Wheat­ley gives li­brary ser­vice a thumbs up

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

MIN­IS­TER OF Sci­ence, En­ergy and Tech­nol­ogy Dr An­drew Wheat­ley has com­mended the Ja­maica Li­brary Ser­vice (JLS) and its part­ners for pro­vid­ing free ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy (ICT) to the pub­lic.

“The Ja­maica Li­brary Ser­vice has em­braced tech­nol­ogy in such a way that it seeks to im­prove its ser­vice of­fer­ings to the gen­eral pub­lic. I am pleased that our lo­cal li­braries are re­spond­ing to the tech­no­log­i­cal changes and, in so do­ing, are im­ple­ment­ing learn­ing ini­tia­tives aimed at in­creas­ing the lit­er­acy rate and as­sist­ing in de­vel­op­ing a tech­no­log­i­cally en­abled so­ci­ety,” he said.

Wheat­ley was speak­ing at the JLS Tech Fest, held on Thurs­day at the Kingston and St An­drew Par­ish Li­brary.

The event sig­nalled the cul­mi­na­tion of the three-year Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion Global Li­braries ICT project.

The project, ‘JLS: Us­ing Tech­nol­ogy to Em­power In­di­vid­u­als and Com­mu­ni­ties for De­vel­op­ment’, sought to pro­vide Ja­maicans with in­creased ac­cess to ICT ser­vices.

PROJECT OB­JEC­TIVES

Other ob­jec­tives of the project were to pro­vide ICT and other train­ing pro­grammes to pro­mote per­sonal, or­gan­i­sa­tional and na­tional de­vel­op­ment; to pro­vide new and en­hanced pro­grammes and ser­vices re­spon­sive to stake­hold­ers’ needs; to pro­mote the JLS pro­grammes and ser­vices to ex­ist­ing and po­ten­tial users to in­crease li­brary us­age; and to cre­ate greater aware­ness of the value of pub­lic li­braries in com­mu­ni­ties to build lo­cal and na­tional sup­port of these en­ti­ties.

In her re­marks at the cer­e­mony, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the JLS, Karen Barton, said the three-year project has had a pos­i­tive im­pact, not­ing there has been an in­crease in pub­lic knowl­edge of ba­sic ICT ser­vices.

“The im­pact study in­di­cates that 82 per cent of our users deem the pub­lic li­brary as the (best) place to ac­cess the In­ter­net free of cost,” she noted.

Barton said that in order to pro­vide ICT train­ing to pro­mote per­sonal, or­gan­i­sa­tional and na­tional de­vel­op­ment, they have trained more than 600 staff mem­bers, who, in turn, have trained 2,500 li­brary users.

WHEAT­LEY

She added that the lat­est im­pact study showed that 51 per cent of the per­sons polled are able to ap­ply ba­sic com­puter skills learned at the li­brary.

“To­day, every pub­lic li­brary across Ja­maica has state-of-the-art com­put­ers for pub­lic ac­cess, with 82 per cent con­nected to the In­ter­net and of­fer­ing wire­less ac­cess. The re­main­ing 18 per cent are ready to pro­vide con­nec­tiv­ity once the in­fra­struc­ture is in place in the com­mu­nity,” Barton said.

The Tech Fest fea­tured ex­hi­bi­tions from sev­eral pub­lic and pri­vate agen­cies, in­clud­ing the JLS; the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Youth and In­for­ma­tion; Min­istry of Sci­ence, En­ergy and Tech­nol­ogy; Ja­maica Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­pany; The Gleaner; Of­fice of the Chil­dren’s Ad­vo­cate; Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Foren­sic Cy­ber Po­lice Di­vi­sion; King Alarm Sys­tems Lim­ited; Cam­pion Col­lege; and Ja­maica Col­lege Ro­bot­ics Club.

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