Departments - The National Library of Jamaica

Our Departments

The National Library of Jamaica is divided into three main divisions namely: Corporate Services, Technical Services & Networks and User Services. The CEO/National Librarian Miss Beverley Lashley gives general oversight to Corporate Services, Ms. Nicole Bryan to Technical Services & Networks and Mr. Nicholas Graham to User Services. Below is a chart which highlights the divisional structure of the NLJ.





User Services

Audiovisual & Micrographic Services

The collection of the Audiovisual and Micrographic Services Department consists of several formats including:

  • Film
  • Audio Reel to Reel Tapes
  • Audio Cassettes
  • Video Cassettes
  • DVDs
  • CDs
  • Digital videos
  • New, Views and Interview


The National Library’s audiovisual collection is built through a variety of methods. Compliance with the provisions of the Legal Deposit Act by publishers/producers, results in at least one (1) copy of a CD or DVD being added to the collection.  The department relies heavily on donations from individuals who wish to make a contribution to the preservation of Jamaica’s history and culture. For example, one of the more extensive collections was donated by Wycliffe Bennett, noted theatre and broadcast icon.  The department also engages in partnerships with institutions such as the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) who entrusted to the NLJ a portion of their film collection dating from 1952-1992 and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) with whom the department entered into an agreement to digitize their videocassette collection in exchange for copies to be placed in NLJ’s collection.

Downloading from a variety of sources on the internet is yet another method of adding to the collection. Videos which include lectures, news and entertainment programs, culinary shows, vlogs, music videos, live concerts, book and poetry readings, have been downloaded. The collection has been organized in a variety of categories such as comedies, documentaries and interviews.


Department Contact: Ms Yulande Lindsay 

Research & Information

The Research & Information Department receives and processes all requests for information and assists its patrons in all aspects of library use.

Through the exploitation of technology, the Research & Information Department connects with individuals both locally and abroad, by establishing links via email and social media.

Equipped with a team of Librarians, Research Officers and Library Assistants, the department makes resources accessible online through the National Library of Jamaica’s website, by conducting research on a variety of topics relating to Jamaica’s history and culture. Working closely with other departments, the Research & Information Department does periodic website auditing to ensure the accuracy and currency of the information. The Department is also responsible for maintaining the Library’s Facebook page.

Another function of the Research and Information Department is to mount exhibitions on various aspects of Jamaica’s history and culture. Some of these have been posted on our website. See Online Exhibitions


Department Contact:           Ms. Bernadette Worrell

Preservation and Conservation

The National Library of Jamaica has responsibility for preserving, conserving and making accessible the nation’s documented heritage. The Preservation and Conservation department (formerly known as the Bindery) plays an integral role in making the nation’s history accessible. The main focus of the Bindery was to satisfy the general book binding needs of the Library. However, in the late 1980s, the department was introduced to the preservation and conservation aspects of paper-based materials.

Deterioration of the Library’s collection is caused by, incorrect temperature and relative humidity, pest infestation (such as silver fish and termites), natural aging and poor handling by users. Damaged items are checked by a librarian then sent to the Preservation and Conservation department for the necessary repairs to be done. The following items are the ones usually sent:

  • Books
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Newspapers
  • Photographs
  • Posters
  • Prints

Methods of conservation and preservation include the use of:

  • a Thermo-Hygrometer machine to monitor and record the temperature and relative humidity of the room so as to ensure that materials are stored in the right environmental conditions
  • sticky traps which are preventative tools used in the Integrated Pest Management system (IPM)
  • freezing which is a non-chemical method for fumigating materials
  • Japanese plain or colour tissues with wheat or rice starch paste, as well as Klucel-G coated tissue and alcohol to restore large maps and other documents
  • acid-free paper and boxes to store maps, photographs and prints
  • calcium hydroxide and the Bookkeeper de-acidification system which allow for books and manuscripts to be treated without having to take them apart.

The Preservation and Conservation Department also has overall responsibility for salvaging materials damaged as a result of disasters such as flooding, hurricanes and fires.

The members of staff in the department play a key role in assisting other departments of the Library to mount exhibitions.


Department Contact: Mrs. Nicole Prawl                 

Special Collections

This department is responsible for the management, organization and provision of access to the library’s irreplaceable collection. The special collections include manuscripts, maps, microfilms, newspapers, photographs, prints, programmes and postcards.

Since 2016, the department has begun entering cataloguing information on manuscripts, maps and postcards into WorldCat which is a catalogue of library collections from across the world. This catalogue is accessible to users worldwide.

Many of the collections in the department are fragile and so they need to be handled with extreme care. The Special Collections Department works closely with the Preservation and Conservation Department in ensuring the longevity of the items. Users of the Library are furnished with gloves for handling most of the items which make up the collections.


Department Contact: Mrs. Yvonne Fraser-Clarke


Technical Services & Networks


The main objectives of the Cataloguing Department are to:

  • organize the collections of the National Library of Jamaica by describing and providing subject analysis and access to facilitate speedy and effective retrieval
  • ensure the accuracy, and completeness of online and card catalogues
  • publish the Jamaican National Bibliography (JNB) which serves a list of publications (in any given year) about Jamaica, by Jamaicans published both locally and abroad. It also serves to publicize the holdings of the National Library and to aid other libraries with their acquisitions
  • provide Cataloguing-In-Publication (CIP) data service to publishers. CIP data is a bibliographic record that is created for a book not yet published. Once created, the publisher will print the CIP data on the verso of the book’s title page.

The National Library of Jamaica is the national centre which assigns ISSN (International Standard Serial Number). The Cataloguing Department is responsible for the management of (ISSN) activities.  ISSN is a unique 8-digit code used to identify all continuing resources, irrespective of their medium (print or electronic).

Another responsibility of the Cataloguing Department is to ensure the adherence to international standards by members in the Jamaica Libraries and Information Network (JAMLIN). The NLJ is the focal point for this network.

 Department Contact: Mrs. Maxine Jones  

Collections Development

The main objectives of the Collections Development Department (formerly Acquisitions Department) are to acquire:

  • All material (print and non-print and) published, issued or produced in Jamaica
  • Items published or produced by Jamaicans living abroad
  • Items published or produced abroad about Jamaica or Jamaicans

How does the National Library of Jamaica acquire materials?

There are three methods by which the NLJ acquire items for its collection – legal deposit, purchase and by donations. The Legal Deposit Act which came into operation October 11, 2004, is the main source by which many items are added to the collection. The Act states that states that “library matter of any kind, nature and description and includes any document, paper, record, tape or other thing published by a national publisher” should be deposited. Publishers are required to deposit two (2) copies of print documents and one (1) copy audiovisual items.

Members of the public are encouraged to build the national collection by making donations. Items which are exempt from the provisions of the Legal Deposit Act are acquired mainly from persons and organisations donating these items.  Listed below are some of the items listed in the Legal Deposit Regulations.

  • confidential documents;
  • diaries and calendars not containing any artistic or literary peculiarities;
  • documents distributed in Jamaica by private and religious organizations to a select group of persons and not intended for general public consumption;
  • documents embodying judicial, quasi-judicial or parliamentary proceedings
  • galley copies or manuscripts;
  • laws of Jamaica, including subsidiary legislation;
  • newsletters of local interest published by associations, employee groups, government department/parishes, schools or union locals;
  • photographs not published as a collection of works;
  • sound recordings that are only manufactured or distributed in Jamaica and that have no Jamaican content or major Jamaican contributor, that is to say, no Jamaican artist composer, conductor, narrator, orchestra, performer, producer or writer;
  • unpublished student reports: theses and other works produced to meet course requirements.

The Collections Development Department also has responsibility for the administration of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) programme. The purpose of the international standard is to coordinate and standardise the international use of ISBNs so as to identify uniquely, one publication or edition of a publication published by one specific publisher in one specific format.

The National Library of Jamaica is the only agency in the country which assigns ISBNs.


Department Contact:           Mrs. Monique Forgie-Scott

Information Network Systems

The strategic objective of the Information Network Systems Department is to develop, implement and manage information communications technology resources and solutions, for the effective operations and services of the National Library of Jamaica.

The department is responsible for:

  • planning, designing and implementation of the Local Area Network (LAN)
  • systems and network management
  • providing of Internet and Telecommunications services
  • providing user support services for all information communications technology (ICT) solutions implemented by the Library
  • maintaining and updating the Library’s website
  • producing and disseminating digital resources for Visually Impaired Persons (VIPs)
  • providing consultancy services to other libraries/Information Units in Jamaica in the management of Library Management Systems such as Winisis and KOHA which are  database software for information storage and retrieval.


Department Contact: Mr. Wayne Walker    

Digital Resources Development

The Digital Resources Development Department is dedicated to the development and preservation of digital library collections to support the advancement of research on Jamaica’s history, heritage and culture.  The department is mandated to digitise, catalogue and make available the resources of the National Library for use by current and future generation of researchers, and to as wide an audience as possible.

Apart from its regular programme of digitisation, the Department also provides on-demand digitisation service to support the activities of its customers here and abroad.

The National Library of Jamaica’s approach to digitisation of its collections is guided by its Digitisation Policy and Plan Framework. The rationale for the digitisation policy is to:

  • apply digitization technologies to advance the vision and mission of the NLJ
  • preserve rare and fragile resources
  • facilitate greater access to NLJ’s collections
  • facilitate access to a wider user community such as the print disabled
  • enable new ways of information retrieval
  • create new collections
  • develop best practices relating to digitization for adaptation by the JAMLIN
  • keep pace with worldwide technology developments and trends in libraries.

The digitization policy also sets the broad parameters for selection of existing resources for digitization in order of priority as follows:

  1. Preservation of fragile resources
  • Physical condition – For example, pages falling apart, brittle, browning/foxing
  • To satisfy request for material in poor physical condition

2. Uniqueness and/or rarity of material

  • the value added to relatively unknown material
  • the potential for advancing scholarship
  • historical and/or cultural significance of material

3. Digital Collection Development

  • User driven request
  • Request for loans/exhibitions
  • Partnership Agreements


Department Contact: Mrs. Janielle Wilson-Rowe


Corporate Services


The Accounts Department is charged with the responsibility of managing the financial affairs of the Library; this includes:

  • preparation and submission of the annual estimates of expenditure
  • managing expenditure in accordance with approved budgets
  • managing the Library’s investment portfolio to maximize returns
  • maintaining up-to-date records and reconciliations of all funds received and paid out
  • accurate and timely preparation of payrolls
  • ensuring the receipt, storage and reporting of all funds collected.

The department also ensures adherence to the regulations and guidelines of the Financial Administration and Audit Act, (FAA Act).


Department Contact: Mrs. Karren Leslie    

Human Resource Management & Administration

This department is responsible for the planning, directing and coordinating of human resource services, maintenance of buildings/properties and general office management services of the National Library of Jamaica. It carries out these functions through different strategies such as:

  • recruiting new staff and planning orientation programmes so as to ensure adherence to staff orders, staff guides and other regulations, procedures and policies
  • coordinating internal and external training programmes for staff
  • implementing and managing the Performance Management Appraisal System (PMAS) which is an appraisal system for public sector workers in Jamaica
  • ensuring insurance coverage for property, staff and public
  • ensuring that the Library is in compliance with industrial relations practices
  • ensuring that office equipment and building facilities are in optimum condition

The department carries out all its roles and functions in support of the vision, mission and organizational values of the National Library of Jamaica.


Department Contact: Mrs. Dionne Moiten