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Title: Caribbean libraries and the protection of cultural diversity in the Information Society
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Title: Caribbean libraries and the protection of cultural diversity in the Information Society
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Durrant, Fay
Publisher: Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries,
Publication Date: 2006
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Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: Caribbean
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Table of Contents
    Cover
        Cover
    Resumen
        Unnumbered ( 2 )
    Abstract
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Main
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    References
        Page 14
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TALLER DE
bibliotecas caribefias y la protecci6n de la diversidad cultural en la Sociedad de la
Informaci6n

RESUME

La Sociedad de la Informaci6n puede definirse como "una sociedad inclusive y global de
informaci6n en la que todas las personas, sin distinci6n, tienen la facultad para crear,
recibir, compartir y utilizar libremente informaciones y conocimientos para su desarrollo
econ6mico, social, cultural y politico".

A media que avancemos en el desarrollo de la Sociedad Caribefia de la Informaci6n, la
globalizaci6n puede ser vista como una influencia important que podria amenazar la
diversidad cultural de la regi6n. La globalizaci6n tambien brinda a la diaspora caribefia la
oportunidad de tener acceso diario a informaciones autdnticas con respect a la cultural local.

Nuestra region, que estA compuesta principalmente de islas, estA particularmente abierta a las
influencias de afuera, y estamos viendo impacts tanto positives como negatives en las
formas locales de expresi6n cultural lenguas, misica, bailes y narraciones como tambien
una possible p6rdida de rituales, artesania, y conocimientos generals del folclore y de la
mitologia.

Las bibliotecas caribeflas ofrecen unos espacios culturales nuevos sin fronteras donde las
actividades culturales populares y tradicionales pueden ser exhibidas, conservadas y
transmitidas a las generaciones actuales y sucesivas dentro y fuera del Caribe.

En este taller, se investigarAn algunas experiencias de bibliotecas caribeflas con respect a la
conservaci6n de la diversidad cultural y la oportunidad que se les brinda a los usuarios
locales y globales de tener acceso a espacios culturales. Dichas experiencias incluyen:

la Competencia Nacional de Lectura (Jamaica) (Servicio de Biblioteca de Jamaica)
Jamaica sin Cadenas (Biblioteca Nacional de Jamaica)

Los ponentes serin

Fay Durrant
Winsome Hudson
Karen Barton

Fay Durrant (Catedritico) fay.durrant@uwimona.edu.im
Director del Departamento de Bibliotecologia y Estudios de la Informaci6n
telefono 9274861 397 7522









Join g. Emanstraat 110, Oranjestad, Aruba, W.L -Phone: (297)588-2842 TFax (297) 588-4678
E-mail: unlimitedtranslations@hotmailcom












Caribbean libraries and the protection of
cultural diversity in the Information Society



ABSTRACT

The Information Society can be defined as "An inclusive global
information society where all persons, without distinction, are
empowered freely to create, receive, share and utilize information and
knowledge for their economic, social, cultural and political
development". (WSIS)

As we advance in the development of the Caribbean Information
Society, globalization is an important influence which could threaten
the cultural diversity of the region. Globalization also enables the
Caribbean Diaspora on a daily basis to access authentic information on
local culture and to interact regularly with local residents.

Our region, which is mainly composed of islands, is particularly open to
outside influences and we see evidence of positive and negative
impacts on forms of cultural expression local languages, music,
dance, story telling and possible loss of rituals, craftwork, and
generally knowledge of folklore and mythology.

Caribbean libraries offer new borderless cultural spaces where popular
and traditional cultural activities can be showcased, preserved and
transmitted to current and successive generations within and outside
the Caribbean.

The workshop will examine some experiences of Caribbean libraries in
preserving cultural diversity and enabling users locally and globally to
access and create content of cultural spaces. These will include:

The National Reading Competition (Jamaica Library Service)
Jamaica Unshackled (National Library of Jamaica)

Presenters will be
Fay Durrant, Professor, Department of Library and Information Studies,
The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.
Tel: 876-927 2944 Fax: 876-970-4903










Email: fay.durrant@uwimona.edu.jm


Winsome Hudson, Executive Director National Library of Jamaica, East
Street, Kingston, Jamaica. Email: nljwh@infochan.com

Karen Barton, Regional Director Region 3, Jamaica Library Service,
Manchester Parish Library, Mandeville, Jamaica and President of the
Library and Information Association of Jamaica (LIAJA).
Email: jamlibs3@yahoo.com OR liaiapresident@yahoo.com


QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. How does cultural diversity impact on your work as a librarian?
2. How can your library contribute to the protection and
preservation of Caribbean cultural diversity?
3. How would you use images of Jonkonnu or Moko Jumbi in your
library programmes?
4. How does Globalization impact on your work?
5. How are you participating in the Information Society
6. What policies would you put in place to protect and preserve
Caribbean cultural diversity?
7. What challenges does your library face in promoting reading as a
skill in the digital age?











Caribbean libraries and the protection of
cultural diversity in the Information Society

Fay Durrant (Prof.)
The University of the West Indies


Fay Durrant, Professor, Department of Library and Information Studies,
The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.
Tel: 876-927 2944 Fax: 876-970-4903
Email: fay.durrant@uwimona.edu.jm



ABSTRACT

The Information Society can be defined as "An inclusive global
information society where all persons, without distinction, are
empowered freely to create, receive, share and utilize information and
knowledge for their economic, social, cultural and political
development". (WSIS)

As we advance in the development of the Caribbean Information
Society, globalization is an important influence which could threaten
the cultural diversity of the region. Globalization also enables the
Caribbean Diaspora on a daily basis to access authentic information on
local culture and to interact regularly with local residents.

Our region, which is mainly composed of islands, is particularly open to
outside influences and we see evidence of positive and negative
impacts on forms of cultural expression local languages, music,
dance, story telling and possible loss of rituals, craftwork, and
generally knowledge of folklore and mythology.

Caribbean libraries offer new borderless cultural spaces where popular
and traditional cultural activities can be showcased, preserved and
transmitted to current and successive generations within and outside
the Caribbean.

The workshop will examine some experiences of Caribbean libraries in
preserving cultural diversity and enabling users locally and globally to
access and create content of cultural spaces. These will include:


Durrant












The National Reading Competition (Jamaica Library Service)
Jamaica Unshackled (National Library of Jamaica)

Presenters will be

Fay Durrant
Winsome Hudson
Karen Barton


Durrant










As we advance towards the Caribbean Information Society, it is useful

to consider the changes which are taking place the ways in which

Caribbean cultures may be changing, and the ways in which libraries

can protect and preserve the cultural resources developed or

generated by our communities.



The Unesco Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the

Diversity of Cultural Expressions describes cultural diversity as "the

manifold ways in which cultures of groups and societies find

expression". The Convention also supports the view that cultural

diversity is evidenced by expressions of cultural heritage of humanity,

and also through various forms of artistic creation, whatever the

means and technologies used.



The diversity of the Caribbean and its cultures is evidenced in

the varied origins of our peoples, and resulting merging of traditions

from regions including Africa, Europe, Asia, and The Middle East. Our

customs, folklore, mythology, music, dance, literature and other forms

of cultural expressions continuously influence the activities in the

global arena and are also impacted on by the global environment.

Diversity is also evident in the different classes and groups of people

which make up the societies of each country. Language, taste, accents,


Durrant










behaviour and other manifestations of class distinctions may also be

seen as contributing to the cultural diversity of the region.



The development towards the Caribbean Single Market and Economy

(CSME), greater regional integration and freedom of movement

between the participating countries is also likely to bring the

recognition of greater cultural diversity and perhaps homogeneity of

cultural norms.



The influence of Caribbean culture on the global arena is evident with

some outstanding examples including the Time magazine award to Bob

Marley's Exodus as the album of the twentieth century. Derek Walcott

and Vidia Naipaul have been awarded Nobel Prizes for literature. Other

products of Caribbean culture such as the steel pan created in Trinidad

and Tobago have been adopted and adapted in the Caribbean and in

other parts of the world.



The Caribbean Diaspora is referred to by Ho and Nurse as having

played a significant role in expanding the reach of cultural offerings.

They cite the acceptance of reggae and other genres of music by

Jamaican descendants in Britain as factors which contributed to the

validation of that music not only in the wider British community, but


Durrant










also back in Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean. Ho and Nurse

(p.xv) follow on points made by Stuart Hall, in recognizing that

"Caribbean popular culture continues to grow and thrive through

diasporisation and globalization". Kwesi Johnson who received the

Institute of Jamaica Musgrave Medal for poetry in 2006, has been

resident in Birmingham in the United Kingdom for most of his life but

still has his focus as the Jamaican and Caribbean topics and issues,

and makes a major contribution to Caribbean culture.



The annual Calabash Literary Festival which is taking place this

weekend in Treasure Beach, Jamaica has achieved worldwide

recognition and brings together people from "all parts of the West

Indies" from the Diaspora, and others interested in Caribbean

literature.



The Caribbean Diaspora therefore plays a significant role, as Caribbean

people in all points of the globe function as creators, adjudicators

reviewers, audience, and marketers for Caribbean cultural products.



Within this diversity of Caribbean culture, we may find that some of

the traditions and cultural icons which appear in the works of writers

such as Walcott and Brathwaite may be less evident in the public



Durrant 5










discourse and may be even be in danger of disappearing from daily life.

Anansi (or Anancy) is a well known folk hero who for centuries has

passed from generation to generation through stories, pantomimes,

and other forms of illustration. The origin of the Anansi legends which

are attributed by several cources to the Ashanti tribe, are traced to

other Akan groups and then to Jamaica, Suriname, and the

Netherlands Antilles. In Curagao, Aruba, and Bonaire he is known as

Nanzi, and his wife as Shi Maria.



The Moko Jumbi which appear in the folklore of Trinidad and Tobago,

and the Virgin Islands, are described by Susan Craig as "tall mythical

figures who dance between heaven and earth, bridging the distance

between these two realities. Children are often included in the dance,

raised up to the heavens so that they can understand human behavior

from the perspective of the spirit world."



In writing about the use of storytelling in addressing the literacy needs

of diverse learners, Craig identifies the Moko Jumbi stories, mainly

found in Trinidad and Tobago and The Virgin Islands, as a means of

using folklore to encourage active learning.


Durrant










Carnival provides another example of the adoption and adaptation of

cultural activities within the region and by the Caribbean Diaspora.

The Notting Hill Carnival in the United Kingdom, the Labor Day

Carnival in Brooklyn in the United States, and in more than 20 US

cities, and Caribana in Toronto, Canada, now recognizes as the largest

North American street festival,



Caribbean islands observe Carnival which has its origins in the

European Catholic tradition intended to 'say farewell to flesh". The

introduction of Carnival in Jamaica has had a number of variations and

influences. While the Trinidad Carnival has been the main impetus, a

Jamaican version has been adapted and now shows integration of the

Jonkonnu (or Jonkunnu) masquerade figures. Hilary Brown (p. 103)

suggests that "there have been several attempts to introduce various

Jamaican cultural markers," into the imported Carnival. She argues,

however, "that mas in Jamaica will not grow exponentially unless it is

predicated on the Jonkonnu ceremonies." This year some of the

Jonkonnu figures paraded in the Carnival and this development may

eventually satisfy Brown's concerns regarding the introduction of

Jamaican cultural markers, and the possibilities for exponential growth

of Carnival in Jamaica.


Durrant










Efforts at preservation of the history of the Jonkonnu are evidenced in

the documentation by the National Library of Jamaica of the

masquerade. This documentation shows Jonkonnu as having existed as

early as the beginning of the eighteenth century.



An examination of the evolution of Jonkonnu's evolution has Ird to the

discovery of several characters some of which may still be seen today.

The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), illustrates on

its website post emancipation figures which emerged from the local

environment, including African and Caribbean influences. These

figures which are posted over Christmas in Emancipation Park in New

Kingston include the Set Girls, Sailor, Policeman, Belly Woman, Wild

Indian, Devil, Horse Head, Cow Head, Jack in the Green and House

Jonkonnu. Recently the costumes of dancehall performers in Jamaica

have been influenced by the Jonkonnu costumes.



In Jamaica and in the Bahamas, there has been official efforts to

protect and preserve the knowledge and the experience of the

Jonkonnu. The JCDC has therefore been organizing an annual one day

public festival, while the Bahamian government instituted similar

measures to protect this phenomenon. (Bethel quoted by Brown

p.103)


Durrant












Today we see that the impacts and influences on Caribbean culture

have resulted in some changes in the knowledge available about some

cultural phenomenon. The development of the Information Society

and attendant globalization in some cases, encourages homogeneity

across cultures. While Caribbean singers may be commenting in song

and dance on local issues, they perform in costumes which are

sometimes influenced by the dress of Michael Jordan and other

basketball heroes.



The speed of communication across the region and across the globe

has of course been accelerated by the availability of Internet based

information services. Our region individuals, groups, businesses,

schools, churches now has the opportunity to act and react to global

and local events almost immediately. In Jamaica which aims to be the

"talk show" capital of the world, people from all parts of the world call

in and give their views on points under discussion. The Caribbean

newspapers are accessed on the Internet and therefore people from

outside the region can participate actively in debates on regional

issues. What do these developments mean for libraries in the

protection and preservation of Caribbean culture?


Durrant










Liberalization of telecommunications has been one of the results of the

movement to develop the Information Society. In the Caribbean we

have found in the past five years that new telecommunications

legislation has been passed in Jamaica in 2000, and later in in Trinidad

and Tobago, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), while

other several other countries are in the process of liberalizing

increased access to telecommunications facilities. The Internet at

lower cost is now possible.



The figures for Internet Usage in the Caribbean up March 31, 2006,

show that Internet penetration ranges from 56.2% in Barbados to

1.3% in Cuba.



INTERNET PENETRATION

At the high end above 30% At the low end below 15%

ARUBA 34.2% BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS 18.2%

BARBADOS 56.2% CUBA 1.3%

JAMAICA 39.6% DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 8.8%

ST LUCIA 32.0% HAITI 6.0%

ST VINCENT AND THE 6.4%

GRENADINES

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 12.1%


Durrant










Source Internet World Statistics 2006



Although Internet penetration is low in some cases, people in the

Caribbean can use the advances in information and communication

technologies and the availability of the Internet, to deliver information

services in a variety of ways. Libraries are now developing portals

which bring together information resources on specific topics and

which enable a user to do "one stop shopping". The website of the

libraries of the University of the West Indies provides a good example

of subject portals which libraries are developing.



Individuals and groups, who are users or potential users of library

services, have also been making innovative uses of the Internet.

Daniel Miller's research on the use of the Internet in Trinidad and

Tobago shows that there is an interesting dynamism in the way in

which the Internet is being used. Miller (p.38) found that "it is only on

the Internet that the complexity of modern relationships between

production and consumption, identity and space, achieve their genuine

apogee as an expression of modernity." In addition to use of the

Internet for consumption Trinidadians were found to have developed

an online community incorporating local residents, and members of

the Diaspora. This online community was found to facilitate "dextrous


Durrant










banter and flirtation that replicate online the ideal street corner

exchanges known as the "lime." The online discussion ICA-Caribbean

provides a good example of discussion of Caribbean issues by people

at home and abroad.



The Information Society is characterized by openness, greater

accessibility of printed and e-content, information overload and

increasing development of information services is also increasing as

the ability to incorporate e-commerce with information services, and to

profit from activities such as downloading webcasts, music, images etc.

Our libraries provide cultural spaces and information in a variety of

formats for the communities which they serve. Culture is therefore

transferred through these media including through story telling, games,

the stimulation of reading, and other interactions between the

librarians and the clients.



The National Reading Competition and the National Reading Fair which

were launched in 1988 and 1999 respectively are examples of the use

of cultural spaces to protect and preserve culture. The presentation by

Mrs. Karen Barton will outline the experience of the Jamaica Library

Service in this regard.


Durrant










The advances in digitization provide libraries with the means of

protecting and preserving various cultural forms and of making them

accessible to a wide audience. The borderless cultural spaces which

are being created by Caribbean presence on the Internet include the

work of the National Library of Jamaica in creating a digital cultural

space on Jamaican culture, and experiences. This will be presented by

Mrs Winsome Hudson.



CONCLUSIONS

Today's libraries are well placed to contribute to the protection and

preservation of Caribbean cultural diversity and cultural heritage. We

need to understand the variety of forces which can enable knowledge

and traditions to be carried across time and space within the region

and across regions. We see from the examples that libraries and

information services work in different ways to exhibit and support

cultural identity and diversity. There are also new opportunities

provided by the availability of Internet infrastructure and the

capabilities demonstrated by some groups in creating networks which

bring together people from all parts of the globe.


Durrant










REFERENCES


African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica
http://www.instituteofiamaica.org.im/ACIJ/acii main.html

Brown, Hilary Carnival as Lived Meanings In Globalisation, Diaspora
and Caribbean Popular Culture Edited by Christine G.T. Ho and Keith
Nurse, Kingston, Ian Randle Publishers, 2005

CARIFESTA Sept 22 October 2006 http://www.carifesta.net/

Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural
Expressions CLT-2005/CONVENTION DIVERSITE-CULT REV. Paris, 20
October 2005
http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001429/1429i9e.pdf

Craig, Susan et al Storytelling: addressing the literacy needs of
diverse learners
In Teaching Exceptional Children 33: 5, pp.46-51
http://journals.sped.org/EC/Archive_Articles/VOL. 33NO. 5MAYJUNE200
l_TECcraig.pdf

Globalisation, Diaspora and Caribbean Popular Culture
Edited by Christine G.T. Ho and Keith Nurse, Kingston, Ian Randle
Publishers, 2005.

Internet World Statistics. Internet Usage in the Caribbean.
www.internetworldstats.com

Jamaica Cultural Development Commission Jonkunnu Meet the
Characters http://www.jcdc.org.jm/jonkunnu_characters.htm

Marsh, Jesse B.T Cultural Diversity as Human Capital
http://www.terra-
2000.org/Documents/Praque/Papers/CUltural%20Diversity%20as%20
Human%20Capital.Ddf


Durrant




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