Library launches revamped website and audiovisual archive

POSTED: 10/28/11 11:32 AM

St. Maarten – The Philipsburg Jubliee Library launched its revamped website – – and was presented with DVDs with the first five years of Profiles of the Windward Islands on Thursday afternoon. The presentation of the DVDs was done by the show’s two producers Dwight Barran and Franklin Brison, who worked together on the show beginning in 1979.

One of the key features of the new website to the e-library which allows users to access the library’s entire catalog of books and to check on the status of books and other materials they’ve borrowed, requesting extensions on borrowed books, putting a hold on a book or material and send the library suggestions and questions. This section of the site also includes a recommended reading section, itemized reports and the reading list for students at the Milton Peters College. Some features in the e-library are accessible to all users, but others are accessible only to members who log in using a pre-assigned code.
The library’s revamped website was built by a company called Litemoon using the same technology that is be used by the United States government and in such a way that library staff can update it themselves. Those who do will first have to watch a video tutorial that’s been posted on Youtube that walks them through the steps. The site has been optimized for search engines and for viewing by people who have tablet P.C.s and smart phones.
The re-launched site also hosts a blog that will allow the library to share information and to update the community on their events, which are also being posted on the library’s Facebook page. There is an auto expire feature in the backend of the site that will automatically remove events once the date has passed. The site will also have book features, allow people to post things from the site on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. There is also an auto archive function for the posts to the website and an RSS feed, which mobile phone users can sign up for.

Litemoon delivered the site at a discounted price and the costs were covered by the Friends of Library, which is headed by the library’s former director Blanca Hodge.
“To us a website is a very important P.R. tool. We’ve actually had one since 1997, but we had a wish for a new one and we hope the public will now make great use of our new website,” the current library director Monique Alberts said.
Litemoon’s representative at the launch Birgit Röthel said they contributed to the project because they found it interesting and wanted to give something back to the country’s young people.

Archive Material
The presentation of the DVDs of Profiles of the Windward Islands is part of a wider digitization project, which was financed for 70 percent by the Mondriaan Foundation. They decided to sponsor the project based on letters of support from Petra Ploeg, Walter Hellbrand of St. Eustatius -, former civil servant and author Louis Duzanson, current civil servant in the government’s archive department Alphonso Blijden and from Alberts.
The 180 DVDs delivered Thursday cover the show from its launch in 1979 to 1989 and the collection covers a variety of topics. These include culture, religion, politics, hurricanes and severe weather and nature sites.
“It’s a lot of work but we’ve almost completed it. I thought about putting the archive at the museum but then I thought that library is the right place for it, because then it can go alongside books and other publications about St. Maarten. I really hope that especially St. Maarten students will make use of the archive,” Barran said.

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