The digitisation system was donated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and is comprised of a BookDrive DIY digitizer, four flat screen computer systems, a printer, server, two computer tables and two cameras. The entire package is valued at approximately $25,000.00
In a ceremony held yesterday, April 24 at the Road Town Branch of the Library Services, Mr. Larry Lyerly, Branch President of the Tortola Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints presented the system to the Library Services Department which falls under the umbrella of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Acting Deputy Secretary Mrs. Prudence Mathavious accepted the gift on behalf of Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn.
Mrs. Mathavious spoke to the importance of the system and how it will aid in the creation of a cultural heritage database for the Virgin Islands. She stated that the main objective of the project will be to digitise all the cultural and historical documents in the Caribbean Studies’ Unit.
“Not only will the digitisation of local materials enhance and increase the access to local information, but it will also preserve the original document by allowing less wear and tear,” adding, “Moreover, it allows libraries to protect the original document, as well as disseminate the protected information. It is with great pleasure that we accept the donation and pledge to utilise it fully.”
Mr. Lyerly spoke to the delicate condition of older documents and how this restricts access to such documents. He said these documents are often difficult to find, are in a very delicate condition and have to be handled in a particular way.
“This by its very nature makes access to documents very limited and to have them digitised virtually makes them available to anyone who wishes to access them. They can then be stored in their original form and because they are rare and fragile they can be safeguarded and protected and yet accessed by an unlimited number of people.”
He revealed that the funds for this project were donated anonymously and were allocated for use in the Virgin Islands.
“The funds that were assigned to this project actually came from an individual donor who remains anonymous. We do not know who that donor is. We do not know where they are located, but they made the donation, through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and I’m told they specifically said that they want this money to be used for a project in Road Town, Tortola.”
Chief Librarian Mrs. Suzanne Greenaway stated that as part of the agreement with the Church, the information gathered from the digitisation project would be accessible to the public free of cost. She noted that a similar project started before on a small scale which was accessible at only one computer but this system documents can be accessible throughout the library system.
The digitisation project started in 2012 in collaboration with Acting Chief Records Management Officer, Mr. Christopher Varlack and Elder Kip Hansen and Sister Arden Hansen of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The launch of this digitisation system will improve access to the Library’s documents as they conserve and preserve the cultural heritage of the Virgin Islands.
Library Week 2014 is being celebrated from April 20 to 26 under the theme “Public Libraries: Continuing to Build an Intellectual Virgin Islands in the 21st Century.