Newly appointed Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, has challenged both the National Library Service and the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) to develop more community-based initiatives.

He issued this directive today, during a visit to the NCF’s West Terrace headquarters and the National Library Service’s temporary location in Independence Square.

Minister Lashley said: "There is still, in my view, the avenue for ensuring that culture is seen as more than just Crop Over and NIFCA. Culture, in my view, has to become much more cemented to our traditions as Barbadians, and I have challenged the NCF to come up with a proposal to widen the whole gamut of culture and to begin looking at cultural programming within our communities."

He added that Barbados had a rich tradition of culture at the community level and noted that it was within the NCF’s mandate to "harness and preserve" it.

Following a visit to the Main Library, the Culture Minister highlighted the importance of reviving and expanding the mobile unit, which was currently limited in its operations.

"I believe that our library services, both at the level of literacy and enhancement, could be best put to use at the community level. We have branch libraries…but in addition to [these] … believe we can use our mobile services. I believe that the community, particularly the rural community can benefit from these mobile services," Mr. Lashley said.

During today’s familiarisation tours, the Minister also took the opportunity to meet with senior management.?? He was accompanied by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Shirley Farnum, and other key officials.

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