students to read. They wanted to know why she was so clever, so she let them in on her little secret—it was reading. “My husband Tellis and I immediately wanted to be a part of her program. But rather than limiting the books to a selection from my immediate family, we thought why not get others involved to make great reading accessible for
both children and adults throughout the island.”
Mrs. Dorcas Bowler, Director of Public Libraries in the Bahamas, immediately embraced this project. The Director indicated her delight to partner with Mrs. Bethel and her team of authors in the initiative. “Reading is the bridge to knowledge and the gateway to the world of opportunities and exploration,” Mrs. Bowler noted. “It is imperative that we instil in young people the love of reading and information literacy at an early age; doing so in an appealing and fun-filled environment.”
Mrs. Bowler commended young De’Anntae Hepburn as the brainchild of establishing a virtual reading club for her schoolmates, especially in this unprecedented time of COVID-19. She went on to say, “Here is a child at this tender age who already knows the importance of reading and is willingly sharing that love with her peers.”
Upon receiving her personal package of children’s books Bahamian, little Ms. Hepburn was elated, stating that the gift was a complete surprise. She also told Mrs. Bethel of her club’s plan to publish a book on their experiences over the past year on adjusting to their changes from the classroom to the computer. In a separate presentation, several of Eleuthera’s librarians said they were elated to have such a diverse range donated to them and likened them to having struck gold as it was not often they received books from Bahamian authors.
Contributing to this effort are authors who range from well-known forerunners of internationally published titles to a group of dynamic first-time self-published authors in the Bahamas, many of whom are from Eleuthera. The genres include English literature, adventure novels for children, fiction (adults), Bahamian history, tourism, poetry, marriage enrichment, devotionals, family life, counseling, deliverance, inspiration, and more. Among the authors are Mr. Tate Bethel, Commodore Tellis Bethel, Mrs. Teri Bethel, Ms. Yvette Bethel, Dr. Dave Burrows, Ms. Davrielle Burrows, Pastor Princess Burrows, Mrs. Angela Cleare, Ms. Alvonia Collie, Ms. Opal Cooper, Pastor Kersch Darville, Ms. Ernestia Fraser, Sir Randol Fawkes (donated by Rosalie Fawkes), Ms. Doris Johnson, Pastor Sharnette Kemp, Mrs. Anna Lewis, Ms. Jacqueline Micklewhyte, Ms. Chrystal Moss, Mr. Dayvon Moss, Mr. Oden Moss, Mrs. Jewel Moncur Moss, Dr. Myles Munroe (donated by his children Chairo & Charissa), Rev. Angela Palacious, Dr. Richard Pinder (donated by his wife Pastor Sheena Pinder), Ms. Gabrielle Pratt, Rev. Ulric Smith, Mrs. Kim Sweeting, Ms. Audra Tynes, Mrs. Bekera
Taylor, Pastor Clarice Thompson, Ms. Claudette Thompson, Mrs. Jennifer Stack, Dr. Paulette Stuart, and Dr. Susan J. Wallace.