Cooperation between libraries and knowledge centres on Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten, , Bonaire, St.Eustatius, Saba and in Suriname took a big step forward with the establishment of the Dutch Caribbean Library Association. The library association was formally established during the fourth Dutch Caribbean Library seminar, which took place March 14-16 in Paramaribo, Suriname.
The association focuses on a broad spectrum of issues. Not only are the public and academic libraries of the Dutch Caribbean involved, but also information policy departments of various government entities, as well as the law libraries of the Courts of Justice of the countries.
The first board of the new association comprises Philipsburg Jubilee Library Director Monique Alberts (president); Director of the Library of Anton de Kom University in Suriname Jane Smith (vicepresident); Director of the National Library of Aruba Astrid Britten (secretary); information specialist at the Central Bureau for Statistics in Curaçao Harely Martina (treasurer); and library coordinator of University of Aruba Leonie Peterson (board member).
Main objectives of the Dutch Caribbean Library Association are to facilitate development and use of libraries, archives and other information centres, and to preserve the written cultural heritage of the Dutch Caribbean.
During the three-day seminar in Suriname, presentations were given by Peter Hessels of Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam; Marian Koren, representing Dutch Library Platform FOBID; and two representatives of Window Adapted Reading (Loket Aangepast Lezen) in The Hague, which provides services for persons with reading disabilities. Following these presentations, the group of 60 participating librarians and other information professionals worked for three days on a strategic plan and other policy documents of the new association.
In the coming year the association is to fortify its position by recruiting sponsors and new members. Persons and institutes interested in joining or supporting the association can contact DCLA President Monique Alberts by e-mail director@stmaartenlibrary. org or phone 542-2970.