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Monday, June 17, 2013

Lovin’ Libraries: A Cruiser’s Best Friend


Schoelcher Library, Martinique, isn’t just beautiful outside...
While book exchanges provide the bulk of my easy cruising reads, (click here to read about “Bountiful Book Exchanges”), I’d be remiss if I didn’t urge cruisers to consider checking out libraries in their travels.

My love affair with libraries took root early, long before cruising. As a child, I fondly recall working my way through the local library's collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  Rather than fading, my love of libraries continues to grow and blossom.

With nearly wanton book lust, I eagerly seek out libraries in every port possible.  I revel in their cultural uniqueness, yet appreciate that universally, they offer quiet sanctuary, a gathering point for community, knowledge, exploration and free internet access.

My Caribbean favorites, so far
    Inside, Scoelcher library is beautiful
    from top (ceiling)…
    1.  Fort du France, Martinique:  Schoelcher Library; stunningly beautiful architecture, named in honor of a slavery abolitionist.  (click here for more about Schoelcher Library)
    2. Charlestown, Nevis’ library piqued my curiosity with their vibrant mural of a recently deceased community member, Dr. Simeon Daniel.  We partook in lightening their free book table and as well happily paid a nominal fee for a couple other books they sold.
    3. St John’s Cruz Bay U.S. Virgin Islands library was surrounded by a lovely garden.  Inside, we enjoyed a phenomenal underwater photography collection; especially the cuttlefish image (click here to see what a cuttlefish looks like).
    4. Mathewtown Great Inagua’s library’s airconditioned, bug-free environment offered blissful relief and blazing fast WiFi.  Their couches were comfy, strategically located next to standard 110 volt wall outlets.  The librarian kindly called one of the locals for us to set up a tour of the salt ponds and flamingo territory.  If we had more time there, I’d have checked out the salt museum connected to the library.
    5. Nassau, Bahamas’ library was enclosed in a multistory tower.  Our guidebook said to ask for the dungeon key, but that exhibit was closed.  No photos were allowed in the library.  Mostly, I wish the library would sell poster versions of the gorgeous botanical prints of local flowers and fruits they displayed.
      To bottom; even the floor was a designer delight.


    What are your favorites?  Please share any memorable experiences you’ve encountered in libraries in your travels!


    What would you like to see? Please consider offering your input on Galley Wench Tales blog site.  Click here to link to the survey.  And, thank you for helping make Galley Wench Tales a better blog.
    Schoelcher library’s books are stacked high,
    emitting a deliciously musty odor, while light
    streaming through its high windows, sparkles
    ike pixie dust.
    Mathewtown Great Inagua library's air conditioned,
    bug-free  environment was  welcome.


    Mural of Dr. Simeon Daniel, Charlestown Nevis.

    Cacti in bloom in the garden outside Cruz Bay St. Johns library. 

    Nassau’s library, pretty in the ever-popular Bahamian
    architecture color, Pepto Bismo pink.