Wednesday, July 12th, 2023

TinyCat’s July Library of the Month: Les Fruits de Mer’s Soualibra Library

TinyCat’s Library of the Month goes to a wonderful non-profit, Les Fruits de Mer‘s Soualibra Library, which is focused on educating the public about all things St. Martin. (St. Martin is the northern French side of the Caribbean island shared with its southern Dutch counterpart, Sint Maarten.) Being a personal repeat visitor to the island, myself, I was thrilled to interview the association’s co-founder and volunteer Mark for this month’s questions:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Les Fruits de Mer is a non-profit association based on the island of St. Martin. Our mission is to provide education on local nature, heritage and culture. We have a free museum, Amuseum Naturalis. We also publish books about local subjects. One of our goals is to give a book to every student on the island every year they are in school. To do this, we’ve been developing books for all ages on a range of local subjects. Last year we gave away over 7,500 books. All our books are also available as free downloads.

Volunteers at one of Soualibra’s local events.

What an incredible project! Can you tell us some other interesting things about how your library supports the community?

Our library is called Soualibra. It’s named after one of the Amerindian names for St. Martin, Soualiga. In 2017, Hurricane Irma destroyed all the libraries on the island. Because we had a museum, students were coming to us when they needed to do research. We decided to start Soualibra as a research library. Our collection is focused on books about St. Martin. 

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

We have quite a few books by Lasana M. Sekou and other local poets that are currently out of print. They are a really great window into the cultural life of the island before I lived here. And really enjoyable. Ideally, they would all be back in print, but at least we have copies available to people who are interested. 

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We would love to have every book about St. Martin, but some of the older ones are very hard to find. On the other hand, we have managed to track down many older books, even ones with very small local printings. This is one thing that motivated us to publish books, because they do survive. It’s the best way to ensure information is still accessible in 100 years.

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see developed?

I love that it is easy to use and for most books I can scan the barcode to add them. I don’t know if I need any new features, since we probably only use a fraction of the current capabilities. We have book clubs and a lot of book lovers on St. Martin and I wish there were more local reviews of local books. I am always looking for someone interested in reading and writing about St. Martin books and it would be great to integrate those local reviews into the catalog.

We could always consider allowing internal reviews for TinyCat libraries, down the line, thanks for your feedback!

Want to learn more about the Soualibra Library and Les Fruits de Mer?

Visit the library’s website at, Les Fruits de Mer’s website at (with all of their published books at, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat


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