Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Former Jamaican Librarian and champion of national literacy dies

Title: Dr Leila Thomas, lady of the literacy lamp, has died

Author: BY DESMOND ALLEN Executive Editor — Operations allend [at]

Date Published: Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Source: Jamaica Observer


Article reports on the passing of an icon in the development of Jamaica's public library services and also a national advocate for the development and advancement of literacy in Jamaica. The article feature mentions of other important Jamaican librarians, the career of Dr. Robinson, the circumstances of her death and some of her legacy in the development of the nation both as a librarian and as the head of the national organisation that promoted literacy in Jamaica.

Thomas, one of the women most responsible for the growth in the literacy movement in Jamaica, was a former head of the Jamaica Library Service (JLS) and the Jamaica Movement for the Advancement of Literacy (JAMAL) Foundation.

Her impressive career in adult and literacy education in Jamaica spanned almost 70 years -- 25 of which were devoted primarily to librarianship, including seven years heading the Jamaica Library Service from 1975 to 1982.

She was part of a formidable quartet of women, led by Dr Joyce Robinson, who in the late 1950s established the foundation for the modern Jamaica Library Service which she joined as an untrained librarian and rose to become its head. The others were Dr Hazel Bennett and Gloria Salmon.

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