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.