~ At Acuril conference in Haiti ~
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – At the annual conference of the Caribbean Library Association Acuril that took place in Haiti last week, St. Maarten Library Director Monique Alberts was recognized by her fellow professionals for her “excellent leadership in developing avant-garde programs at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) to serve and satisfy the diverse needs of its clientele.”
The Caribbean Information Professional award is the highest annual recognition bestowed by Acuril on a member of the Caribbean community of librarians, archivists and museum professionals. It was the first time the Caribbean Information Professional distinction was granted to a librarian from the Dutch Caribbean.
Acuril President Elizabeth Pierre-Louis referred to Alberts’ long-standing reputation as an organizer and innovator in the Caribbean library community.
In her acceptance speech, Alberts stressed the importance of Caribbean cooperation in the field of libraries and information specialists, with special attention to the needs of education at all levels, and the incorporation of modern technology. She further thanked several of her colleagues and predecessors that inspired, coached and collaborated with her through the years, such as former PJL Director Blanca Hodge, an active Acuril member in her time.
At the same conference, Alberts held a presentation entitled: “Promoting Media literacy in Dutch Caribbean Libraries: The Digikidz Media Lab St. Maarten.” In this presentation, Alberts gave an overview of the history and workings of PJL’s Media Lab, which came about through a Digikidz project funded by the Foresee Foundation. The Media Lab aims to create a physical space where adults and children can get to know the latest technologies in a responsible way. By now, groups of all ages from school children to senior citizens take part in workshops that make them comfortable with 21st century technologies and means of communication.
The presentation contained several short films made in the Media Lab by St. Maarten primary and secondary school students, which were met with great enthusiasm by the Acuril audience.
Furthermore, the presentation announced the plan to turn the Media Lab into a “Maker Lab” under the name “Digiwork.” A Maker lab is a space where children and adults can create, invent and learn using modern technology. To this end, a 3D-printer and other materials for scientific exploration will be installed later this year, making the PJL the first library in the Caribbean to include this kind of facility.