Harnessing information for national development
IT GIVES me great pleasure to congratulate the members of the Library and Information Association of Jamaica, and everyone associated with libraries, on the directions being taken to ‘harness information for national development’.
Libraries in Jamaica are scoring high marks for delivering services to a wide cross section of users, adopting technology-based services, and curating and incorporating a wide range of important local initiatives. Examples include the collection of Louise Bennett-Coverley’s papers, which was recently launched by the National Library of Jamaica, and a major project, JLS: Using Technology to Empower Individuals and Communities for Development, which is being completed this month.
We are fortunate to be working at a time when our communities are increasingly information conscious, have an estimated 53 per cent Internet penetration, experience in the use of Professor Durrant
social media for work and play, and the ability to search and find information using Google and other search engines. Librarians are now able to employ technologies and applications to interact with their communities and to deliver services. Increasingly, librarians are using a variety of methods and techniques, adapted to the needs and abilities of their users to help them find accurate and reliable information, and to analyse, interpret, and evaluate it.
Going forward, we see greater opportunities for librarians to harness information for national development. They can be expected to participate in the implementation of the revised Access to Information Act, to contribute to enhancing the process of accountability and transparency, and to make appropriate information available to the average citizen, to researchers, specialists, policy and decision makers.