Jennifer McDaniel in the new library.
Jennifer McDaniel in the new library. SHIRLEY SINCLAIR

Woman stocks library to fulfil husband's dream

JENNIFER McDaniel took the holiday to Fiji her late husband always wanted.

He died of a heart attack before he could fulfil his dream vacation but when Jennifer (pictured left) finally made the trip in February last year, it changed her life forever.

The resident of Omaha in the United States signed up to spend a day working on the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort community tourism project to build a larger, more modern kindergarten at Conua District School.

The holiday lifted her spirits and touched her soul and she fell in love with the kindness shown to her and the friendliness of the Fijian people.

She toured the school and was shown the tiny, ill-equipped library.

"It reminded me of Jonathan," Jennifer said.

"He loved to read. He'd go to the library each week and take out books."

So she set about finding books to suit children from kindy to Year 8 to fill the shelves, as well as useful community needs and a resource section for teachers - "a place to come to learn and live through books" as she told the invited guests at the kindy and library opening on November 26.

What has been created just behind the computer lab is a colourful, welcoming space that is packed full of reading materials, from The Cat In The Hat to geography of the world.

Barely holding back tears, Jennifer told the audience that having a library where children wanted to go to read was "a stepping stone for our future leaders of tomorrow".

She said in a statement marking the opening that it had been an honour and privilege to fund the 3000-book Jonathan McDaniel Library.

"My late husband was very passionate about reading and making sure that everyone, both young and old, had access to books," she said.

"Funding this library ensures that all will have access to all sorts of books and I'm very honoured to fulfil Jonathan's dream and to keep his memory alive through books."


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