THE JAMAICA Library Service (JLS) will launch next month Jamaica's first mobile library, offering information and communications technology (ICT) facilities alongside traditional library and information services. This, it is envisaged, will be the forerunner of an enhanced mobile library service to more than 500 communities in rural and urban Jamaica that, to date, have no established library buildings.
With 131 fixed libraries islandwide, the library service is strategically positioned to act as a key partner with the citizens of Jamaica to stem the widening digital divide, that is, the number of people with or without access to computers.
In recent years, the JLS embarked on a systematic programme of ICT development within its public library network.
ICT trends in Jamaica show that payment agencies, banks, embassies and e-government initiatives demand that citizens understand how to use technology to complete transactions and conduct business.
Currently ICT services are offered in 13 parish and 80 branch libraries, with 86 of these also offering Internet access.
To serve the needs of a growing number of senior citizens, who are sometimes technology-inhibited and, therefore, at a disadvantage, the library service recently established an islandwide programme of computer training to equip this group of persons to function effectively in today's technology-driven marketplace.