October 17 was an historic day for Sandy Point. Their community library was officially opened. The library is named the ‘Naomi “Virgie” Lightbourne’ Community library in honour of the lady who has made a great impact on the betterment of the community throughout her long life. Although born in the nearby settlement of Crossing Rocks, Naomi Lightbourne moved to Sandy Point to begin her early education at the Sandy Point All Age School. It is stated that from the very first day of class she knew she was certain of her career path and knew her destiny would involve shaping the lives of others through education.
By the time she turned 14, Naomi was officially employed as a monitor within the Ministry of Education and given the mandate to cultivate the minds of students in grades one and two. She worked unselfishly and willingly from 1948 to 1968, most times going above and beyond the call of duty and since retiring in 1968 she has been persuaded to go back twice due to teacher shortages but in 2001 she said her final farewell to the teaching profession and returned to private life.
In addition to her 41 years of service in the field of education, Mrs. Lightbourne is also an ordained deaconess, member of the senior choir and leader within the church and community at large.
The library was blessed by catechist Benjamin Pinder who stated that two years ago the building was almost derelict but the town community got permission to fix it up. The roof and walls were replaced and the Library Association formed. Donations were received from the town committee, Member of Parliament for South Abaco and the general public.
“This library is a representation of the hard work of people of the community,” stated Mr. Pinder.
Keynote speaker for the occasion was Pastor Erskine Wells Jr, the gist of whose message to the young people was that, “Your only limits are the limits you put on yourselves. It’s not how you begin, it’s how you end,” and he told of how Mrs. Lightbourne has touched generations.
Several other persons presented remarks. Leslie Rolle of the Ministry of Education, who was representing Lenora Black, stated that a library is a centre of learning in any community and the presence of one shows that a community is advancing. Frank Hepburn recognized Naomi Lightbourne as a born teacher whom he was happy was being recognized and he encouraged the children that when they grow up in life they must remember to give back as she had done. Shawn Roberts, Chief Councilor for South Abaco, was proud that the day would go down in the history of the community. He spoke of all the advantages of libraries and the fundamental role they play in society and then encouraged everyone to “make use of our library.”
Preston Cunningham, Senior Island Administrator, who has previously served twice as Administrator in Sandy Point, stated that the working together towards one common cause can bring remarkable results. He encouraged children instead of watching television to get into the library.
Edison Key, Member of Parliament for South Abaco, was also scheduled to speak but was unable to attend – but his contribution as a benefactor in the establishment of the library was recognized.
Diana Fox, President of the Naomi “Virgie” Lightbourne Community Library, gave a vote of thanks. She thanked especially the high school girls who had helped in getting the library together and thanked God “for allowing us to get to this day for the betterment of the young.”
Administrator for South Abaco, Lavon Harris Smith, who served as moderator for the occasion, stated that she would like to reiterate all that had been mentioned and said, “Reading is the key to the future and I would like parents to encourage their children to come to the library.”
A plaque and bouquet were presented to Mrs. Lightbourne who stated that she appreciated being thanked and she thanked God for all the children she had taught. Certificates of appreciation were also presented to individuals and companies who had contributed towards the refurbishment of the library.
Following the cutting of the ribbon by Mrs. Lightbourne, visitors went in to admire the spacious library with its array of books and the computer lab with six computers. Refreshments were then enjoyed.
The library is still in urgent need of a printer, water fountain and Bahamian books. If anyone is able to donate any of these items or make a monetary donation Mrs. Diana Fox would be delighted to hear from you at 366 4047 , 225 0922 or 475 3076.