Friday, June 27, 2014

Public libraries are not a priorty

I'm in the middle of reading yesterday's Trinidad Guardian only to come upon this dismal headline on page 22, 'Chaguanas Mayor : Court in place of library' (I am unable to find the article online). The Chaguanas Public Library is located in the Centre Point Mall, Chaguanas. The last time I visited this library I made two observations: they were cramped for space and that they had a leaky roof. Therefore, I was delighted to learn, a few years ago, that new libraries were to be built in Arima, Chaguanas, Rio Claro, and San Fernando.  Sadly, the Chaguanas library has suffered the same fate as the San Fernando library, the space was given to some other government organization that was deemed to be more important. There was barely a murmur from the public when this happened in San Fernando and I wonder if it will be any different in this case.  I am heartened to read the very enlightening comment of Dr David Subran who is outraged by this unexpected development here and views this as another blow to the progress of the people of Chaguanas.

The good news though is that the Scarborough Public library in Tobago is to be reopened some time this year since it was affected by an earthquake more than 10 years ago.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Election Year

It's time again to elect a new Executive board for Library Association of Trinidad and Tobago for the period 2013-2015. The 52nd Annual General Meeting will take place on Friday 22nd March 2013 at the NALIS Audio Visual Room, from 9:00am to 1:30 pm.

The Keynote Speaker is Cheryl Ann Peltier-Davis, librarian, blogger, writer of the book The Cybrarian's Web: an A-Z guide to 101 free Web 2.0 tools and other resources published by Facet in 2012.

The title of the presentation: 

 Web 2.0 Tools for You - A Caribbean Cybrarian’s Guide to Free Resources on the Web and the Practical Application of these Resources in Libraries and other Working Environments.

Approximately two weeks to go and no word yet regarding the nominees for the 8 positions. A possible reason for this is the late notice that it is an election year. Speaking for myself, I was not keeping track.

I will be attending.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Call us Para-librarians

This post is a bit of a rant. I've got this thing about the word sub-professional. It's been used in advertisements for Library Assistants. Why am I peeved you may ask? 

Let's get to the meaning of the prefix sub- versus para-.


: under : beneath : below 
: subordinate : secondary : next lower than or inferior to
: less than completely, perfectly, or normally : somewhat
: almost : nearly 
: beside : alongside of : beyond : aside from 
: closely related to 
: involving substitution 
: faulty : abnormal  
: associated in a subsidiary or accessory capacity  
: closely resembling : almost 
Needless to say, I have a preference for the term para-professional.  Para- has more positive meanings associated with it unlike sub-. To illustrate, I prefer to work beside or alongside of a librarian than to be regarded as inferior or less than one. 

David Shumaker over at The Embedded Librarian  makes a good case that the term para-professional is not the best description for us.

"Indeed, that term “paraprofessional” is odd. In the legal profession, there are paralegals. In the medical profession, there are paramedics. So why do we not use the term paralibrarians? It turns out that “paralibrarian” isn’t a brand new word. In fact, it first appeared in print almost exactly 20 years ago, in an editorial by John Berry in the Nov. 1, 1992 Library Journal. Still, a quick search indicates that “paraprofessional” shows up in the literature of librarianship about 100 times more often than “paralibrarian.
I agree with David Shumaker, we should adopt the term para-librarian. What do you think?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Professional or paraprofessional: does anyone appreciate the difference?

Recently, a very large organisation advertised for the position of Library Aide. Some of the duties and responsibilities of the job included: collection development, cataloguing & classifying and  indexing. The Aide is expected to create client profiles and develop and use a computerised library database.  The education requirement  was a mere five CXC/CGE Ordinary Level passes and 3-5 years library work experience.

Honestly, I'm flabbergasted by the qualifications and experience, it showed that not enough effort was put into researching the human resources needed to start a new library. It would have been so simple to consult with the Library Authority (NALIS), or the Library Association  (LATT) for assistance on the matter or even a simple web search would have yielded information which would have indicated to them that a Librarian  is needed for the job.

    I can only hope that someone from a library advocacy organisation  would have enlightened the institution about qualifications and skills that are needed to create and manage a successful library or information service.

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

    One more conference - 40 is the magic number

    This year has been a bumper year for library conferences in the Caribbean. Generally, the only one held annually in the English speaking Caribbean is CARALL.  At SALALM I received a flier for the fourth conference to be held in Jamaica by the University of the West Indies Department of Library and Information Studies in honour of their 40th Anniversary in October 2012.

    The broad theme of the conference - From search to discovery: re-imaging the library and information landscape, is further broken down into several interesting sub-themes for further guidance. The deadline for submitting your proposal is 31st July 2012.*

    I really enjoy going to a conference, it's wonderful experience for learning, meeting new people and reconnecting with others. Attending conferences is one avenue for continuous professional development for librarians, to learn more about the benefits of attending or speaking at conferences  you might want to read Thing 15.

    A huge barrier to attending a conference in the Caribbean is the high cost of travelling and accommodation within the region. Regarding the Jamaican conference, the cost of the flight and registration fees alone will cost about USD$545.00 or TT$3500.00 and it's quite possible for the accommodation to cost as much or more.

    Coincidently, SALALM was held in Trinidad for a second time after 40 years, I hope that this is not a trend and we don't have to wait another 40 years for the next international/regional conference.

    * Deadline has been extended to August 15.

    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    What brought you here?

    I love Google Stats, I like to see where my audience is from, how they got to my blog and the key words that brought them to my site.

    Today someone from India was directed to my blog searching for information about " a day in the life of a poor Trinidadian". I Googled this phrase and got 4,410,000 hits, my blog came in at number 17 with a link to the Library Day in the life of Round 8 post.

    What are the most interesting keywords that brought readers to your blog?

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

    Caribbean Library Conferences 2012

    Three library conferences will be held in the Caribbean this year. I'm hoping to attend at least one.

    Conference Date: 04-08 June 2012
    Place: Petion-ville, Haiti
    Theme: 365 Doors Opened on the Technological Information Revolution. Economic, Cultural, Social and Political Impacts.

    The Conference has it's own page on Blogger, Acuril2012 Haiti where you will get additional  information about registration, topic guidelines for papers, poster sessions and workshops and hotel reservations.

    Caribbean Association of Law Libraries (CARALL) XXVII
    Conference Date: 01-04 July 2012
    Place: St. John's, Antigua
    Theme: ICTs and Law Libraries: Transforming our Essential Functions and Services

    The provisional programme is available on the website.

    Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) LVII
    Conference Date: 16-19 June 2012
    Place: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
    Theme: Popular Culture : Arts and Social Change in Latin America

    More details can be found on this website.

    Many introverts find that attending conferences and networking does not come naturally.In this article How to Attend a Conference As Yourself, the writer, who attends as a speaker, shares how he overcame  his feelings of awkwardness at a conference.