[TOKYO, JAPAN, 10 January 2012]
Natori City Public Library, located in Miyagi Prefecture, was damaged in the Great East Japan Earth to the point where it can no longer service local residents. Upon a request from Natori City, the Japan Committee for UNICEF (JCU) launched assistance for the construction of a special reading room – a “mini” library – for children in November of last year. The regular library was completed and opened a little earlier thanks to assistance received from a private sector financial group, and now JCU is proud to announce the completion of the Natori City Public Library’s Donguri Children’s Library*. On 6 January an opening ceremony was held for the new children’s library.
Mieko Sugai, curator of the Natori City Public Library, had a tear in her eye when she commented, “Before we opened I watched as parents gathered and children began to form a big line, and it just moved me. Seeing how excited those children were made me realize that it was truly worth it to open the library. My wish had come true.”
The mother of a 10-year-old girl said, “My kids had wanted to read books for so long, so I am truly thankful. This is a wonderful library. It even smells like fresh books! I am so happy.” A seven-year-old girl smiled as she said, “I like books as much as my school lunch! Mazes and picture books by Dick Bruna are my favorites.”
Natori City Mayor Iso Sasaki greeted the crowd: “What a wonderful smelling new library! I am truly thankful to the Japan Committee for UNICEF. I hope that this will serve as an opportunity for all children to learn to love reading and to think about their futures.”
Upon opening the new children’s library immediately established a story-reading time where dozens of children enjoyed kami shibai (Japanese picture card stories) read to them by the library staff.
All photo credits: ©Japan Committee for UNICEF