International Association
of School Librarianship

THE 1996 CONFERENCE
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
REPORT

Sustaining the Vision: School Library Imperatives for the 21st Century was the theme of the 25th Annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship, held 28 July through 2 August 1996 at the Renaissance Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Over 200 delegates from 21 countries attended workshops and seminars which were divided into sub-themes of:

  • The Vision
  • Expanding Educational Horizons
  • Information Literacy and Cultural Harmony
  • Caribbean Identity in Literature

The countries represented at the conference were:

  • Antigua
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

The conference was sponsored by the Jamaica Library Association and the Jamaica Library Service. Miss Gloria Clarke served as the Chair of the Conference Organizing Committee.

The Opening Ceremony began with the arrival of the Governor General of Jamaica, His Excellency the Most Honorable Sir Howard Cooke. The annual presentation of the country flags was followed by greetings from the Jamaica Library Association, the Jamaica Library Board, IFLA Schools Section, COMLA, UNESCO and the International Reading Association. Song and dance performances added a Jamaican flavour to the ceremony. Thirteen year old Raoul Cousley received a standing ovation for his rendition of the song "Give me Wings". The Hon. BurchellWhiteman, Minister of Education, Youth and Culture made encouraging remarks concerning the status of primary school libraries in Jamaica. The Governor General officially opened the conference.

Sessions for all attendees included Helen Stills, President of the Jamaica Teachers' Association, "Sustaining the Vision"; Dr Ken Haycock (Canada), "The Impact of Scheduling on Cooperative Program Planning and Teaching"; Madeline Hoss and Roslyn Wylie (USA), "Celebrating Diversity of Traditions by Bridging Cultures"; and Carol Coore and Everard Gowie, "Computers in Schools - Jamaica Computer Society Education Foundation Project". Concurrent presentations included Dr Sandra Olen (South Africa), "Will School Libraries all become Virtual Libraries"; Jack Stack, "The Combined School/Public Library Concept in the United States"; Dr Anne Clyde (Iceland), "IASL, School Libraries and the Internet"; Dr Diljit Singh (Malaysia), "The Teachers' Activity Centers in Malaysia"; Dr Recebba Knuth (USA), "Trends and Movements Within IASL, 1972-1996"; Cherrell Shelley-Robinson (Jamaica), "Voluntary Reading Interests and Habits of Jamaican Sixth Graders"; and Dr Joy McGregor (USA), "Student Research: Productive or Counterproductive?".

The annual Weston Woods Lecture was delivered by Isabel Gomez, Head Librarian at the Grange School and Professor of Library Studies at the Universidad Technologica Metropolitana in Santiago, Chile. Her paper, "Teaching for AV Media: A Challenge for Education", discussed the importance of the integration of all media formats into the learning process. World Book International sponsored a lecture delivered by Virginia Dike (Nigeria) entitled "Expanding the Educational Horizons of Nigerian Students". She is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Library Science at the University of Nigeria at Nsukka.

The 1996 IASL/SIRS International Commendation Award was presented to the Association for Teacher Librarianship in Canada for the publication Winners: Resource Based Units Cooperatively Planned by Teacher-Librarians and Teachers. Linda Knight, editor of the work, was present to accept the plaque and check for US $400. An Honourable Mention Certificate and a check for US $200 was awarded to the School Library Association of Queensland (Australia) for the project SLAQ Development Project: Subcommittee Expansion, Development and Support. SIRS Inc was represented at the conference by Eleanor Goldstein.

The 1996 IASL/Jean E. Lowrie Leadership Development Grant was awarded to Daisy Lake, Supervisor of School Libraries for the Ministry of Education in Antigua. Over the past seven years, the annual IASL Auction has been one of the sources to raise funds for this grant. This year's IASL Auction raised over US $1200 for the Support-a-Member fund, which pays for and/or subsidizes membership fees for individuals in developing countries who normally would not be able to afford membership fees,

The IASL/ Softlink 25th Anniversary Research Grant was awarded to Lyn Hay (Australia), James Henri (Australia), and Dianne Oberg (Canada) for their topic Principal's Role in Developing and Supporting an Information Literate School. US $1500 was granted by the library software company and its president, John Dunne, who is also a member of IASL. Softlink also made a presentation of a software system to a school in Jamaica.

Dr Jean E. Lowrie, retiring Executive Secretary, has served IASL for 25 years and was honoured with the publication and presentation of Sustaining the Vision: A Collection of Articles and Papers on Research in School Librarianship, edited by Laurel A. Clyde for IASL. The book contains 26 works from individuals in 10 different countries.

Other cultural and educational activities incorporated into the week of professional development included readings from Caribbean children's literature, visits to a variety of area schools, a visit to Dunns River Falls, a presentation of Jamaican videos for children, and a Silver Anniversary Banquet to close the conference.

The Board of IASL has approved the development of a new grant to be called the IASL/Murofushi Research Fund. The fund is named for Professor Takeshi Murofushi of the Asia University in Japan. Mr Murofushi has regularly donated funds to IASL including the presentation of a cheque for US $3000 at this year's Annual General Meeting. The first research grant from this fund will be awarded at next year's conference.

The membership has elected Dr Diljit Singh (Malaysia) as Director for the Pacific Region and has also reelected Mieko Nagakura (Japan) as Director for Japan/Asia. Both positions carry three year terms.

Reported by Peter Genco and reprinted, with permission, from the IASL Newsletter of October 1996.


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