Thursday, 25 December 2014

Carib LIN 2014 reflections and goals for 2015

Each December, I pause to reflect on Carib LIN, a blog that I started in 2007 to provide access to news regarding libraries, museums, archives and other information-centric institutions. This custom begins with my reading what I wrote for reflections for the following year. This is the seventh year that I have been doing this and am thankful and blessed to continue this blog, despite pursuing doctoral studies, tending to my family and among other competing interests.

For 2014, I promised to continue:
  • providing an abstracting and selective information dissemination service for important library and information related news in the English-speaking Caribbean
  • maintaining grammatically and error free entries, while ensuring that this blog is accurate, trustworthy and reliable 
  • providing a voice in the blogosphere for issues in Caribbean library and information service environment 
  • reporting developments that are of interest to and affect librarians and information professionals who have an interest in the region. 
  • and maintaining the survival of this blog through at least one blog posting per month.
So how well did I do? I will leave you, my reader, to be the judge.

However, I must first mention, that looking back at the numbers, there were at least two months in which I did not post (March and August). It may not necessarily have been my fault as perhaps there was nothing to report on in those months. Second, gauging by the statistics of views, I think I have also met the goal of reporting news of interest to my library and information professional audience. One of the top posts for the year was one entitled Jamaica public librarian to be honoured for nation... posted October 18, 2014 with 529 unique views.

For 2015 (all things remaining constant), my main objective for Carib LIN is just to keep it alive to represent news from the region, even if it is just a few islands. Wishing you my faithful readers all the best for the rest of 2014 and good health for 2015.

Faithfully yours,

Mark-Shane Scale,
Chief editor, curator and blogger of Carib LIN.

Museum established for Jamaican former Premier and National Hero

Author: Tyrone Thompson, Gleaner Staff Reporter
Title: Norman's Birthplace Restored
Date published: December 14, 2014

This article reports on the restoration of the birthplace of former Premier and National Hero Norman Manley at Roxborough in Manchester and the establishment of a museum there. Excerpts of speech are reported from Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill reacting to the completion of the restoration. Also mentioned is the amount spent so far - $42 million. The article further outlines the economic challenges plaguing the project while providing arguments for the value of the project for Jamaican heritage and tourism. Also reported is Ainsley Henriques, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Heritage Trust, defending the investment made in Roxborough and arguing that the return on investment is already evident in the numbers of increased visitors.


The site, which sits on approximately 2.5 acres, had fallen into disrepair and eventually destroyed by fire in 1968. It was renovated by the Government and the National Heritage Fund and was reopened in July of 2013 as a museum and heritage park. The roads leading to the site were also repaved.

McNeill argued that there is intrinsic value in the renovation of historical sites such as Roxborough, which he believes will aid in projecting the island as a multiple-attraction destination.

"Its part of the wider cultural package. You have to remember that part of the role of the Tourism Enhancement Fund is to showcase our history and our culture, because we are not just selling sun, sand and sea, we have a lot more that makes us special as Jamaicans."

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Jamaican public libraries to benefit from grant for ICT services

Author: Balford Henry, Observer Senior Staff Reporter
Title: Bill and Melinda Gates give J$226m to Jamaica’s ICT development
Date published: November 26, 2014


The article reports on the Minister of Education, Ronald Thwaites, announcing to the House of Representatives in Parliament the details of a grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. According to the article, the donation is earmarked at providing US$2 million (approximately J$226 million) to finance increased access to ICT services for Jamaicans via the islandwide public library service. The reporter details the amount of the grant and the projected cost of the project as well as the expected beneficiaries. It is also mentioned that part of the grant will be spent on marketing public library services and promoting advocacy for the importance and value of the public library to Jamaica's national development.


The project costs US$3.1 million (approximately J$350 million). The Jamaican government will donate the other US$1.1 million (approximately $123 million)
Thwaites said that beneficiaries will include users of public libraries islandwide, including marginalized groups, senior citizens, persons from rural and inner-city communities, the unemployed and persons with disabilities, including the visually impaired, and ordinary citizens seeking information about self-improvement.
“The marketing plan, which envisages a major campaign to make Jamaicans aware of the project and its deliverables, and will increase the number of library users, is being finalized for implementation commencing in November,” he said.

Jamaica Library Service gets new Director General

Title: Karen Barton appointed new director general of Jamaica Library Service
Date published: November 10, 2014

This brief article announces the appointment of Karen Barton as the new Director General of Jamaica Library Service. It further outlines some of her qualifications and experience that she brings to the position as well as provides some background information on the Jamaica Library Service.

The University of the West Indies graduate has more than 30 years experience in the Jamaica Library Service.  
She has written several papers on librarianship in Jamaica. 
The Jamaica Library Service has responsibility for 124 public libraries and 926 school libraries throughout the island.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

ACURIL 2015 Conference

Event:  The Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL) 45th conference (The region's annual flagship conference)

Location: Torarica Hotel & Casino, Suriname

Date: June 7-11, 2015


"Professional and Personal Development Opportunities for Lifelong Learning in Libraries, Archives and Museums in the Caribbean"

See URL for details:

National Association of Libraries and Information Professionals established in St. Lucia

Title: NALIP to improve library processes
Date published: Wednesday, November 19, 2014


This news article announces the establishment of the Saint Lucia's National Association of Libraries and Information Professionals (NALIP). According to the article, this new library association has as its objectives to:

  • revise library legislation, 
  • provide training and development for its members
  • improve library processes on the island
  • develop partnerships and affiliations with national, regional and international associations to help boost the local association.

Further background is provided about NALIP including:

  • when it was formed (March 12 with the election of its executive body)
  • its establishment of five working committees—(editorial, fund raising/social, National Library and Information Week, professional development, and a public awareness and advocacy committee)
  • its establishment of an advisory committee of experienced information professionals to provide technical advice in support of the association and its mandate.

Mentioned in the article is the inaugural work that NALIP will undertake including:

  • hosting a general meeting on Dec. 3 at the Central Library with all information professionals during which the association’s constitution will be presented by the executive. 
  • formalizing membership with members from libraries, archive services, museums, and government, corporate and other information units.


The National Association of Libraries and Information Professionals aims to revise legislation, form affiliations and provide training and development for its members.
A new library association was formed recently with the aim of improving library processes on the island.
The National Association of Libraries and Information Professionals (NALIP), Saint Lucia, was formed on March 12 with the election of an executive body of information professionals. 
The strategic goals of the organization, over a two-year period, include a revision of the current library legislation, the provision of professional development and training for members, and the development of partnerships/affiliations with national, regional and international associations to help boost the local association.

Jamaica Library Service Launches ICT-driven Initiatives

Author: Kadian Brown
Title: JLS Urged to Expand Provision of Information
Date: November 7, 2014

This article reports excerpts from a speech from the Jamaican Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, speaking at the official launch of the Jamaican Library Service's Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-driven project. The project dubbed: ‘Using Technology to Empower Individuals and Communities for Development’, was launched on November 6 at the Kingston & St. Andrew Parish Library.

Background information is provided about the project including 
  • the major sponsors and the amount they contributed (a US$2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Initiative and from the Government, the amount of US$1.1 million), 
  • how it will be implemented (the provision of additional ICT resources across 127 public libraries in Jamaica)
  • additional project partners, namely: Microsoft, RJR Communication Group, Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Universal Service Fund, Management Institute for National Development (MIND), the Gleaner Company and Jamaica Public Service Limited (JPS).
Several major objectives of the project are outlined:
  • to provide Jamaicans with increased access to ICTs
  • to enhance library programmes and services and training in ICT skills and other related areas for JLS staff and library users.

The Minister also outlines his vision for seeing the JLS:
  • conceptualize activities, programmes and partnerships to get more persons to utilize library services
  • facilitate after-school and weekend activities for young people 
  • systemize homework centres in all the libraries
  • consider initiatives to facilitate adult learning.
  • enter into partnership with the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning in the roll-out of the alternate high school diploma for adults
  • be stocked with all of the texts that are used in schools as well as the supplemental material that students who cannot afford to purchase these can gain access to them at the library.
Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has challenged the Jamaica Library Service (JLS) to be a facilitator of information to various sectors of society, in order to enhance knowledge, technology and development.

“The library, through technology, must be an adjunct and a help to what goes on in the school system.  The library has to become the centre where young people or people of any age can come and get information as to how they can improve their business skills or confirm themselves in the task of earning an honest income,” the Minister said.

Rev. Thwaites was speaking at the official launch of the JLS’ ICT-driven project dubbed: ‘Using Technology to Empower Individuals and Communities for Development’, on November 6 at the Kingston & St. Andrew Parish Library.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Jamaica public librarian to be honoured for nation building service

Author: Shelly-Ann Irving
Title: Retired Librarian to be Honoured October 20
Date published:  October 17, 2014
Source: Jamaica Information Service


The article provides the glimpse into the working experiences of Patricia Cuff, a retired librarian who began working at the Jamaica Library Service (JLS) in 1965. It gives some historical outlook of the beginnings of the public library service infrastructure. The article also contains background information about the JLS regarding its present, especially as seen through the eyes of Mrs. Cuff.

The article also indicates that Mrs. Cuff, after having contributed over 43 years of unbroken service to the JLS, will  be recognized for her contribution to nation building. According to the article, Mrs. Cuff will receive the Badge of Honour for Long and Faithful Service rendered to the Jamaica Library Service, at King’s House on Monday, October 20, National Heroes’ Day.

The article outlines some major initiatives by Mrs. Cuff for the JLS including:

  • negotiating the purchase of land for the JLS
  • major input in establishing private sector partnership in establishing reading corners and homework for the nation's children 
  • involvement in planning and staging the JLS National Reading Competition.and
  • involvement in leadership at several levels within JLS

Also reported is speech from the Director General of the JLS, Karen Barton, giving her approval for Mrs. Cuff’s recognition.

Finally, the article provides background information about the nature of the award that Mrs. Cuff will be receiving.

When Patricia Cuff began working at the Jamaica Library Service in 1965, it was completely different from what it is today. 
At that time, the library in your community would not have been erected just yet, as Regional Directors were busy negotiating library sites with the church and private land owners. 
“People would give us land to build libraries; at one point St. Elizabeth had nine branch libraries and  eight were on donated land. I can recall several days when I was at work, in stockings, and someone would call me to look at a site for a library in deep rural areas, sometimes in bushes and before I knew it, I was off to do a site visit. We would get these properties rent-free or at pepper-corn rental, because the owners believed in education,” Mrs. Cuff recounts.

Jamaican school library gets $2 million makeover

Title: Donald Quarrie High gets $2m library makeover
Date published: Monday, October 06, 2014
Source: Jamaica Observer


Article reports on the Jamaica Private Power Company's (JPPC) contribution of a refurbished library and computers valued at $2 million to the Donald Quarrie High School.

Reported speech from the general manager of the JPPC, Ingrid-Christian Baker, provides the rationale for the firm's initiative. Also reported are statements from the Chief education officer in the Ministry of Education, Dr Grace McLean, encouraging students to make the best use of the resources and commending the JPPC for its community outreach.

Details are also given about the nature of the library's refurbishing work done including:
  • re-polishing shelves
  • constructing new pieces of furniture
  • tiling the floor
  • extending partitions that separate the adjoining computer lab
  • applying fresh paint to the walls
  • installing new air conditioning units and 
  • providing new computers and a server system to be housed in the space

STUDENTS at Donald Quarrie High School now have an added boost to the academic programme at the institution, thanks to the Jamaica Private Power Company (JPPC).
Last week the East Kingston-based power company handed over a refurbished library and computers valued at $2 million to the institution.
According to general manager of the JPPC, Ingrid-Christian Baker, the library refurbishing fits into the company's mandate of 'Empowering Dreams, Empowering Lives and Empowering Community'.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Jamaican elected president of Adventist librarians association

Title: J'can to lead Adventist librarians association
Date published: Monday, September 08, 2014 
Source: Jamaica Observer

Article announces the election of a Jamaican librarian, Grace Carr-Benjamin, to the position of president of the Association of Seventh-day Adventist Librarians (ASDAL). Brief background information is provided about the ASDAL. Also reported is Kerr-Benjamin's reaction to her election. Background information is also provided on her current position and the years for which she will serve as president of the association. In addition, the reaction of the NCU president, Dr. Trevor Gardner is also reported.

Excerpt:Career librarian and director of Library Services at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) Grace Carr-Benjamin, MLIS, was recently elected president of the Association of Seventh-day Adventist Librarians (ASDAL).

Carr-Benjamin was elected during a meeting of ASDAL in the United States.
The association was established in 1981 to enhance communication between Seventh-day Adventist librarians and to promote librarianship and library services to church institutions.

Antigua's National Public Library reopens

Author: Kadeem Joseph
Title: Library opens again
Date published: September 1, 2014  
Source: The Daily Observer Ltd.

The article announces the reopening of the National Public Library of Antigua. The Director of the Public Library, Ryllis Mannix, is further reported as indicating that while the library is opened for access to books for research purposes, the library operations are being hampered by inoperable computers systems to support the circulation process. The article also reports Mannix as outlining some of the other challenges that the library faced in getting ready for reopening. The article further provides information pertaining to the new facility and the services that the library offers, as well as it opening hours.

After waiting decades, the public can now access the National Public Library, which will be officially opened today, albeit limitedly.

Director of the Public Library Ryllis Mannix told OBSERVER media while the library will not be “100 percent operational,” the public would be able to, at least, access books for research purposes.
Since the automated borrow-and-return system is not yet working, Mannix said her team is working towards creating a manual record keeping process, in order to enable loaning of books to the public.
Library officials are hoping to establish a manual record keeping process, in lieu of the computer system, which they hope will be functional as early as today.

The 70 to 80 computer systems for public use are still not operational, however, the library chief said technicians are working to address these issues soonest.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Library Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) defends new Chaguanas Public Library

Title: LATT: Give library to people of Central
Source: Trinidad and Tobago Guardian
Date published: Sunday, July 20 2014

The article reports on a statement by the Library Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) against the Government of Trinidad and Tobago using the new Chaguanas Public Library completed facility for a Judicial Complex. The article reports that the reconfiguration of the Chaguanas Library  into a Judicial Complex was first hinted at by Chaguanas Mayor Gopual Boodan at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce on June 24. At that event, Boodan revealed that a Cabinet appointed team was convened on the suggestion by the Chaguanas Lawyers’ Association, the Chamber and other organisations for the transformation of the still under construction Chaguanas library into that of a Judicial Complex. Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie further confirmed the plan, further revealing that the new Chaguanas Public Library is to be re-purposed into the Judicial Complex to deal with a backlog of 7,000 cases before the Chaguanas Magistrates’ Court. It is within this context that the article reports LATT's arguments against such plans as well as excerpts of its statements in favour of the new library facility remaining as a facility for public library service.

The Library Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) is calling on Government, and other stakeholders, to have the new Chaguanas Public Library completed and delivered to the people of central Trinidad and not use it for a Judicial Complex.
LATT, in a full page advertisement in Friday’s newspaper said the library building at Railway Road, Chaguanas has been in the works over 17 years and while it understood the need for accommodation for the judiciary, the public library service ought not to bear the backlash of any such inadequacy.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Rural Jamaican public library holds reading championship event

Author: Claudia Gardner
Title:Youngsters Excel In Hanover Parish Library Reading Competition
Date Published: July 12, 2014
Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

The article reports on the Hanover Parish Library's Annual National Reading Championship in Lucea, which was held under the theme 'Read: Anywhere, anytime, any book'. At that event, five reading champions were awarded. Background information on the National Reading competition and how it is adjudicated is included. Also mentioned are some of the sponsors of the event.
The National Reading Competition was launched in 1988 as part of the Jamaica Library Service's 40th anniversary celebrations. The aim is to enable persons of all age groups to enjoy the benefits of reading, develop reading skills, facilitate exposure to highly rated literature, encourage reading habits, and reinforce reading as a positive and fun activity.
A mix of oral and written elements such as letters, book reviews, and puzzles were judged. The entrants' ability to read, understand and interpret set books and excerpts from books were the main determinants for selecting the respective winners.
Sponsors of the event included Dolphin Cove, Family Care Pharmacy, Grand Palladium Resort, Hanover Cooperative Credit Union, Jamaica National Building Society, Ken's Haberdashery, Kool Runnings Adventure Park, Neveast Office Depot, Sandals Resorts, Seaview Pharmacy, Snave Bookstore, Stationery Office Supplies, RIU Negril, the Rotary Club of Lucea, the Lucea branch of the National Commercial Bank, and Hoson's Food Fair.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Trinidad and Tobago's Scarborough library due for completion by August 2014

Title: Scarborough Library due for completion shortly
Date published: Friday, June 6 2014
Source: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The article reports on Secretary of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Councillor Gary Melville's announcement of a projected date for the completion of the Scarborough library building and other community projects. In his report, Melville promises that the facility will be modern and ready to support students for the new school year. Mention is made that:
  • the library is currently undergoing a tendering process for the information and communication technology
  • the shelving, furniture and books are already in place
  • sprinkling and fire suppression systems are to be installed
  • and that the Scarborough Beautification Committee will beautify the library surroundings and construct public washrooms


THE MULTI-MILLION dollar Scarborough Library building will be completed by week-end, and external works should be completed by month-end, reported Secretary of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Councillor Gary Melville.

Speaking at the weekly post-Executive Council media briefing on Wednesday, he promised the island’s schoolchildren, the use of a modern Scarborough Library when their new term starts in September. 

He also reported that the National Maintenance and Security Company Limited (MTS), the project manager of the construction of the new library in Lower Scarborough, has been mandated to deliver it by the end of August. 

He said that tenders were being processed for the information and communication technology aspect of the project, which is a requirement in a modern-day library. He reported that the shelving, furniture and books are already in the building while sprinkling and fire suppression systems were still to be installed. Melville said his division, in conjunction with the Scarborough Beautification Committee, will beautify the surroundings of the building, and construct public washrooms.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Parents Reading with Babies and Toddlers' initiative on at Jamaican public library

Author: Alicia Forrest, Gleaner Writer
Title: St Catherine Parish Library promotes family reading
Date published: Saturday | May 24, 2014
Source: Jamaica Gleaner


The article reports on the 'We Likkle, but We Tallawah: Parents Reading with Babies and Toddlers' initiative on at the St Catherine Parish Library.

The article reports on some highlights of the event as well as the Librarian, Shana-Lee Coley-Smith, discussing the positive outcome of the programme on the children and parents. Some highlights of the vents reported are:

·         Clarabell Solomon, distinguished secretary of the Kiwanis Club of Linstead, stressing the importance of parents listening to reading

·         A parent presenting on parenting tips, as well as on the Child Care and Protection Act, highlighting the rights of the child and the responsibilities that every parent has towards his/her child.

Also mentioned is the disclosure made by Coley-Smith that the programme has received some support from the Jamaica National Building Society Foundation.


The 'We Likkle, but We Tallawah: Parents Reading with Babies and Toddlers' initiative has been going on at the St Catherine Parish Library since November 2012, and is held every third Saturday. As part of activities, parents of children from newborn to five years old read aloud to their children.

Librarian Shana-Lee Coley-Smith said that she has seen the impact that the programme has had on children and parents. She said: "The children interact more with the books, and they are motivated to read. For the parents, it helps them to help their children." She continued: "We have received testimonials from the parents, and overall feedback has been good."

She disclosed that she expects the programme to continue and get better, given that the Jamaica Library Service (JLS) has received a boost from the Jamaica National Building Society Foundation.


National Library of Jamaica's holdings to be placed on Worldcat

Author: Minister, the Hon. Lisa Hanna, Ministry of Youth & Culture
Title: Contribution to the 2014/2015 Sectoral Debate
Date published: May 20, 2014
Source: Jamaica Information Service (JIS):

The Hon. Lisa Hanna, the Minister responsible for the portfolio of the Ministry of Youth & Culture, announces a number of events and plans for the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ). Among the events mentioned are:
  • the NLJ's 2014 Distinguished Lecture to be presented by novelist, poet and Panama historian Miss Olive Senior to mark the Centenary of the Panama Canal and its impact and influence on the construction of Jamaica's economy and culture.
  • The award of Poet Laureate to Professor Mervyn Morris
Also mentioned in her speech to Parliament are the plans afoot to:
  • outsource the NLJ's catalogue to OCLC's Worldcat Local 
  • the launch of a digitized encyclopaedia of Jamaica for local and global references
  • and the digitization of  legacy 16 millimetre film resources for dissemination through social media


The National Library in an effort to maximise use of its resources will implement an alternative to the current library management system, which though very low in cost is the most effective at showcasing the NLJ resources locally and globally. The new system Worldcat Local will place the catalogue of the library's holdings into a global library catalogue that is discoverable through popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. In a real way this new system will truly enable Jamaica to the World. 

In addition, in recognition of the public's preferred mode of accessing information we launched the National Library of Jamaica Digital Collection. NLJDigital will create a digitized encyclopaedia of Jamaica for local and global references. This digital encyclopaedia includes material from the library's paper and photograph collection as well as the full text of18th and 19th century Jamaican books already digitised by Google.

In a further move to preserve the nation's intellectual output, this year we will be transferring the legacy 16 millimetre film resources to digital and the concomitant dissemination of these resources through programming and social media.

Plans to establish a National Museum of Jamaica

Author: Minister, the Hon. Lisa Hanna, Ministry of Youth & Culture

Title: Contribution to the 2014/2015 Sectoral Debate
 Date published: May 20, 2014
Source: Jamaica Information Service (JIS):


In her contribution to the 2014/2015 Sectoral Debate, the Minister, the Hon. Lisa Hanna, Ministry of Youth & Culture, makes several announcements regarding museums in Jamaica including:
  •  the opening of three new museums for the Jamaican people - namely, the Seville, Roxborough and the People's Museum. 
  • the plans afoot to open two additional museums including the National Museum of Jamaican (in Kingston) and that National Museum West (in Montego Bay).
  • the reopening of the technologically enhanced Natural History Museum
In her plans outlined for the new museums, the Minister highlighted some of the funding and location arrangements being made to facilitate these new museums.


For many years, in fact, since the days of our Independence, there have been calls to develop a National Museum of Jamaica which would be a museum for the people; a place where all Jamaicans, from all walks of life, could see, read and feel the amazing story that is our history. To witness the national narrative that is dramatic, extraordinary and often painful, but it is a story that all informed citizens need to be able to understand, and importantly, be able to respond to. There have been many dreams and many plans over the years for a museum but nothing has happened. Finally, we have moved to develop a National Museum of Jamaica. This museum, will be the centrepiece that spawns a network of community museums located across the island, that will implement the plans. I have overseen the establishment of the National Museum Foundation which will be raising the funds to support a National Museum in Kingston. The Council of the IOJ has designated upstairs of the 16 East Street Building as the space for this important space. I have already engaged key stakeholders, including past esteemed Prime Ministers, the Most Honourable PJ Patterson and the Most Honourable Edward Seaga who have agreed to be Patrons of our Foundation.

Concurrently, we are moving to develop the National Museum West in Montego Bay. This museum will be located in the Montego Bay Civic Centre and will explore the national narrative but with a special focus on Western Jamaica. This new centre will also incorporate elements of the National Gallery as well. It is my particular desire that National Museum West maintain a community focus with the histories and memories of our people. I am reliably informed that the National Museum Jamaica is already seeking out objects and narratives that will tell the story of our people and so I encourage members, particularly those with a Western leaning, to get involved. The Mayor of Montego Bay and his team are fully on board. Both of these projects will commence in this financial year.

I must also mention that we will be reopening our new, and modern Natural History Museum which has been closed for several years. Visitors will see a modern gallery with high tech displays as well the preservation of diverse ecosystems, plants and animals found in only in Jamaica.Funding support has been received from CHASE and TEF. We expect this to be completed before the end of this fiscal year.