The Jamaica Library Service
Celebrating The Journey…Shaping the Future
National Service of Thanksgiving Greetings

Saturday May 19, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.
Andrews Memorial Seventh Day Adventist Church, 29 Hope Road, Kingston 10
Greetings From The Chairman of the Jamaica Library Board

Good Morning. Thank you Pastor Steele, Pastor Eric Nathan, Elder Nugent and members of this church for granting the JLS this great privilege of starting our 70th Anniversary celebrations here at the Andrews Memorial Church. This is an historic event as this is the first time the JLS is holding an anniversary service on the Sabbath, and though I am a member of this congregation I did not influence this decision.
It is my pleasure to bring greetings on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Jamaica Library Service, I must share with you a quote from the Minister of Education in 1946 during the debate in the House of Representatives over the proposal to establish the JLS.

This is what he said:“….It must be remembered that the expansion of a Library service is most favourably related with the growth of democratic ideas. What in the past was for the few, is now for the many to enjoy such access.”

Seventy (70) years later there is hardly a Jamaican community without access to library services served through either a parish, branch, mobile library or a school library. The Jamaica Library Service has made it to this platinum year largely because of the foundation built by the legendary pioneers the dedicated and creative employees; the leadership of the Jamaica Library Board and the Parish Library Committees; the principals and teachers, who partner with us in delivering library services to government school libraries.

We acknowledge the dedication of an islandwide cadre of staff who work tirelessly to keep the doors of the peoples university open, thereby providing access to knowledge in various formats; whether largely by books, as back in 1948, or the combination of books and bytes today as well as and an extensive range of cultural and educational programmes. Without any doubt or fear of contradiction, Jamaica is the better for having had the Jamaica Library Service.

As a Director of the Board of Management it would be remiss of me not to admit that the JLS faces many challenges today, as do many libraries worldwide. One challenge is correcting the myth that libraries are no longer needed in the Google-age. If that were true, why would there have been over 2 million visits to the 118 Branch and Parish Libraries across Jamaica, or why would the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2014 grant the JLS over US$2 million to beef up its ICT capacities?

The medium is changing but not the message—libraries are the right hand of civilized and prosperous societies and the JLS in this its 70th year is only more determined to live up to the expectations of the members of the 1946 House of Representatives and to deliver on our promise as stated in our Mission Statement, which is, “to enable national development through the creation and support of a knowledge-based society of culturally aware lifelong learners by providing universal access to information…”

As we celebrate the 70th anniversary with a yearlong programme of activities in our libraries islandwide under the theme “celebrating the journey, shaping the future” ….. we will continue to inform citizens and remind stakeholders that libraries are far from obsolete and will indeed shape the future as essential service providers in an information obsessed future.

There is much to celebrate and we invite you and all Jamaicans to join with us. We look forward to serving you.

Mr. Jaron Whitley
On behalf of the Chairman
Jamaica Library Board