Nat’l Library allows laptop use – for a fee
Recent data indicate around a 30 per cent HIV prevalence among active male homosexuals, especially those with multiple sex partners. Jamaica is still largely a homophobic place, where gay men, fearing discrimination and stigma because of their sexual orientation, are likely to hide in the shadows. Female sex workers fare better, and their rate of HIV has fallen sharply in recent years. That, however, doesn’t mean that they are immune to the stigma that still prevents many from taking full ownership of their health.
In the event, fighting stigma and discrimination and further advancing public understanding of the disease as one that isn’t contracted by casual contact remain imperatives in the campaign against HIV/AIDS. There is, too, the issue of empowerment, especially for women, in negotiating sexual relationships.
It used to be that significantly more men than women contracted HIV. The situation has flipped, especially among younger women. Part of the reasons, perhaps, rests in the data on condom use among women, some of whom may have promiscuous partners. This argument, however, is not irrelevant to men who have sex with men.
Education and awareness, therefore, are effective weapons in the arsenal against HIV/AIDS. THE EDITOR, Sir: WITH REGARD to a letter to the editor published on December 1, 2016, captioned ‘Backward move, National Library!’, I believe there has been an error on Christine Clarke’s part, as the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ), located at 12 East Street, Kingston, which is Jamaica’s premier research library, undoubtedly recognises the need for library users to use their laptops while conducting research at our facility.
As such, the NLJ allows users access to plug in their laptops while on-site. In fact, the electrical outlets are strategically placed to facilitate this so as not to contribute to any tripping accidents that may occur as a result of the charger being strewn across the walkway. We, however, charge a nominal fee of $150, which guarantees usage for the entire day.
I believe Ms Clarke may have visited the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library, which is part of the islandwide network of the Jamaica Library Service, which is a totally separate entity from the National Library of Jamaica. The National Library of Jamaica has one facility located at 12 East Street.
Based on the nature of our collection and the fact that all material must be used on-site and not available for lending, we require that persons register before using the library, and a check of our user database did not return a result for Christine Clarke as a registered user.
I have even gone a step further to verify if Ms Clarke had, in fact, visited our location in October and have found no record of this. I, however, would like to take this opportunity to invite Ms Clarke to visit our facility on her next trip to Jamaica, as we stand ready to satisfy her information needs, including the use of her laptop, which she is more than welcome to plug in for the entire day. WINSOME HUDSON National Librarian/CEO National Library of Jamaica