JIS News

The Jamaica Library Service (JLS), in collaboration with the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund will officially launch an Information Communication Technology (ICT) project on Wednesday, March 3 at the Green Island Library in Hanover.
This project was made possible through a $10 million allotment from the CHASE Fund and will see some 30 branch libraries offering Internet access and other ICT services for the first time, and the upgrading of computer hardware and software in an additional 38 libraries.
Director General of the JLS, Pat Roberts said the organisation was very appreciative of the partnership with the CHASE Fund, which has made it possible for a major expansion of Internet and other ICT services to remote areas previously unable to offer these services, due to a lack of computer hardware.
“This new access to information globally will play a major role in community development,” Miss Roberts pointed out.
She noted that implementation of the project in these libraries should be completed between the end of February and the middle of March. In addition, the first mobile library to offer ICT services would be commissioned into service in April of this year.”This means that additional persons, even in some of the remote areas, can also have access to ICT services,” Miss Roberts said.
The money from the CHASE Fund was used to purchase software, 146 computers, 44 printers, 81 UPS, a number of surge protectors and also software.
“We were very pleased at the management of the assessment process. We found the representative of CHASE to be very interested in the organisation and our role and function,” Miss Roberts said.
Additionally, she said the assessment process was very professional, and it was quite apparent that the CHASE Fund understood the role of libraries in sustainable development. “It was such a pleasure working with them,” she added.
Meanwhile, Billy Heaven, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said the CHASE Fund was targeting institutional development, especially in early childhood education. “Education in general is of importance and very significant to us. The Jamaica Library Service is an institution that we think will be able to help us to achieve our mandate. Anybody, particularly children, can have access to the Internet from any location where there is a branch library,” he said.
Mr. Heaven also noted that the disbursement of funds was closely monitored. “We have a strong monitoring department, because we do not feel that we should make funds available, without checking on the purpose for which it was intended,” he added.
“We have project officers who go out into the field and monitor all the projects that we are trying to implement. This is to make sure that they are in accordance with what we have approved, and also to measure the impact so that the projects have satisfied the basic needs,” he explained.