Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, cutting the ribbon to officially open the Tamarind??Hall??Branch of the National Library Service??at Blackman’s, St. Joseph. Assisting the Minister is First Form student of Grantley Adams Memorial School, Emmanuel Babb.
Residents of St. Joseph, St. Andrew and St. Thomas no longer have to make the long trek to the City to borrow books and gather information for school or work.
That is because the National Library Service of the Ministry of Community Development and Culture officially opened its eighth branch, Tamarind Hall, at the Eric Holder Jr. Municipal Complex at Blackman’s, St. Joseph today.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, said Tamarind Hall would be "a flagship" for the National Library Service by offering improved services to that rural community.
These services include the provision of e-books, online databases and audio visual material.
"Through new technological advances, information will become available via the network system and will be offered to users at this library and other locations. Provision will be made for the library catalogue to be made available online to patrons, who in the comfort of their homes…would be able to check and renew books, request material and download information," Mr. Blackett pointed out.
The Minister added that the limited services offered to the visually impaired or persons with special language or learning needs would be further enhanced to include assistive, technological products, such as speech and voice recognition programmes and conversion modems.
Mr. Blackett also revealed that plans were afoot to upgrade the branches at Oistins, the Valley, and Six Roads.
Acting Director of the National Library Service, Evonda Callendar, said staff at the Tamarind Hall Branch would employ innovative and experimental strategies in an effort to better service the needs of adjacent communities.
She described Tamarind Hall as "a work in progress" and a unique project, where books and information at that branch would be influenced by the needs of the community.
The Acting Director revealed that a community outreach programme had commenced and the department would be working along with the church, schools and community development officers to meet the particular needs of the surrounding catchment areas.
Today’s launch was part of activities to mark National Library Week, which coincides with the 162nd anniversary of the public library service in Barbados.