Wednesday, April 1 may have been All Fool’s Day, but 69-year-old Adina Anderson was not pulling a stunt when she told the staff of the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) Research and Publications Department that she was working on a school project.
The idea raised eyebrows, but this grandmother of two was really at the JIS to conduct research for granddaughter Kelsey Ann Anderson’s school assignment.
“This is not my first visit,” she asserted, as she recounted the many occasions, over the years, that she has relied on the Agency’s research facilities for information.
Mrs. Anderson praises the Government’s information agency for continuously providing wholesome, educational programmes to uplift Jamaicans.
Librarian in the JIS Research and Publications Department, Marsha-Gay Robinson, assists these students with research material on Reggae music.
“I have always been curious about JIS, because there is a lot that I learn from here,” she confessed. “I have nieces who went to deCarteret High and Holmwood Technical High Schools, and they always ask me for information for projects.”
While the requests may vary, Mrs. Anderson says she is always able to find the information she needs at the JIS.
Manager of the Research and Publications Department, Celia Lindsay, notes that the information provided by the Department is specialised and focusses on areas such as Government policies and programmes, and Jamaican history, culture and heritage.
“As the Government’s information arm, the JIS is dedicated to providing accurate, up-to-date information and first class service and our collection has books, pamphlets, periodicals and newspaper clippings, dating as far back as the early 1940s,” she indicated.
Prior to September, 2008, the research and publications functions of the JIS were the responsibilities of two other departments- Computer and Research Services and Advertising and Pre-Press.
Miss Lindsay notes that, despite the name change, the Department remains a relevant and integral resource point for information on Jamaica. Now known as Research and Publications, the Department continues to provide commendable archival and library support to a range of clients, mainly Government Ministries and agencies, public servants, academics, tertiary and secondary school students, private sector entities and the general public.
Miss Lindsay says that the Department has been working assiduously to reposition itself as a provider of up-to-date research/reference material on Government’s programmes and policies, and is a comprehensive source of reference information about history, people and culture.
“We hope to reaffirm the JIS as the first point of contact for Government documents, such as Ministry Papers, reports, speeches of past Prime Ministers, Budget and Sectoral Speeches, Laws and Amendments and other information,” Miss Lindsay states.
“The Department also sells a range of publications depicting Jamaica’s rich cultural and political heritage, as well as the official flag of Jamaica and the CARICOM standard,” she added.
She hopes more Jamaicans, and other nationalities, will follow Mrs. Anderson’s example, and not only use the research facilities but also listen to JIS Radio and watch JIS Television.
Miss Lindsay says that the department is quite accommodating and facilitates research requests made through various channels.
“We offer research and reference assistance via telephone, email, snail mail and to walk in visitors by appointment,” she states.
In the meantime, Grandma Adina is urging caregivers to instill good values and attitudes in their young wards.
“Once you have an idea how to guide them, you should find a little time to do so, because you have walked this road before. So it is right that you should help the others coming behind you, so you can leave a bit of the legacy behind,” she says.
While not being able to acquire secondary or tertiary level training, this dedicated wife and proud mother and grandmother, says she has made it her priority to ensure that her children receive a sound education.
“One of the concerns I have is that too many of our parents are not able to read and write, so sometimes they can’t guide the children .They (children) live at home with you and they don’t even see you pick up a book to motivate them. Even when you don’t understand, take up a book nuh, it encourages the children,” she suggests.