A group of local software engineers has joined forces with the National Library Service to create an app which will enable Barbadians to access the services that libraries across the island offer online.
Speaking at the opening of a lecture and panel discussion entitled Digital Transformation: Re-Engineering Barbados, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, the Creative Economy and Sports, Jehu Wiltshire said the BarCode Network, the organisation responsible for the app, comprised over 100 people involved in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector who were giving back to Barbados by developing IT-based solutions for some of the dilemmas the island faced.
“As part of their collaboration with the National Library Service, the BarCode Network has consented to build a mobile app for the library. This will allow people to search our catalogue and reserve books, and it will provide a digital solution to complement the services we now offer. The Ministry envisions a modern library for the future. Budgetary constraints will put that on hold for now, but the acquisition of a simple website will allow the library to highlight its services and market them more effectively.”
In his speech, Wiltshire hinted that the old Carnegie Library Building on Coleridge Street, which has been out of commission for well over a decade now, would be coming back on stream as a state-of-the-art facility.
One of the reps from the BarCode Network Andre Haynes, outlined how the app was currently set up and spoke of future upgrades. “We have been working on this project for a few months now. The first version will, as the Permanent Secretary said, allow patrons to search the catalogue of books and reserve books online before setting foot in the library.
“When you select a book, you see where it is available across the branches of the library. Once it is available, you can click the ‘Reserve’ button and let the service know to keep it, then you can select the branch from which you want to pick it up. When you send your email to the Library Service, the app sends you back a reservation code, and you will have between 24 and 48 hours to pick up the book.”
The app also features “Books of the Week”, and when the library puts on displays of books on different occasions such as Black History Month and National Heroes Day, those displays will be highlighted as well.
The Permanent Secretary stated that the recent lecture was the first in a series of public forums it will hold in conjunction with the BarCode Network, and future events will include discussions on blockchain technology, cyber security, and coding classes. (DH)