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Manchester Parish Library turns 80

Monday, January 01, 2018

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — A church service on Sunday, January 21, is among a year of activities planned to mark the founding of Manchester Parish Library.

According to historical data, the Manchester Free Library (where no subscription fees were paid) began in 1938 and then transitioned as the Manchester Parish Library.

Also on the schedule of celebratory activities is an awards ceremony for 80 Manchester residents and organisations that have made contributions to the library's development; an open day to showcase the work of the library service; a newspaper supplement and outside broadcast; a Reading Flash Mob featuring impromptu reading in various locations across the parish; a Read-a-Thon in children's homes; and rehabilitation of the Manchester Parish Library's Cultural Centre — the Cecil Charlton Hall.

In a presentation at a recent meeting of the Manchester Municipal Corporation, Lorraine McLean, who is the director for the Jamaica Library Service in Region 5 (Manchester and St Elizabeth), pointed out that Cecil Charlton, the late long-serving mayor of Mandeville, was also chairman of the Manchester Parish Library Committee.

She said that Charlton served a total of 40 years on the committee and was the longest-serving chairman in the history of the Jamaica Library Service.

McLean noted that ties between the library service and local authorities have weakened over the years, although municipal corporations across the island are still represented on library committees, which add to the management structure of each parish library

“In celebration of the 80th anniversary, we are delighted to invite the (Manchester) Municipal Corporation to renew its commitment to a mutually beneficial relationship between the (Manchester) Parish Library and the corporation,” she told councillors and staff at the meeting of the Manchester Municipal Corporation.

Mayor of Mandeville Donovan Mitchell made a presentation of $100,000 towards the upcoming celebrations on behalf of the Municipal Corporation.

In addition to the Manchester Parish Library in the capital town of Mandeville there are 12 branch libraries across the parish.

The meeting also heard that the Manchester Parish Library is older than the Jamaica Library Service, which marks its 70th anniversary this year.

McLean said that there may be some joint celebratory activities.

— Alicia Sutherland