March 14, 2012 was an ordinary day for the Downtown business district. The clear blue skies and the warm comforting breeze that came from the nearby Kingston Harbour set the tone for the day. However, things were anything but ordinary for the staff at the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) as they prepared for what promised to be a busy day. Over two hundred persons and two Government Ministers were expected to pass through the Library’s halls at various times throughout the day. This was the NLJ’s much anticipated Open Day. The Open Day was being held as a part of the Book Industry Association of Jamaica’s (BIAJ) week long Kingston Book Festival celebrations. In order to celebrate the day and in the same breath sensitize more Jamaicans about the work of the NLJ, persons were invited from various schools and offices from the corporate area and beyond to join tours of the library or just browse the various exhibitions. One of the biggest highlights of the day was the NLJ’s new logo, which was set to be unveiled by the Minister of Youth and Culture the Hon. Lisa Hanna.
In 1979 when the National Library was first established a competition was held among staff members and all were encouraged to design a logo that they deemed representative of their library. When the competition ended and a winner chosen the best design was left standing. It was a black and white design of an open book with the letters NLJ written in the middle. Since those early formative years the National Library of Jamaica has extended its holdings moving beyond the quintessential collection of books, maps, prints and such the like and have acquired DVDs, CDs and is even harvesting posterity- worthy information that is now floating in cyberspace. The National Library of Jamaica has as one of its main function the preservation of the materials it collects, this function too has moved beyond just book binding and repairs of paper materials. The older items in the NLJ’s collection are being digitized and stored electronically. Talk about a move into the twenty-first century.
With the expanded roles of the NLJ (which is mandated to also guide the activities and make recommendations for the functions of all other local libraries) it was felt that the logo of 1979, good as it was, had served its purposes and done its days. Therefore, when the Open Day of March 14 was conceptualized it was quickly realized, that it would be the perfect occasion to unveil to Jamaica the NLJ’s new logo. The new design is fresh, simple, flexible and very attractive. Complete with the tagline EXPLORE. DISCOVER. CONNECT., the colours of the new logo all mean something (the black, green and gold to capture the national significance of the library and red symbolises a re-energised NLJ), the logo was unveiled by Minister Lisa Hanna.
After a very in-depth tour of the library’s facilities, her first, Minister Hanna had a good feel for the Library and the many functions it performs. “I am overwhelmed by all the work that is done here and the talent I have seen today,” Minister Hanna said before unveiling the logo.
The new design will give the library a more modern appeal and highlight this national treasure as a place to study, research Jamaica’s history and heritage. At present, the new logo is on the NLJ’s building at 12 East Street where it stands as a beacon, a guide leading to authentic Jamaican cultural information.
The NLJ’s Open Day was well received by all who attended, Minister of Education the Hon. Ronald Thwaites was likewise impressed with what he saw and learned while touring library’s facilities. In a thank you letter written to the National Library Minister Thwaites pledged to give support to the library in whatever way he can.
The National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) is a cultural agency that has been in existence since 1979 its main functions are to collect, preserve and make available for consultation Jamaica’s documented history and heritage in all its formats. As a national treasure, the NLJ operates to satisfy the needs of all Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans who are seeking authentic, reliable information about the country. The National Library of Jamaica invites all to explore Jamaica’s most comprehensive collection discover exciting facts about this country and connect with its history & heritage.