A post-Hurricane Maria Book Drive for the Dominica Library


Blue shipment barrels are ubiquitous throughout the Caribbean. Sent as material containers of love and support by family members overseas, these barrels often provide much needed necessities in times of scarcity.

On 18 September 2017 Hurricane Maria battered the island of Dominica, killing 31 and disappearing 34. Maria wrecked homes and tore off roofs, damaging 90% of the island’s buildings.

During the hurricane the Roseau library – a beautiful early 20th century building and the main public library on the island (of 70,000) – lost its roof, flooded and most of its books were destroyed.


The library is a well-used resource by Dominicans of all ages, particularly school children, tertiary college students and adults returning to study.

A tweet from a colleague, Schuyler Esprit, at the Dominica State College illustrates the extent of the damage:


In Dominica News Online, the island’s chief Librarian, Vernanda Raymond, described the loss of some 25,000 books as ‘heart wrenching’.



‘We have lost the majority of our reference collection, our adult circulation, our children circulation, our black history collection, a number of our first edition of our West Indian material which is so heart wrenching for us’.

“In terms of just [book] stock… we are in the range of $1.7-million [worth of damages]”.

How can you help:


Purchase a barrel + Download/print this sticker + begin collecting books

Post full barrels to:

The Chief Librarian, Victoria Street, Roseau, The Commonwealth of Dominica. 


The Book Barrel Project asks you to purchase/ donate:

One copy of your favorite book


A £3 donation (for shipment)

And drop these to one of the following collection points: listed here.

This will enable us to ship as many barrels of much needed books to Dominica as possible to help the island to rebuild public literary resources after the storm.

Specifically requested are:

  • Caribbean school text books
  • Texts on Dominica
  • Texts on Caribbean culture and history
  • Texts on Afro-diasporic/Black cultures, literature and history.
  • High quality fiction
  • High quality teen fiction
  • Academic and non-academic English language texts are welcome!

If you have any questions on what to send, kindly visit the contact section of this site and get in touch for more info.

This site has been developed as a collaboration between Dr Adom Philogene Heron and Dr Schuyler Esprit.


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