Fri | Jun 9, 2023

The countdown is on!

Published:Friday | April 30, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Jamaican author Barbara Blake-Hannah signs one of her books before donating it to the Rotary Race to Literacy project. Rotarian Deika Morrison looks on.- Contributed photos
Entertainer Shaggy, author of the 'Shaggy the Parrot' CD and book series, signs books for donation to the Rotary drive.
Lorna Golding, who has endorsed the Rotary book drive, reads to children at the Hope Valley Experimental School.
Professor Gordon Shirley, principal of the University of the West Indies, Mona, makes his donation to the Rotary book drive during an oldies session at Friends on The Deck in St Andrew.

After a lengthy public-education campaign, the Rotary Race to Literacy Book Drive is set to kick off tomorrow at Emancipation Park in the New Kingston business district.

The thrust, geared at breaking the Guinness World Record mark of 242,624 books collected in seven days, is part of an initiative to raise literacy rates in Jamaica.

"I am overjoyed at the unprecedented collaboration for literacy, children and the national interest," said Deika Morrison, the project chair.

"We can break this record. Importantly, we have already demonstrated and continue to demonstrate that we can unite as a nation, supported by our friends and families beyond our borders."

The week launches tomorrow with a Kids' Day, with entertainment including face painting, puppet shows, interactive story time, yoga, and a special appearance by Elmo, Grover and Zoe from Sesame Street, courtesy of the Sandals Foundation.

Volunteers will be present at Emancipation Park at the Book Drive Village to count and log the donations of books from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. every day. The clock stops at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 8.


  • LORNA GOLDING, Prime minister's wife

"Organisations such as the Rotary Clubs of Jamaica feed into the national effort to ensure the successful education and development of all Jamaican children. I wholeheartedly support their Race To Literacy effort to promote reading to children and reading by children. I also encourage all grandparents to participate in this national effort and donate at least one book at the Kids Day event in Emancipation Park on May 1."

  • SHAGGY, Entertainer

"I want to encourage everyone to support the Rotary Race To Literacy Book Drive to ensure wider access for all adults and children across the island to great books, like mine, the Reggae Pickney CD storybook, Shaggy Parrot and the Reggae Band. Donate a book to the Race To Literacy today! Read a book tonight and make sure you come out and support the events!"

  • KAREN HILLIARD, Mission director to USAID/Jamaica

"The book drive is an excellent example of what public-private partnerships can accomplish. We at USAID are passionate about promoting access to quality education. This includes ensuring that the students have the materials they need, as well as the resources to keep the engaged."


"The Jamaica Library Service welcomes the Rotary Clubs' 'Race to Literacy Book Drive Project' as an initiative guaranteed to have a positive and much desired impact on our collection of books. The Rotary Club has been a reliable partner whose beneficence has included the provision of computers, card-catalogue cabinets, assistance with increasing accommodation for services offered by public libraries as well as books and the funds to acquire them."


"The book-drive project is extremely important to us. It gives us an opportunity to participate in this historic and memorable event and it also agrees with our company's mission to 'Keep Jamaica Reading', which we have been doing since 1925."

  • USAIN BOLT, Double Olympic Record Holder

"Literacy is important because we want to make the future great. We are trying to break a world record so we've got to give books, lots of books, so we can read, have fun and enjoy life. Keep doing it for Jamaica. Let's get it done!"

  • VYBZ KARTEL, Entertainer

"In Jamaica, books are important. Period. Books help us gain a wealth of knowledge, and knowledge ... is a priceless jewel."