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 Background
 The national reading competiti...
 Conclusion
 Reference






Title: Workshop on Caribbean Libraries and the Protection of Cultural Diversity in the Information Society : the case of the Jamaica Library Service's National Reading Competition
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00083243/00001
 Material Information
Title: Workshop on Caribbean Libraries and the Protection of Cultural Diversity in the Information Society : the case of the Jamaica Library Service's National Reading Competition
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Barton, Karen
Publisher: Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries
Publication Date: 2006
 Subjects
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: Jamaica -- Caribbean
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00083243
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Table of Contents
    Cover
        Cover
    Background
        Page 1
    The national reading competition
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Conclusion
        Page 9
    Reference
        Page 9
        Page 10
Full Text










ACURIL CONFERENCE 2006


Workshop on
"Caribbean Libraries and Protection of
Cultural Diversity in the Information Society:
The Case of the Jamaica Library Service's
National Reading Competition




BACKGROUND
The Jamaica Library Service (JLS) was established as the national free public library system in
1948. Our vision is to "provide through the Public and Schools Library Network the best
Library Services possible, globally oriented, technology driven, anticipating, meeting and
exceeding the needs and wants of the communities and school populations served." This is
articulated through our mission which is the: "Transmission of knowledge through the promotion
of access to recorded information by way of a coordinated public and school library service."


The financing of the service is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Youth through
disbursements to the Jamaica Library Board. The Jamaica Library Board is the central statutory
body responsible for the island policy and the management and control of a coordinated library
service. The service is organized with the administrative headquarters in Kingston and a
network of service points throughout the thirteen parishes which are arranged in six regions. The
service is managed through two arms: The Public Library Network and the Schools Library
Network.


The Public Library Service Network comprises six hundred and five (605) service points with
services provided through parish libraries, branch libraries, mobile library stops, postal readers
and special services inclusive of hospital services, institutions and correctional services,
Children's Homes and Places of Safety.


The Schools Library Network serves nine hundred and twenty-seven (927) government schools
from Infant to Secondary/High schools.











The Jamaica Library Service as part of its mandate from the Ministry of Education and Youth
must meet the following objectives:


o Develop and implement programmes to raise literacy at all levels


Strengthen and promote cultural awareness


Consequently a number of programmes have been undertaken which help to preserve cultural
diversity. These include a variety of public education and cultural awareness activities, for
example, the annual Children's Summer Programme.


Our feature activity for this workshop, the National Reading Competition, is one such
programme which recognizes and promotes cultural diversity.


THE NATIONAL READING COMPETITION
The National Reading Competition was introduced in 1988 as part of the Jamaica Library
Service's 40th Anniversary celebrations. At that time it involved only the 9 11 age group.
Since then, the competition has grown to include additional age categories: 6 8 years old; 12 -
14 and an adult category comprising those who are 15 years and over. This year (2006) the adult
category has been divided into two namely 15 20 years and 21 years and over.











The Goals and Objectives of the Competition include:


0 Fostering and developing reading and comprehension skills
Cultivating an appreciation of books
o Encouraging the reading of a wide range of Literature including West

Indian Literature
O Promoting the library and information resources
o Developing a zest for achievement and life-long learning and love of

reading


How Does the Competition Protect Cultural Diversity?
The National Reading Competition protects cultural diversity in two main ways:


o Through the literature used in the Competition
o Through the National Reading Fair

* Through the prizes offered
* Through the social interaction of the participants


Literature Used
Every effort is made to have a good mix of literature which are appropriate,
of educational value and appeal to the particular age group. The books
cover a variety of settings and themes e.g. fantasy, folk-tales, classics and
adventure. Special consideration is given each year to the inclusion of
stories with Jamaican and or West Indian themes to aid in the preservation
of the local culture and with which readers can identify. Autobiographies of
local persons have also been included. This also serves to encourage local
writers and provide access to diverse cultural expression within the country.











The Adult Competition especially has included mainly West
Indian/Jamaican titles as a means of promoting this part of our collection
and encouraging the protection of our cultural diversity.


The participants are also exposed to the cultural diversity of other countries
through the books used in the competition, for example:
"Suki's Kimono" by Uegaki Chieri gave exposure to Japanese
Culture
"Baba Yaga: a Russian Folktale" by Eric Kimmel
"Mufaro's beautiful daughters: an African tale" by John Steptoe
"Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Acheba gives an insight into African
culture
"I Know why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou a black
American
"Lonely Londoners" by Samuel Selvon speaks to life in Britain


National Reading Fair
Since 2004 a National Reading Fair has been held in the capital city, to
showcase the Parish and National Champions in the Reading Competition
and to further promote the importance of reading. Activities include, a float
parade of champions, lead by marching bands with drummers, exhibitions
by sponsors, publishers and booksellers and also includes storytelling,
reading by noted local authors and a concert featuring some of Jamaica's
artistes and others involved in the creation of cultural expressions.


Storytelling sessions are usually done by local professional storytellers and
librarians. These stories are usually Anancy Stories which feature "Breda
(Brother) Anancy" a local folk hero and also "Duppy Stories (Ghost Stories)
which are a vibrant part of our culture. However stories from other cultures
are also featured.











The readings by noted local authors not only serve to bring local literature to
the fore but also serves to encourage writing and publishing among local
authors.


Prizes
A variety of prizes are offered. These include cash, trophies, trips to local
resorts and Caribbean destinations, books and other items which are
largely provided through sponsorship. Prize winners have been afforded
visits to Antigua, Barbados, Curaco and Florida. These prizes therefore
help to support openness and respect for cultural diversity.


Social Interaction of Participations
The competition brings together participants from various backgrounds-
urban rural areas, different social status and varying ethnic origins. This
serves to heighten the participant's awareness of local cultural diversity
and they learn how to interact and develop respect for persons of different
cultures.
Design and Implementation of the Competition
The National Reading Competition Committee established by the Jamaica
Library Service is comprised of librarians within the organization who plan
and organize the competition each year. Every effort is made to involve
participation for all levels island-wide. The competition is organized in
three stages over a five month period ---- April to August annually. All
competitors must be registered members of the library.


Stage 1
Competitors at individual service points (branch libraries and mobile library
stops) are required to read specific titles and undergo written and oral
testing.


Stage 2











First place winners at each service point within each age group move to the
second level of the competition and vie against each other to determine the
Parish champions. Testing at this level is modeled off the National
Competition. The Parish winner in each category then moves on to
participate in the national event.


Stage 3
The National Finals involves parish winners in each category. National
Champions in each category are determined by the highest scores achieved
from a series of written tests. Marks are carried forward to the national quiz
finals taped in the studios of Television Jamaica (TVJ).


Testing Methods
To determine the winner in each category a variety of testing methods are used
namely:


O Letter writing for the youngest age group to tell about stories read

and indicate which ones were favourites and why.
o Crossword Puzzles clues extracted from books read
Rewriting of story endings from excerpts from books
O Oral quizzes administered with buzzer system to determine first

person to answer. This has heightened the levels of excitement and
drama of the competition.


Judging of the Competition
Judging at all stages of the competition involves individuals who are
independent of the organization such as authors, educators and librarians.
Guidelines are prepared for Judges.















Evaluation of the Competition
The competition is evaluated at two levels:


1 Judges'Report
At the end of each annual competition the main judges at the national finals
prepare a Judges' report which examines titles used, performance of participants
and levels of response to the testing methods used.


2 Evaluation by Parish Champions
Each parish champion is asked to complete an evaluation instrument.


These provide valuable information in the planning and preparation for an
improved programme each year.


Promotional Strategies Employed
In order to promote the programme a number of strategies have been used:
O National Media Launch at the start of the Competition period
o Parish Champions feted at special luncheon with sponsors and

other persons
0 Telecast of National Finals on Television Jamaica (TVJ)
o Oral book reviews by selected Parish Winners which are part of

the final telecast
Motorcades in the community in which the national champions

live and at the capital city


0 Courtesy calls on important community figures for example, the

Governor General, the Custos and the Mayor
0 Publication of profiles of past champions in national newspapers
Participation of television viewers who send text messages via











cellular phones in order to win prizes for correct answers to trivia
questions asked during the telecast
0 Television interviews on popular television programmes with

national winners and librarians
0 Participation of winners in various library functions held

throughout the year


Outcomes and Impact
0 Champions have excelled in their various fields of endeavour for example
champions have received scholarships in the Grade Six Achievement
Test for entry to High Schools, two national winners have gone on to
be Rhodes Scholars namely: Gyanprakash Ketwaroo, Jamaica
Rhodes Scholar 2001, who pursued his studies at the Department of
Chemistry, Oxford University and Chantal Ononaiwu, a former
national champion in the 9 11 age group, Jamaica Rhodes Scholar
2004, who is now pursuing her doctoral degree.
D Increased media and public interests in the organisation and the
competition
0 Increase in the number of participants annually (1,719 in 2005)
E Increase in popularity and circulation of titles used in the competition
D increased support from school principals and teachers for the competition
0 Increase in book donation form companies to support the competition. In
2004, sixteen thousand, eight hundred and forty (16,840) donations and in
2005, forty-two thousand, and fifty-one (42,051) donations
D Increase in the number and level of sponsors and sponsorship eg. Cable
and Wireless Jamaica Foundation sponsorship in 2005, totaled
$1,000,000.00; Kingston Book Shop $1,000,000.00, other sponsors
include Television Jamaica Limited, British West Indian Airways
(BWIA), Air Jamaica, etc.
O Increasing variety of attractive prizes
0 Wide cross section of library readers participate











0 Great interest in replicating the programme nationally and internationally


CONCLUSION
The National Reading Competition has had a significant impact in the country as an
increasing number of exciting participants and sponsors come on board annually. A
wide cross section of library readers become involved due to the nature of the
competition involving age groups from six (6) years old to the oldest possible and from
every service point island-wide.


This competition therefore effectively promotes and preserves openness and respect for
cultural diversity through the literature use, the reading fair, the prizes offered and the
social interaction of participants.
























REFERENCES


Jamaica Library Service. Jamaica Library Service, Kingston: JLS, 2006











0 Great interest in replicating the programme nationally and internationally


CONCLUSION
The National Reading Competition has had a significant impact in the country as an
increasing number of exciting participants and sponsors come on board annually. A
wide cross section of library readers become involved due to the nature of the
competition involving age groups from six (6) years old to the oldest possible and from
every service point island-wide.


This competition therefore effectively promotes and preserves openness and respect for
cultural diversity through the literature use, the reading fair, the prizes offered and the
social interaction of participants.
























REFERENCES


Jamaica Library Service. Jamaica Library Service, Kingston: JLS, 2006











Jamaica Library Service. The National Reading Competition, Kingston: JLS, 2006


Jamaica Library Service. Jamaica Library Service Annual Report 2004-2005. Kingston:
JLS, 2005.




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