Thu | Mar 22, 2018

Outgoing national librarian satisfied with performance

Published:Saturday | June 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Winsome Hudson
Beverley Lashley

With the imminent changing of the guard at the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ), outgoing National Librarian and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Winsome Hudson has declared the heightened attention the NLJ has received as the greatest achievement of her 14-year tenure.

Hudson, who ensured the seamless transition from the Jamaica Library Service (JLS) to the NLJ in May 2003, is to demit office on June 30.

"It's the repository of the nation's recorded history and heritage and it's rightfully becoming more known to Jamaicans. Through digitisation, the adoption of a modern online public-access catalogue, outreach programmes and social media use, persons overseas as well, are being made more aware of the NLJ and its significance to the country," voiced Hudson while alluding to efforts to resurrect the Poet Laureate programme after 61 years of dormancy.

"The Poet Laureate programme helped to position us favourably on the Jamaican landscape. We weren't the only ones responsible for it, but we were instrumental in getting it back on the national agenda, and it's a NLJ-administered programme."

The first public library of its kind in Jamaica, it began operations in 1879 when the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) was established for the encouragement of literature, science and art.

The IOJ Act of 1978 saw the official title of 'national' being added exactly a century after being found in 1979.

The NLJ's mandate is to collect, preserve and promote the historical records of Jamaica.

Hudson has named the vast photo collection the NLJ has accumulated as one the entities' greatest strengths.

"Information isn't just through text, but images are also rich sources of information about people that tell a comprehensive story. One of my favourite in the collection is one dated 1930s, when they were opening the railway station at Porus and it was a grand social event."

... Dedicated, purpose-driven team

In relation to the team she has captained for over a decade, Winsome Hudson stated: "They're purpose driven, dedicated and knowledgeable. I know that they'll continue the great work and raise the bar even further."

Incoming CEO, Beverley Lashley, formerly of University of the West Indies, is to assume the reins as national librarian on July 3.

Commenting briefly on her vision for the NLJ, she told The Gleaner: "I want to ensure that the NLJ continues to play its part in national development through the protection and safeguarding of our cultural and natural heritage while using technology to make this information readily accessible."