National Library of Jamaica to be Upgraded

Photo: Donald De La Haye Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange (right), accepts a book on Miss Lou and Jamaica Culture from Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Professor Mervyn Morris (centre), at the launch of the Miss Lou Archives at the National Library of Jamaica on October 20. Chairman of the function, Dahlia Harris (left), observes the handover.

Story Highlights

  • Plans to upgrade the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) to facilitate the growing catalogues and collections created by local artistes and historians are to be undertaken by the Government.
  • Short-term plans will include the offsite storage of newspapers from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Guyana, which the library had acquired during its time as the West India Reference Library.
  • Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange used the opportunity to urge local creators of content, in whatever field, to deposit their material at the NLJ.

Plans to upgrade the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) to facilitate the growing catalogues and collections created by local artistes and historians are to be undertaken by the Government.

The disclosure was made by Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, at a ceremony to launch the Miss Lou Archives, at the Library in downtown Kingston, on October 20.

Ms. Grange indicated that although investments have been made to ease space constraints by digitising and storing content from the Library online, more upgrades are necessary.

To that end, the Minister informed that short-term plans will include the offsite storage of newspapers from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Guyana, which the library had acquired during its time as the West India Reference Library.

Ms. Grange also noted that investigations are being undertaken into the construction of another floor at the present site.

“These moves will allow us to comfortably house the personal archives of other distinguished literary giants of Jamaica,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Minister informed that in the long term, a modern and larger facility will be required to effectively carry out the Library’s mandate of preserving documents published in Jamaica by Jamaicans and about Jamaica.

Miss Grange used the opportunity to urge local creators of content, in whatever field, to deposit their material at the NLJ.

“It’s not just about writing, it’s about films [and] recordings. It is important that the National Library is given support,” she said.

The Minister lauded the work done by the staff of the Library for cataloguing the letters, scripts and other work of Miss Lou, some of which have never been revealed to the public, for research and study.

In an emotional tribute by her son, Fabian Coverley, Miss Lou was described as a “proud” Jamaican, who did not hesitate to share her knowledge with anyone she met.

She was also described by her son as “God-fearing”, “generous”, and “selfless”.

He noted that his mother taught the nation to value themselves and to be confident in who they are.

Mr. Coverley informed that the archives will help to keep his mother’s memory alive for generations.

More than 88 per cent complete in cataloguing, the NLJ is to add the collections of her husband, Eric Coverley.

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