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Our angel has left us

Our angel has left us

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02.MAY.08

By Mrs Joan L. O’Garro, Director, Department of Libraries, Archives and Documentation Services, St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Let me extend to Rosanne and family our love and deepest sympathy from my own family, the staff of the Department of Libraries, Archives and Documentation Services and other colleagues in the library profession locally, regionally and internationally. They are too numerous to mention.{{more}}

It was a terrible shock to all who knew Mrs Small to learn of her death. It would have been so much easier if we were just told the news that Mrs Small had passed away or Mrs Small had gone to meet her maker. An angel has left us.

I began working at the Kingstown Public Library on August 1, 1978. Mrs Small was Chief Librarian then. Mrs Small knew the entire library upside down. She instilled in her staff that the library profession is just as important as any other profession, therefore we must act professionally.

Mrs Small was my mentor. She helped to nurture me. Today, I am presently the Director, Department of Libraries, Archives and Documentation Services. I am proud that Mrs Small was my teacher. I have learnt well. She was a good role model. The Library is the only place I have worked since 1978.

Mrs Small was a very spiritual person. She believed very strongly in prayers. Mrs Small also believed very strongly in morality; that is so lacking in our society today.

She was jovial, easy-going and soft-spoken. She was truly a people-person. She always had a smile for everyone. It was “Good Morning” or “Good Evening” as the case might be. She was always enquiring about the well being of others.

She was very dedicated. She was a disciplinarian, an educator, a supporter, a rehabilitator and, of course, a no nonsense person.

She had a wealth of knowledge especially when it came to knowing your country. She was a real local tourist. Don’t talk about knowing families. She was a professor in this area. Ask her about people, places and things, the information was there. She had a remarkable memory.

Mrs Small truly loved and gave her all to the development of Library Services in St Vincent and the Grenadines. She was a faithful stalwart in her profession.

From 1959 – 1990, she worked within the Library Service. In 1990 she retired as Director. But this was not the end of her involvement in the library. She was back on the library team this time as the Archivist. Her goal was to ensure that our heritage was preserved. The National Archives was started on December 5, 1990, the same year she retired as Director. Mrs Small was determined to ensure that the Archives came alive and grew. She retired as Archivist in 1996.

However, she still gave of her knowledge. She was kept up-to-date on what was happening in library development.

Last year, I got her to visit the New National Archives Building.

Mrs Small was very proud of the continued development of the Library Service in the field of technology in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

  • The Kingstown Public Library is fully automated
  • Internet for research purposes
  • Readers are using photo IDs at the library to charge and discharge books.
  • The National Archives is presently being re-located to its new building – a place to call home.
  • Proper facilities for some of our Branch Libraries have been accomplished. They are now housed in Learning Resource Centres (LRC) throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Kingstown Public Library had out-grown the Andrew Carnegie building since 1989. The Library is now housed in its present temporary location since 1990. The year 2009 will mark 100 years for the Andrew Carnegie building. The new Library building is expected to be completed in 2009. Mrs Small would have been very proud to know that the library is finally getting a permanent home.

My last conversation with Mrs Small was on April 16, 2008. She asked me to get some information for her. She was going to write about the Library. She requested that I leave the information at the Methodist Church Office. We had a very long conversation. I promised her that I would come and get her to visit the National Archives as soon as we are settled into the new building. But this is not to be. Do you know that the information is still at the Methodist Church Office? It will never be collected by her.

I never thought that it was the last time I would be speaking to Mrs Small. Our angel has left us. She was committed to her work. She has made an outstanding contribution to library development and also the establishment of the National Archives. As Director, Department of Libraries, Archives and Documentation Services, I will send a recommendation to the relevant authority that the entire Library Complex, when completed, be named in memory of Mrs Lorna Small.

THE LORNA SMALL MEMORIAL LIBRARY COMPLEX.

The work that Mrs Small accomplished in Library development in St Vincent and the Grenadines since 1959 is immeasurable. She has left a legacy that we will continue to develop at the Department of Libraries, Archives and Documentation Services.

Mrs Small is one of our unsung heroes.

Goodbye, Goodbye, my Colleague and Friend
We will always remember your beautiful smile.
Rosanne, We all share your loss
We will all miss her.
Farewell, Mrs Small

May you rest in peace.

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