Fire Destroys Library in Mandeville – Kids Books Needed

Below is an appeal from Miranda Sampson from the Mount Saint Joseph library in Mandeville which burned down a few weeks ago.

Books are badly needed, especially children’s books. 

If you can help please email me at

“Dear Friends and Family,

For those of you who have not heard, on Saturday February 25th a massive fire destroyed portions of our school. Mt. St. Joseph Prep is a Catholic school that was originally established by the Sisters of Mercy in the 1930’s. It is a very modest school that functions only on very low tuition fees.

In 2009 I began volunteering in the library helping the librarian with various reading programs. The more involved I became was the more I realized what a great need the library had for better, more interesting books.

Most students I came in contact with viewed reading as mandatory as opposed to a chosen pastime. The same year, myself, along with my family organized a book drive in Tennessee that collected almost 4,000 books.

They were shipped to Jamaica, delivered to our school and received by all 500 students with great excitement.

In September of 2010 I was offered the job of librarian (and the art teacher) as the teacher was unable to return to work. What began as a temporary position has turned into a serious desire to impact the life of these students through reading.

Unfortunately the fire claimed the most expensive parts of the school including the entire computer lab, two kinder classrooms, 4 store rooms, 4 residences (one of which housed a teacher and her daughter), and of course, my beautiful library.

We were able to save some books, but as you can see from the pictures above there were many books lost to not only fire, but water damage.

So, if you received this email it is because I believe you might feel our pain. I had an overwhelming response of people willing to support our first book drive and I am determined to make this time around even bigger and better.

If you are interested in helping either by book donation or monetary donation (no matter how big or small) please contact me or if you are in TN my parents house will be a drop off for books.

If you know someone who might be interested in this cause please forward this email as often as you like:)

Currently all three of my children attend this school and while I am still teaching art classes to grades 1-5, I am now coordinating the rebuilding efforts. I believe in this school and everything it stands for. Please join my cause.

Thank you,


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  11. May 19, 2012 at 11:59 pm — Reply

    I am deeply sorry about the the fire that destroyed
    the Library in Mandeville, this is a great loss for Jamaica as we must preserve our history of the past good or bad. We can not move forward if we don’t know our past. Here are some Jamaican books that should be in Jamaica’s Libraries. “Untrodden Jamaica”1890, Something about Obeah”1891, “The story of a West Indian Policeman”1927 & “A Struggle
    to Walk with Dignity-The TRUE story of a Jamaican-born Canadian”2008. Jamaica needs more writers, so check these books out on the internet.

  12. March 19, 2012 at 4:09 am — Reply

    Oh my goodness I am so very sorry for your lost. How horrible. I hope that no one was hurt. I know that your hearts must be breaking right now, but something good has to come out of this. Something bigger and better for sure. I will look to see what we can gather and send. Please let us know where we can send donations and books. We will be keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers.
    Vanessa Brantley-Newton

  13. Karin
    March 16, 2012 at 9:06 am — Reply

    Thanks so much Aliona!! I am sure they will be treasured by the children who get them!

  14. Aliona Gibson
    March 16, 2012 at 12:51 am — Reply

    I would like to send a donation of childrens books. They are my sons most prized possessions but he can afford to part with some of them. I will send an email to Karin. So sorry to read about this fire! I will be in touch re: bringing more books when I come back to JA.

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