Back­ward move, Na­tional Li­brary!

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE EDI­TOR, Sir: I FEEL the need to take a mo­ment to share a re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence I en­coun­tered while vis­it­ing my beau­ti­ful is­land for a week in Oc­to­ber. I do this out of gen­uine con­cern with the hope that it will ef­fect some pol­icy change for other users.

I am a stu­dent in North Amer­ica, and on a re­cent trip back home dur­ing a se­mes­ter break, I needed the ser­vices of one of the li­braries to sub­mit a pa­per that was due. I called the li­brary be­fore my visit to as­cer­tain the rules, dress code and fees if ap­pli­ca­ble and was pro­vided with the in­for­ma­tion. Great, I thought.

Upon my ar­rival with lap­top in hand, I found a nice, quiet space to be­gin my work, only to be ad­vised to my ut­ter shock that while I was al­lowed to use the lap­top, I was not al­lowed to plug it in; I must in­stead come with a fully charged com­puter.


Na­tional Li­brary of Ja­maica, come on now!

I would have felt bet­ter be­ing asked to pay for use of the ser­vices and even be­ing told be­fore­hand that this is the pol­icy, but never in my wildest imag­i­na­tion would I have ever thought to ask – if I could.

I beg, I be­seech the pow­ers that be to in­ves­ti­gate this rule as there must be a more suit­able ‘best prac­tice’ that can adopted to ac­com­mo­date users.

I see that Min­is­ter of Science En­ergy and Tech­nol­ogy, Dr An­drew Wheat­ley is mov­ing as­sid­u­ously to in­crease free Wi-Fi zones, and so on my next, visit, I hope it will be bet­ter; how­ever, for those stu­dents in com­mu­ni­ties that just need a quiet place that a li­brary should pro­vide, clearly, this is some­thing well worth in­ves­ti­gat­ing and chang­ing. CHRIS­TINE CLARKE

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