The University of Guyana [UG] library is poised to become a hub for learning and innovation. Moreover, the Caribbean Development Bank [CDB] has not been opposed to lending financial support to the national university to realise this goal. Representatives of UG and CDB at a simple ceremony in the Vice Chancellery, UG Turkeyen Campus, announced that a grant of US$149,985 [approximately $30M has been approved to bring to fruition the construction of a new library.
With modern designs, the library, which will be situated on a plot of land west of the current library, will see a contribution from Government and UG amounting to approximately US$26,000 [$5.2M] towards the project. Speaking on behalf of CDB yesterday, Director of Economics, Dr. Justin Ram, described the support to the library as yet another initiative of the bank to collaborate with UG and by extension, Guyana. Dr. Ram noted, “CDB is pleased to be supporting Guyana in making progress on Goal Four as outlined in the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda – ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting life-long learning.”
Even as he labelled the Technical Assistance Grant as another milestone in the bank’s partnership with the Government of Guyana and UG, Dr. Ram noted that recently the bank had made available another grant to the university to enhance a regulatory framework to improve its operation. “[Yesterday] announcement signals that this institution is one step closer to the construction of a new library, towards improving the quality of education this campus delivers,” said Dr. Ram.
Through funding from the CDB grant a comprehensive assessment will be undertaken to determine the adequacy and suitability of the current infrastructure. Dr. Ram said that final designs and cost estimates for the new library will be prepared. But according to him, “We are optimistic that this process will place the university further along the path to having new facilities that are environmentally resilient, socially inclusive and a place of study and life-long learning for the men and women who attend this institution.”
According to Deputy Vice Chancellor Barbara Reynolds, the library project, which commences immediately, will be done in two phases, the first of which will be completed within seven months. Regarding the old library, Reynolds said that moves will be made to assess its structural integrity and “providing it is structurally robust then the sensible thing to do will be to repurpose it.” According to Dr. Ram, the decision to invest in the new library was nestled in the realisation that a library is important to the lives of students.
“Libraries boost learning outcomes, providing the resources students’ need to achieve success in their course work. Libraries open access to students from vulnerable socio-economic context who otherwise would not be able to afford; they can lay the foundation and provide a safe space for the pursuit of innovative ideas that can transform, not only Guyana, but our Region and our World,” said Dr. Ram. The move towards a new library comes against a backdrop of a UG library that has been fraught with many deficiencies over the years.
Even as he expressed appreciation for the support, UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith said, “We are all anxious to move the process with alacrity so that we can access the funding to start the various components of what we envisage, things that will be helpful to this university.” Once completed, the new library will include a number of modern amenities complete with a layout that incorporate collaborative as well as independent spaces, according to Chief Librarian, Ms. Gwyneth George. She informed that reading rooms in the new library will have a structure unlike the old library and, “we want to incorporate the technology in such a way that we create learning and creative spaces.”
Article adapted from: https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2018/03/01/cdb-grant-to-help-fund-modern-ug-library/