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KINGSTON — Director General of the Jamaica Library Service (JLS), Patricia Roberts, says the organisation is working to improve the school library system, including addressing those institutions that have non-functional facilities.

She was speaking on August 8 opening ceremony of the 40th Annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Mrs. Roberts said the fact that a number of the country’s school libraries are not functional, remains a concern, and the JLS continues to receive the unwavering support of the Government in assisting these institutions.

She noted that the JLS has also secured private and public funding to tackle the challenges, with a number of activities launched that have been “very successful”.

“We have a very good infant school development project…we have brought a number of infant school libraries to model status,” she informed. She stated that the goal is “get it right at the beginning” by investing in school libraries at the elementary level. 

Mrs. Roberts said that despite the challenges the organisation is “very cognisant and excited about the many opportunities as we work with our students, preparing them to succeed in a world that is changing by the minute”.

Delegates from some 26 countries are participating in theconference, which is being hosted in Jamaica this year by the Library and Information Association of Jamaica (LIAJA), under the theme: ‘School Libraries Empowering the 21st Century Learner’.                

Through the six-day forum (August 5 to 10), which features various workshops and plenary sessions, school librarians and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to learn, share, and network with local and international colleagues, become acquainted with emerging leaders, and discover new research ideas.

Topics to be discussed include: ‘Captivating students through humour’; ‘Professional learning in the digital age’; ‘21st Century librarianship in search of new paradigms’; ‘Confronting the Crisis of Significance in 21st Century school libraries’; and ‘Online programmes in school library education’.

The keynote address at the opening was delivered by Senior Director, Library and Information Services, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa,  Ellen Tise; while greetings were brought by IASL President, Dr. Diljit Singh; LIAJA President, Pauline Nicholas; and International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Representative, Randi Lundvall.

Conference participants include representatives from: Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Australia, Dubai, Namibia, South Africa, Canada, the United States, Croatia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Qatar, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

 

By ALPHEA SAUNDERS, JIS Reporter