As Jamaica moves toward realizing its vision for 2030 it is imperative that libraries and the National Library of Jamaica in particular lead the charge. But how can a Library do this? Let us examine the role that the National Library of Jamaica will play in our nation’s continued development as we pick up National Library of Jamaica Act, 2010… So What? Part II.
Roles for the NLJ in national development
The contributions expected of the National Library of Jamaica towards national development as reflected in the sector strategic plans of the national development plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica include:
Information and Communications Technology Sector Plan
- Proliferate and promote the delivery of first class easily accessible and secure e-government services;
- Protect, preserve and market Jamaica’s indigenous cultural resources through ICT
On the matter of protecting, preserving and marketing Jamaica’s indigenous cultural resources through ICT one only has to visit http://www.nlj.gov.jm/digital-collections to see the digital surrogates which have so far been developed from resources in the collection.
The Jamaica Union Catalogue, a master catalogue of library holdings in government funded special libraries is one tool for promoting and delivering e-government services as through this union catalogue which is available online, the researcher is able to search across many libraries to identify those library publications that speak to Jamaican issues. The NLJ has been the leader and coordinator in the ongoing development of this catalogue, sometimes called a national bibliographic database. Another example of facilitating access to government is the digitized versions of Ministry papers created by NLJ and available online from http://www.nlj.gov.jm/content/government-jamaica-documents
A most important initiative being undertaken at the National Library of Jamaica is the harvesting and archiving of websites of local organizations. This project began in 2009 and to date the websites being archived include those of Ministries and JIS on a monthly basis and other select organizations such as JIPO and JCDC on a quarterly basis. This project enables NLJ to preserve the content of websites as at the date the site was harvested.
Culture, Creative Industries and Values Sector Plan
- Strengthening, coordination and rationalization between and within existing institutions with responsibilities for culture and creative industries.
- Develop and utilize ICTS for partnering and sharing information
- Ensure culturally relevant education programmes.
- Promote collaborations between cultural facilities, tertiary y institutions and research centres.
These targets for the Culture, Creative and Values Sector are being implemented at the NLJ notably by way of the supply of two standards for the publishing sector: International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) and International Standard Book Number (ISBN); by the leadership and support provided to libraries in Ministries, Departments and Agencies by way of NLJ’s coordinating role for the Jamaica Libraries and Information Network (JAMLIN); distribution and support for the library management computer programme CDS/ISIS used by 327 special libraries in Jamaica; by the presentation of an annual Distinguished Lecture and the use of web 2.0 technologies such as facebook and flickr to promote the resources of the NLJ..
Persons with Disabilities
- Promote participation in cultural life,recreation, leisure and sports.
- Ensure that all public information is available and accessible to all PWDS(appropriate formats e.g.Braille, audio etc.).
The NLJ has been the un-controvertible leader in advocating for amendments to the copyright act so as to enable blind persons to have equal access to print via copying to sound and was elated to learn that the copyright act is being reviewed to include copying exceptions for the blind. The National Digital Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled was created by the NLJ to fill the gap in library services to the blind. In partnership with the Society for the Blind, a grant from CHASE, permissions from JAMPCOPY and enlightened authors and publishers, the NLJ has created a baseline collection of digital books for access by the blind and have placed them in a an online portal. NLJ’s expertise and capacity in this area led to the Planning Institute of Jamaica asking the NLJ to digitize, for access by the blind, the popular edition of Vision 2030.
Education Sector Plan:
- Develop Learning resource centres on subject areas that can be used for classroom instruction or can be used by students for further review and/ or understanding.
The digital collections developed to date Picture Dis, Freedom to Be, Slave Trade and our contributions to Digital Library of the Caribbean are prime sources for material in support of the High School Curricula in History and Social Studies. These can be found at http://www.nlj.gov.jm./digital-collections.
National Library of Jamaica Act, 2010: So What?
A country is reflected back to itself via the documents which record its thought and action in the social, economic, political cultural, scientific spheres. That is through its webpages, e-publications, books, newspapers, journals, sound and film recordings, event programmes, photographs, maps a country can learn from where it has been, where it is and where it ought to be. The National Library of Jamaica located at 12 East Street Kingston, has been given the supreme and distinctive national library tasks to collect, list and describe (catalogue) these national documents, mirrors if you will, and to ensure that they are preserved and consulted by the many, not the few. The NLJ has been advancing those national library roles since its first incarnation in 1979 and the NLJ Act, 2010, further empowers and authorizes the National Library of Jamaica to be the nation’s oracle, or as stated in the NLJ vision statement : to foster a nation knowledgeable about its history, heritage and information resources.