It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it. 

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National Library and Information Services

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OVERVIEW

National Library and Information Services was established in 1999. Its main role is to unite the public libraries in New Providence and the Family Islands into one modern, automated system offering quality, standardized services in all islands.

MISSION STATEMENT

To provide ready access to quality resources and services for all persons throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in order to meet their intellectual, information and cultural needs; and to promote a spirit of sharing, cooperation and commitment to quality services among all stakeholders.

VISION

To access a library system with a full complement of staff, possessing skills and competencies to meet the information and technological age of the 21st century.

Our motto is "Quality staff and service are hallmarks of good public libraries."

SERVICES

Users have access to the following:

    • Book loans and other library materials
    • Inter-library loans
    • Children's programmes
    • Research tools
    • Newspapers and periodicals
    • Bahamian and West Indian materials
    • Internet services
    • Photocopying
    • Audio-visual equipment
  • Laminating services
  • Government documents, for example PSC 7 form.

HISTORY

 The National Library and Information Services was established in 1999. However, libraries began in The Bahamas since the early 19th century. The call for libraries came as early as 1804, as populations increased following the Loyalists influx of the 18th century. The first libraries in existence today were started over one hundred fifty (150) years. The Nassau Public Library was established in 1837 and its Act was passed in 1847(See the the link Nassau Public Library). On March 10th 2009, the new National Library and Information Services  Authority Act was passed merging the older board operated libraries in New Providence and those on the Family Islands into one National Library Services System.

National Library and Information Services has the task of uniting over 50 branches libraries in New Providence and the Family Islands into one modern, automated system, offering quality, standardised services in all islands. 

GENERAL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

  • To increase outreach programmes for users of various ages and background;
  • To promote educational programmes in local communities;
  • To provide up-to-date information by utilizing current technology; and
  • To make information easily accessible to all persons living in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Establishment of eleven (11) branch libraries in New Providence
Two (2) of the new libraries offer extended evening hours and they are open on Saturday

  • Career Path for library personnel
  • Beginning of automation in public libraries
  • Increased training of library personnel
  • Internet service for users
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
      •  (i)To increase services at the new National Library and Information Services building(Headquarters for Libraries) , College Avenue, Nassau, Bahamas;
      • (ii) To produce education Community Library radio programmes via Bahamas Library Service Infolight 90. 1FM radio station;
      • (iii) To implement standards and procedures by which libraries operate to provide effective and efficient services for all;
      • (iv) To complete a union catalogue of Bahamian public libraries holdings and national bibliography and indexes;
      • (v) To foster writing of Bahamian Literature by authors with an interest in the oral tradition in order to preserve our culture;
      • (vi) To increase library services through the NLIS Central Administration, Bahamas Library Service Info-Ref Centre, branch libraries and reading centres;
      • (vii)To provide effective supervision of Branch Libraries;
      • (viii) To provide training in library and information competencies for staff;
      • (ix) To provide increase training in library and information competencies for library cadets and the Information Literacy Club membership;
      • (x) To provide quality resources and services for communities;
      • (xi) To provide Story Hour and Outreach programmes for all in the community through procurement

ACHIEVEMENTS  (2004-2015)

Re-opening of Sir George Roberts Library by Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Education, January 2004
Renaming of the Southern Public Library to Lillian G. Weir Library by the Right Hon. Perry G.  Christie, Prime Minister, 2004
Official Opening of Elizabeth  Estates Library,  13th December 2004
National Library Services in conjunction with Dade Public Library System  sponsored Art of Storytelling Workshop and Presentation Library Programme, Keynote Speaker, Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Education, Science & Technology, March 2005
  • Passing of the National Library and Information Services Authority Act, 10 March 2009 to be implemented in 2011-12 fiscal year.
  • Twenty(20) library staff participants (New Providence, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera and Long Island) in the University of Kentucky, Bluegrass College library certification and Library Science Associate degree online programmes to date
  • Basic Library Training for three (3) new staff, NLIS Conference Room, 2-3 September 2009
  • Library Cadets (Primary and High Schools -Public and Private) training workshops on basic library skills, information literacy, media and computer skills/ Library cadets volunteer assistance attachments at public libraries and school libraries 20o9 (January to April 2010) over 100 contact/training hours)
  • Public Library Summer Annual Reading Programmes -Elizabeth Estates Library, Carmichael Road Library (60 plus students in total participated) Summer 2010
  • 40 Library Staff participated in EBSCO database training workshop in September 2010
  • Four (4) new volunteers assisting at branch libraries in New Providence, 2010
  • Four (4) educational databases e.g. EBSCO, Learning Express Library, GALE, BOWKER including fiction books segment to assist students and the general public in research and recreational reading physically at the library and virtually at  www.bahamaslibraries.org
  • NLIS, Bahamas-Head Librarian’s successful completion of Certified Public Library Administration (CPLA) Programme. Successful review by ALA/PLA 2010 and presentation of certificates
  • Library Training Workshops  for New Providence and Family Islands including , Eleuthera and Mayaguana library staff- July 2010 (10 staff in total received Annual Basic Library Training at workshop)
  • Two (2) librarians and two(2) paraprofessionals staff members attended  A+ Certification Boot Camp in Tampa, Florida, November 2010
  • Ongoing reading programmes and lecture series- Sir George Roberts Library, Harbour Island, Current , Eleuthera, and Haynes Libraries respectively- January 2009-2010

 National Library and Information Services Programmes
Annual Summer Reading Programmes at some Public Library Branches in New Providence (Elizabeth) and the Family Islands (Summer months namely, June & July )
Estates Library, Carmichael and South Beach Public Libraries
Recruiting and Training Library Cadet (RTLC) Programme for a sustainable Bahamas (monthly)
Information Literacy Club membership Programme (monthly)
Reading Enrichment Programme at Elizabeth Estates Public Library (monthly)
Toddlers’ Programme at G.K. Symonette Library (discontinued)
Literacy Programme for Young Learners at Kemp Road (weekly)
Social Club and Accelerated Reading Programme at Carmichael Road Library (monthly)
Behavior Modification and Programme and Homework at Wulff Road Library
Lecture Series Programme at Haynes Library, Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera (monthly)
Oral history Sir George Roberts Library, Harbour Island-ongoing
  • Ongoing reading programmes and lecture series- Sir George Roberts Library, Harbour Island, Current , Eleuthera, and Haynes Libraries respectively- January 2010-11
    • National Library Services HQ and Elizabeth Estates Library, shared  1st and 3rd place winners with Custodian Staff and Registry respectively in the MOE 30-Day Challenge under the  ACHIEVING PROFESSIONALISM WITH PRIDE”24TH JANUARY – 25TH FEBRUARY, 2011. Mrs. Deborah Butler, custodian staff, Kemp Road Library was given special recognition and dinner for two because of outstanding service at the library
  • Official opening of Bannerman Town Community Centre in partnership with Mr. Shaun Ingraham, Rotary Club, Lisa Krupp, Island Relief 
    • Visitations and town/Inter-office meetings to public libraries and resource centres  in Eleuthera by Mrs. Dorcas Bowler, Head Librarian and  Mrs. Schandles Barry, Financial Controller, MOE
  • Plans for the official opening of the Gregory Town Public Library with the assistance of Ms. Shanta Maurice, Library Assistant, Gregory Town Public library, Mrs. Dorcas Bowler, Head Librarian National Library and Information Services and  Bahamas Library Service Association in partnership with Mr. Canning, Susy Siel and Friends of the Library
  • Library Cadets and information literacy membership training workshops, volunteer and community service contact hours to date are 110 (January – April, 2011)
    • 300 plus books about The Bahamas by Bahamian and non-Bahamian authors collected by Mrs. Monique Odigie, BLS librarian for NLIS Depository to date
  • Over 150 educational programming recorded to date (April 2011 by Mrs. Alfreda Cooper, Executive Producer for BLS InfoLight 90.1 FM Community Radio Station, College Avenue
  • NLIS-BLS Info-Ref Centre, College Avenue serves teachers and students from surrounding schools and the general public providing free  computer and Internet access to all
  • Senior Executive Secretary, Ms. Madge Smith and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Deraine Pratt, Mrs. Monique Odigie along with Ms. Joycelyn Brown Licenceir, custodian assist the general public and students from neighbouring schools with assignments and projects for national and international examinations on a regular basis beside executing regular duties-Ongoing
  • Two librarians (Mrs. Marsha Major and Linda Dames from the Wulff Road and Kemp Road branch libraries respectively in New Providence completed an eight (8) week Literacy workshop to assist adults and students with reading challenges, 2011
    • Dialogue with Dr. Martin Baptiste and Ms. Clarendon, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)began at a meeting MOE HQ, a follow-up visit was planned for a closer examination of National Library and Information Services. (NLIS).This did not occur due to time constraint by transporter. Continued discussions by NLS and CDB will resume via networking or otherwise
    • NLIS hosted delegates from Bermuda, British Virgin Island, Bahamas and Jamaica, during the week of 10-15th April in celebration of UNESCO Bahamas 30th Anniversary under the theme” Celebrating Culture through the Eyes of our Youth” , April 2011
  • BLS InfoLight Radio 90.1 FM recognized 30 plus volunteers and other stakeholders for their assistance as sponsors, partners, hosts, interviewees at the studio during National Volunteer week (10th to 15th April 2011 to coincide with UNESCO Bahamas celebrations- Dr. Kwame Boafo delivered brief remarks. Presentations of certificates and trophies were made to participants invaluable contributions, April 2011
  • Attendance of Head Librarian to present sessions for Orientation of new English speaking members at ACURIL 41st  Conference held in Tampa, Florida 31st May to 4th  June 2011, Head Librarian, Bahamas re-elected to ACURIL, Executive Council
  • Three (3) library branches in New Providence –Carmichael, Elizabeth and South Beach  hosted Annual Summer Programmes in July-August 2011
    • Opening of renovated old Prep school, Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera into special Information and Multi-Purpose Centre and ampi-theatre, headed by Community leader, Mr. Shaun Ingraham, in partnership with Rotary Clubs, national and international sponsorships and universities scheduled for August 2011
  • Improvement to Computer lab for use by students and the general public at NLIS-Info-Ref Centre by August 2011
    • Attendance of NLIS Head Librarian and two other librarians from NLIS/BLS Elizabeth and Kemp Road Library branches in The Bahamas as delegates to the International Federation of Libraries Association (IFLA) held in Puerto Rico, August 2011
  • Participation of Head Librarian Information Literacy Satellite workshop sponsored by the International Federation of Libraries Association (IFLA) to be held in Puerto Rico August 2011
  • Permanent Secretary and Head Librarian met with Ambassador Hu Shan of the Peoples Republic of China and received donation of books at the Chinese Embassy, Eastern Road, Nassau
  • Attendance of Head Librarian to ACURIL’s Mid-Year meeting in St. Maarten (Dutch), November 8th-11th 2011. Head Librarian appointed Vice President of ACURIL 2012-13 and President Elect 2013-14
    • Proposal for a van to provide effective service for an automated library system and delivery of books and library resources to Family Island branch libraries and other small libraries by December 2011
  • EBSCO Workshop held NLIS HQ for Library Supervisors, Assistant Supervisors and National Job placement workers posted at NLIS and NLIS branches, December 2011
  • Litter Free Library Zone-February 2012
  • Book mobile service introduced for New Providence- March 2012
  • Standardized pricelist for all library branches-1st March 2012
  • Public Service Announcements-March 2012
  • Better signage for Library Services- April 2012
    • Skills Tutor Workshop-Library/Literacy Project  to commence at the Wulff Road Library in conjunction with Parents/Students Stephen Dillet Primary School in March 2012
  • Library/Literacy Project  to commence at the Wulff Road Library in conjunction with Parents/Students Stephen Dillet Primary School Launch tentatively in August/September 2012
  • E-Technologies
    • NLIS Official ceremony recognizing donation of van presented by the Chinese The Peoples Republic of China to The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and in particular Library Services accepted by Honourable Jerome Fitzgerald, Minister of Education, Science and Technology November 2012
  • Bahamas Director of Libraries’ attendance and installation as Vice President of the Association during ACURIL’s Mid-Year Meeting held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, December 5th -8th December 2012
  • Official Farewell ceremony for Mrs. Elma Garraway, retired Permanent Secretary, MOE, 25th January 2013
  • Gale Database Workshop, hosted by NLIS, 25th January 2013
  • SkillsTutor Workshop Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt Workshop hosted by NLIS,Wulff Road Library, March 2013
  • Library Exhibitions to be mounted in libraries on the 40th Anniversary of Independence in June and July 2013
  • Celebrity Reading at various public libraries in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Independence in June and July 2013
  • Infolight 90.1FM Community Radio Station launch during The Bahamas 40th Anniversary Independence Celebration July 2013
  • Hosted Special Library Training and Seminar in recognition of outstanding and Long serving Library staff, Friends of The Library Group July 2013
  • ACURIL Annual Conference tentatively scheduled to be hosted by The Bahamas in June 2014
    • Book Fair and Reading Extravaganza and Battle of the Books in all public libraries in partnership with schools in the community October 2014


GOALS FOR THE FUTURE

  • To establish a national library
  • To establish a national library and information system
  • To increase the number of In-service awards for training professional librarians
  • To increase training for library personnel in New Providence and the Family Islands
  • To promote the development of a larger number of public libraries in the Family Islands
  • To foster interest in the Library Cadet Programme in the schools
  • To increase children's and summer programmes in the public libraries
  • Set up online catalogues for all libraries
  • Expand the National Library and Information Services Website bahamaslibraries.org (bahlibs.org)
 

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