Nevis Libraries Critical To Development

CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (December 13, 2006)
An official of the Department of Education on Nevis called for a major paradigm shift by administrators, classroom teachers and librarians, who are of the view, that libraries and librarians were not as important as other educational institutions. On the contrary, she said, libraries played a major role in the total development of the community.
Mrs Ellen Grant, Coordinator at the Teachers Resource Unit in the Department of Education on Nevis, made the call while she delivered remarks on behalf of the Department on Tuesday December 12, 2006, at the culmination of a four-day Library Training Workshop at Marion Heights facilitated by Ms. Londa Browne.The workshop, which was attended by 22 participants drawn from schools and libraries across Nevis, was sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and the Department of Education, Nevis.
“We must raise the bar in our thinking, libraries and librarians enhance the total development of our society. If we do not seek to strengthen the link between libraries and the classrooms, the real losers will continue to be our students who miss access to current materials for information, recreational reading and team teaching by the class teacher and the librarians.
“We are also aware that we are living in an information-driven age where we must be on the cutting edge of technology. In light of this there must be a major paradigm shift by administrators, classroom teachers and librarians especially those who are of the view that libraries and librarians are not as important as other educational institutions,” she said.
According to Mrs. Grant, the Department was cognisant of the fact, that the library should be an integral part of the school’s reading programme and that collaboration should exist between the class room teacher and the librarian for the creation of units and lessons that linked content, information literacy and technology literacy.
Mrs. Grant also took the opportunity to give advice to the participants, citing that they should always ensure the link between school libraries and the classroom continued to strengthen and develop. In so doing she said, they would be rewarded by producing a fully literate society, endowed with technology literacy.
Meantime, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Library Services Mr. Elvin Bailey, during his remarks said the issue of libraries in schools, in particular, had been of great concern to the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) past and present.
“We believe in libraries and we believe in the use of libraries. We have put a lot of money and resources towards building up the libraries. We also believe in a link between the school and the community”¦and the school is a continuation of the community and vice versa,” he said.
Mr. Bailey also took the opportunity to applaud the vision of the Minister of Social Affairs the Hon. Hensley Daniel, for the initiative of the Homework Assistance Programme, which he said, included a library component.
He told the participants that modern libraries went beyond books and encompassed information storage, information retrieval and information usage. He reminded them that though they had  received only four days of exposure, the Ministry of Education expected a lifetime of commitment from them and remained confident that that they would rise to the occasion.
Mr. Antonio Maynard St. Kitts Nevis Secretary General to UNESCO, during remarks, underscored the organisation’s involvement in the Federation. He said UNESCO was cognisant of the fact, that knowledge management had become one of the most important tools used as a vehicle for development, especially in developing countries like St. Kitts and Nevis, which had moved toward becoming a knowledge-based society.
According to Mr. Maynard, UNESCO had sponsored the project in keeping with its constitutional mandate, to offer services in the area of communication and information which included library services.
At the end of the ceremony, the participants were presented with certificates by Mr. Maynard and Mrs Janet Maloney, Education Officer and Project Coordinator.

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