The Forgotten Yellow Building
French Harbour Community Center Moves Library, Expected to Host other Organizations

October 1st, 2010
by Thomas Tomczyk

[private]

The crowded new space of the library in French Harbour.

The crowded new space of the library in French Harbour.

The library at French Harbour’s Jared Hynds Community Center opened its doors in January 2006 with 200 people in attendance and much fanfare. It was the last accomplishment in the Mayor Jerry Hynds’ administration and opened days before he handed off power to Mayor Dale Jackson.

“It’s not just a building. It’s a purpose,” said Catherine McCabe on the day of the opening. McCabe, an American retiree, was instrumental in creating the center and donated 3,000 of her own books to the library. The purpose of the building is changing. The 6,500 square foot building was intended as a place where you could rent a book, grab a coffee and surf the net. A drivers-ed center and even a post office were envisioned to eventually open there. None of these ever opened and the building fell away from mind to the point that Roatan Municipal council members didn’t even realized it was there.

Still, the Roatan Municipality continued to pay the electrical bill for the facility and the salary for its one librarian/cleaning person. The majority of the much underutilized, forgotten resource remained vacant with the roughly 36-meter square room designed for drivers education never once opened.

For some Roatanians however, the local library is a place where young people can spend time in a quiet, structured environment. “It’s a place of refuge. Somewhere where kids come eager to be helped,” says Joann Dixon, the librarian.

Within a couple of months the center is expected to house offices for French Harbour Water Board, APESCA offices, Government liaison office of Evans McNab, and ZOLITUR offices. According to Mayor Galindo, the relocation of ZOLITUR offices to down town French Harbour will help in generating foot traffic to the town and help struggling local businesses.

The move is not all that good for the library and its resources. The library now operates out of a new space that is three-quarters smaller than the original space. Many quality, handcrafted, donated bookshelves and hundreds of books could not be fit into the space. Some books were sold for a dollar a piece; others placed in boxes and shipped out. [/private]

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