Placencia Children’s Library Needs Books!

As a hard core bibliophile it's easy for me to have a soft spot for children that are anxious to read. My wife Rachel and I visited Placencia, Belize before Hurricane Iris devastated the village. Since then they have managed to rebuild much of the village; however, their children's library is still in need of donated books.

Belize is a third world country and can use quite a bit of help. In many villages women still bath their children and wash their clothes in the local river.

I'm collecting children's books for the library and will take care of packing and shipping them to Placencia. Read on to find out more about The Placencia Children’s Library, enjoy the pictures and if you can, gather together a few children's books to send to them. You can contact me using the information below.

The Placencia Children’s Library opened Tuesday, 23 December 2003 on the grounds of St. John’s Memorial Anglican School in Placencia Village, Belize.

To see where Belize is, click here.

The library (see photos below) was a gift to the children and teachers of St. John’s School from The Iris Foundation for Education, a Canadian charitable foundation formed after Hurricane Iris devastated schools in southern Belize in October 2001.

The library has been a major project of the Iris Foundation at a cost of approximately BZ$25,000 for the furnishing and stocking of the Library with books, children’s videos, school supplies and educational software, plus reconstruction and repair costs for the building housing the Library.

In Library orientation sessions held during the week of 8 December 2003, Placencia students previewed a wide array of over 1,500 beautiful books especially selected and purchased for the Placencia Children’s Library by The Iris Foundation, including children’s books on Maya glyphs, reef and rainforest ecology, tropical animals, insects and birds, weather, and Latin American cultures. Volunteers will operate the Library. These dedicated adults will rotate on a regular schedule and assist with student research projects as well as book circulation.

"The Placencia Children’s Library has been made a reality by the many individuals and organizations who generously donated their time, support and money to this project of The Iris Foundation for Education," - Marilyn Beckstead, founder and director of the Foundation.

Funds were raised in Canada, Belize and the United States through a variety of activities including fundraising dinners, art auctions and walk-a-thons. Teachers and students from the Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board were the major contributors of funds for the Placencia Children’s Library project of The Iris Foundation.

Others volunteers, donors and supporters include:

  • Asbury United Methodist Church of Denton, Texas (over 300 pounds of books, plus school supplies and benches)
  • Mariucci Levoni, former co-owner of Luba Hati Resort in Placencia (additional books)
  • Dr. Jamal Mahdavian, O’Mead Foundation, Kingston, New York (additional books and school supplies)
  • Larry and Terri Arant, Milton, Florida (book pockets and cards)
  • Noreen Farrow, UK (obtained pledge of 15 computers from a UK company)
  • Brigitte Bachman and Rick Fairs, Canmore, Alberta, Canada (library sign, additional books and school supplies)
  • Chris Moorehouse, UK, and Peter Jago, Canada (labour for installation of electrical system upgrades)
  • Placencia Parent-Teachers Association (planning assistance)
  • NECTAR Foundation of Canada (full set of educational software including language arts, math, science, creative writing and problem solving programs for Infant 1 to Standard 6)
  • Rebecca Justesen, co-owner of Toucan Lulu Rental House in Placencia (additional books)
  • Vic Conforti, Sonoma California (additional books)
  • The Gay Family, Richmond Virginia (additional books)
  • Jake Roberts, owner of Purple Space Monkey Internet Café in Placencia (proceeds from the Café’s book exchange and additional books)
  • Trek Force Volunteers Clare and Fran (painting of interior of Library building, sorting and shelving of books)
  • Corol Bevier, co-founder of Rum Point Inn, Placencia (professional library cataloging and organization)


The Library is always in need of children’s book donations, both fiction and non-fiction, grades one to eight. (A dedication to the donor will be placed in each donated book.)

If you would like to donate books, videos and/or money (for packaging & shipping) please contact me, I'll be happy to stop by and pick up your donations or you can drop them off at my home.

D. Roger Maves
84 Mary's Lane
Bailey, CO 80421

Thanks To Those That Have Donated Books

Sarah, William & Katherine Kaufman    Elizabeth & Emily Milligan
Roger & Marie Maves    Sarah & Kelsey Paquet
Paul & Kathy Puseman    Julie Gonzales
Shepherd of the Rockies Lutheran Church    Alex Kitching
Jennifer Selsted    Jim & Debbie Roberts
John Davis    

Photos - Placencia Children’s Library

Placencia Children’s Library

Marilyn Beckstead, Founder and Director of The Iris Foundation, Waiting to Greet Guests

Marcia Fox, Board Member, Donated the book to Local Children

Already Reading

Donated Books

Slide Show on Hurricane Iris

A Young Reader

Future Library Patron

Bladen School

Bladen is a small Mayan village in the Bladen Forest Reserve. It is southwest of Placencia on the Southern Highway. The school is in the midst of contstruction and needs help with a library. The books sent by our donators are the first books of their library.

Bladen School

Roof's On!

Bladen School - Inside


Bladen School

Children in Classroom