Belize has just launched a new literacy project called Angel Says: Read intended to bring new books to the country’s public libraries. Founded by a former Washington Post reporter and book author, Jackie Spinner, Angel Says: Read will collect books from tourists and donate them to the public libraries in Belize. The official U.S. launch will be announced in a press conference at the National Press Club on Thursday Oct. 15, 2009, at 9:30 am in the Murrow Room. The ambassador of Belize, H.E. Nestor Mendez, will attend. “The libraries in Belize genuinely need books, and this is an easy way for tourists to help promote literacy, an apolitical cause we all can support,” said Spinner, who is using Belize to launch what she hopes will be a global literacy effort. “While books are taken for granted in the U.S., many visitors don’t realize that they are truly difficult to come by here,” said Chris Crowell, owner of Cotton Tree Lodge in Belize.
The board of directors for Angel Says: Read (www.angelsaysread.com) ) includes such Belizean notables as author Felicia Hernandez; Lawrence Vernon, principal librarian of the Belize National Library Service; Montserrat Casademunt, publisher of Cubola Productions; and Neulin Nelson Villanueva, dean of St. John’s College Junior College in Belize City. University of Belize lecturer Mathias Vairez Jr. will coordinate student involvement with the organization, setting up a way for participants to earn service hours as required by the government assistance awards to the university. “It’s going to allow the tourists to give a positive contribution to the society knowing the importance of reading materials for our students,” Vairez said. “It’s not just about the coming and relaxing and having a good time. They are going to leave something invaluable that will have a lasting effect on the community.”
Angel Says: Read is placing strategic drop-boxes in major tourist centers throughout the country. The Belize Tourism Board officially endorsed the project. The press conference in Belize will be held at the Leo Bradley library at 11 a.m. Nov. 3 in the capital city of Belize City.