Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Library Service going digital

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THE BARBADOS NATIONAL Library Service is looking to implement a new digital registration system by next month.Acting deputy director Evonda Callender said this move would bring them more in line with their regional counterparts.“Barbados has one of the only libraries in the Caribbean still using a manual system. The others are using OPAC, the Online Public Access Catalogue,” she said.Callender said they would begin to address this by digitally registering their clientele with the Online Information Branch, which formed part of the Online Computer Library Centre.She said this would allow synchronisation between all branches of the public library so the public would be able to use any branch easily and also eliminate multiple registrations.Callender was speaking during the second Barbados National Library Service’s Literary Fair last Saturday in Independence Square.She said the service was also looking to undertake a “massive” project digitising old newspapers and books from as far back as colonial times as soon as the infrastructure was put into place.In addition, she said Barbados’ culture was suffering as a result of the lack of a separate national heritage library, adding that Barbados probably had the only library service in the world which did not differentiate between its national and public libraries.“We have the public and national libraries merged together, but we need a separate national library in order to preserve Barbadiana in all its formats.“As a national library, we need to collect Barbadian heritage in all its forms such as CDs and other media, but we don’t have the room,” she said.Callender said the Legal Deposit Act mandated that a copy of everything published in Barbados be made for the library, but it was not enforced as there was not enough room to store it all. In addition, she said, the act itself needed updating.“The act only covers print. It needs to be extended to all media, but we also need a national library to house them,” she said.Acting senior librarian Sandra Boyce manages the heritage library. She said more Barbadians were writing and publishing work.“We are finding more Barbadians are writing, publishing and depositing their books with us, and not just scholars.“A lot of our clientele is made up of students, but we are also finding, since we reopened in Independence Square, more people coming in to find out about Barbadian culture,” she said. (CA)

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