Renaissance Aruba Convention Center

The Closing Ceremony of ACURIL 2019 ARUBA was held on Thursday, 6 June 2019, at the Main Hall of the Renaissance Aruba Convention Center.

The event, led by Executive Secretary Luisa Vigo-Cepeda, was initiated with Mrs. Astrid Britten’s Message, Coordinator of the Local Organizing Committee and Director of the Biblioteca Nacional Aruba.

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Good evening Acurileans, distinguished guests,

How fast has this week gone by! But what a week it was. We have learned so much, we shared a lot. We are leaving here today with a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

We are reminded to never lose the human touch, regardless of our level of success in our institution. Teamwork makes us happy… we need to stay connected to this mission and the role we play in our working environment. Why? Because ‘team’ is bigger than each of our individual selves!

That is exactly what organizing this ACURIL Conference was about. It is appropriate to recognize the individuals who worked intensively to achieve this, my LOC-staff. To start, my right hand, co-chair, Mrs. Lourdes (Des) Croes along with colleagues Mrs. Lilian Semeleer, Mrs. Gina Jie-Sam-Foek, Mrs. Zetsia Ponson and Mr. Peter Scholing. They must be acknowledged for their passion and dedication in making this conference a success.

I would also like to thank all the other co-workers, too many to recognize all individually, but they are nevertheless appreciated for their hard work and commitment in organizing ACURIL 2019 in Aruba. I also would like to express my gratitude for the support received by of our Minister of Education, Science and Sustainable Development, Dr. Armando Rudy Lampe and the Government of Aruba in this matter. And not to forget Executive Secretary of ACURIL, dr. Luisa Vigo-Cepeda and the Acurilean Executive Secretariat Technological Team.

The conference had an attendance 200, of which:

  • International participants and vendors 140,
  • Local participants 60.

Top three of the international participants: Dominican Republic 14, Trinidad & Tobago 14, Puerto Rico 12.

I also want to make a special mention of two very special participants this year, Ms. Ana Olivia Marin-Gómez from Venezuela and Mme. Marie Francoise Bernabe from Martinique, two long time Past Presidents.

The President of ACURIL 2018-2019, Mrs. Monique Alberts, had a great theme for this year’s conference and was well accepted; Access and Opportunity for all: Caribbean Libraries, Archives and Museums: Supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

With this mindset, we will hopefully stay connected on “Working together… Growing together… Achieving together”.

From the One Happy Island Aruba we will travel to Beautiful Bahamas in 2020.


Astrid J.T. Britten

Award of Appreciation from the ACURIL 2019 ARUBA Local Organizing Committee

Recognition was made to Luisa Vigo-Cepeda and theTechnological Team: Jeannette Lebrón-Ramos, Gretchen Carrasquillo-Ramos and Mario Torres-Ramos, for their valuable support to the 49th ACURIL Conference held in ARUBA.

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ACURIL bestowed Awards of Excellence in ACURIL 2019 ARUBA to Astrid Britten, Chair of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC); Lourdes Croes. Co-Chair of the LOC, and Lillian Semeleer, Chair of the Finance Committee. It also distinguished members of the Core Group for their commitment and extraordinary endeavor in ACURIL 2019 ARUBA.
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Dear Acurileans and other Distinguished guests,

I have come to the end of my journey as your ACURIL President 2018-2019 and as the other past presidents can confirm the Presidency was a time and energy consuming learning experience. I think we all learned a lot at ACURIL 2019.

Professor Jesus Lau enlightened us about the relationship between information skills , food security, and poverty alleviation. He even gave us the assignment to come up with creative ideas for initiatives at our own library to work on the first two Sustainable Development Goals.

Maaike Toonen showed us how the Dutch libraries work on improving the basic skills of vulnerable groups in their society.

Minister Alcala Wallee, not only honored us with her presence during the entire conference but also presented her insights on the importance of literacy.

Minister Lampe gave us a sneak preview on his plans to introduce a circular economy on Aruba.

Jemi Laclé, a young Aruban professional, explained to us the importance of stories and storytelling through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy she met in Ethiopia. As well as how libraries are important community hubs.

In an expressive presentation in which he quoted poetry from Derek Walcott, spoke Creole and danced on the stage keynote speaker Laurent Jean Pierre convinced us of the urgency of climate change and adopting a simple lifestyle to save our planet. “ The ship is sinking and all we do is rearranging the furniture on the deck!”.

And last but not least, Professor Cees Hamelink boosted our moral with his inspirational talk about the importance of dialogue, cooperation and libraries as sanctuaries for authentic communication.

In between all this, we learned about Aruba’s culture and history through the various social and cultural event organized by the Local Organizing Committee.

I think I can speak for all of us if I say that this conference changed our perspective on our profession and maybe even our perspective on our own lives.

For me, personally, the putting together of this program was a life-changing experience. Working on the program while moving to another island and getting used to managing a new library was energy consuming.

The months, March and April, were particularly difficult for me because my car was stolen and my apartment was broken into. Of course, these two events were emotionally straining.

But as the scripture says: “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us“, and I strongly believe in the power of prayer. And with the support of the ACURIL community, I was still able to put together this conference program: Access and Opportunity for all: Caribbean Libraries, Archives, and Museums: Supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

There are several persons I would like to thank. Astrid Britten who has been a friend for many years and motivated me to become President . She also provided her input in the program. Des Croes who worked day and night to put together a well designed program book as well as the Cultural event in San Nicolas. Peter Scholing and his team who provided technical assistance during the entire conference. The ladies who kept the secretariat running. Lilian Semeleer, Sophiene Maduro and Gina Jie Sam Foek and many other former colleagues from Biblioteca Nacional Aruba.

This conference would not have been possible without the ACURIL Secretariat. In the first place our Executive Secretary Dr. Luisa Vigo-Cepeda, who keeps things running. But we should not forget about Almaluces Figueroa, our Treasurer, who makes sure that our finances are in order and always prepares our financial reports on time; and Gretchen Carrasquillo-Ramos and Jeanette Lebrón-Ramos who provided technical assistance on the background.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

My wish for the ACURILEANl family is that we stay strong against all lies fiction and “ alternative truths” that seem to rule our world nowadays.

We should remain a learning community so our libraries will forever be sanctuaries for authentic communications!

Thank you all for your support and the trust you put in me throughout my Presidency!

Monique Alberts

ACURIL President 2018-2019

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Outgoing President Monique Alberts received the ACURILEANA, The Medal of Excellence, from Executive Secretary Luisa Vigo-Cepeda, and other ACURILEAN Symbols from two other Past Presidents, Shamin Renwick. and Jane W. Smith, representing Membership.
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The Change of presidency took place and Monique Alberts, Outgoing President, presented Berthamae Walker, with the gavel to lead ACURIL’s new directions.

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Immediate Past President Monique Alberts, esteemed members of the Executive Council, specially invited guests, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, ACURILEANS all, good evening.

I stand before you this evening in disbelief and in awe. Disbelief in that never in my wildest dreams did I envisioned standing before you as the 50th President of ACURIL.

All I ever wanted in my professional life, was to be the best that I could be and that in so doing, advance my profession. Well, like my ever so wise mother would say, be careful what you wish for! So I can only believe that this milestone, is a manifestation of my “wants” for my professional life.

I am in awe, realizing the enormity of the position of President, and also by the fact that I have you as my mental and professional support. This Presidency is not about me or the Executive Council, or any other sub-group of this association. This Presidency is about all of us, working together to make a difference in libraries, archives, museums and other information institution in the region, and by extension, the world.

ACURIL has come a long way since 1969 but we still have an even longer way to go. It cannot be sustained or grow without your support. So I want to encourage each of you to lift your voice and be heard. Let us not settle for business as usual, but instead, be deliberate in our actions to make this association one of the best in this hemisphere. Let us “Connect, Communicate and Contribute”.

So, in the midst of the “awe” and the “disbelief”, I give thanks to my God for directing my path and who is the ultimate source of my strength. I give thanks to my family for their unwavering support; to my fellow Bahamian Past Presidents of ACURIL, Willamae Johnson and Dorcas Bowler for showing me “possibilities”; To the Executive Council members of ACURIL, you are awesome! You have encouraged me in my moments of doubt and was always available in my times of need. You are appreciated! Thank you so much.

In 2020, we as an organization will celebrate a very significant milestone in the history of this association – the 50th annual conference of ACURIL! This conference will be held in Nassau, The Bahamas, June 7 – 11, 2020 at the Beach Hotel, at the Atlantis, Paradise Island Resort. I welcome suggestions on how you would like to celebrate this milestone. After all, this is all about “us”!

In 2020 we will continue the theme of innovation as we explore the concept of “Design Thinking” and its applications for libraries, Archives and Museums. As many of us are in phases of rethinking and rebuilding physical and technological structures, I believe that this theme will open our minds to new possibilities and innovative futures, propelling us far beyond 21 century possibilities.

I look forward to your participation via presentations, posters, workshops, discussions, etc. as we celebrate 50 years.

Ladies and Gentlemen, It will be my pleasure to welcome you to the Bahamas. As our Ministry of Tourism’s slogan goes, “Its better in the Bahamas”!

Thank you, be blessed & good evening.

Berthamae Walker

ACURIL President 2019-2020

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The Executive Council Members 2019-2020 are:

  • Dr. Berthaae Walker, President, Represeinting the University of the Bahamas Libraries ;
  • Anne Pajard, Vice President/President Elect. Representing the University of the Antilles Libraries (Martinique);
  • Monique Alberts, Representing the Mongui Maduro Foundation Library (Curaçao);
  • Dr. Luisa Vigo-Cepeda, Executive Secretary (Graduate School of Information Sciences and Technologies, University of Puerto Rico;
  • Almaluces Figueroa-Ortiz, Treasurer (Caribbean Regional Library and Latin American Studies, University of Puerto Rico);
  • Dr. Ardis Hanson, Parlamentarian (Shimberg Health Sciences Library, University of South Florida);
  • Cheryl Peltier-Davis, representing Alma Jordan Library;
  • David Drysdale, representing University of Technology Library, Jamaica;
  • Dr. Dulce María Nuñez de Taveras, representing Programa de Bibliotecología y Ciencias de la Información, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, República Dominicana;
  • Erick Toussaint, representing Fokal Library, Haiti;
  • Nitzah Jacobus, representing Biblioteka Nasional Kòrsou
  • Jeannette Lebrón-Ramos, ACURIL Puerto Rico Chapter
  • Nicholas Graham, representing Library and Information Association of Jamaica
  • Gretchen Carrasquillo-Ramos, Personal Member
  • Luis Joel Crespo-González, Personal Member

Special Guests

  • Astrid Britten, representing Biblioteca Nacional Aruba
  • Kumaree Ramtahal
  • Héctor Rubén Sánchez, Law Library, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico
  • Carmen Santos-Corrada, Conrado Asenjo Library, University of Puerto Rico
  • Dorcas Bowler, Bahamas National Library and Information Services
  • Elizabeth Pierre-Louis, Fokal Library
  • Jane W. Smith, Anton de Kom Library, Uiversity of Suriname
  • Mario Torres-Ramos, Library System, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus
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Because this ACURIL 2019 ARUBA Conference has been a most successful learning experience due to the support of dedicated, collaborative and supporting colleagues, ACURIL thanks :

  • The Ministry of Education, Science and Sustainable Development of Aruba ;
  • The Biblioteca Nacional Aruba ;
  • The Local Organizing Committee, Institutions,

and All collaborators that have contributed with the Local Organizing Committee to make of this ACURIL 2019 a most successful one ;

  • The Sponsors : EBSCO, Dot.Lib, Wolters Kluwer, BMJ and OCLC;

  • The Local Sponsors : Government of Aruba, Aruba Tourism Authority, Setar, Aruba Investment Bank, VNO – Representative of the Netherlands in Aruba ;

  • The President’s Keynote Sponsors : Mongui Maduro Foundation ; Maduro & Curiel’s Bank, GO School for Information ; the Royal National Library (The Hague) ;

  • The Keynote Speakers : Professor Jesus Lau ; Paul Geerders ; Maaike Toonen ; Minister Alcala-Walle ; Minister Dr. Armando Lauape ; Jemi Lacle ; Laurent Jean Pierre ; Professor Cees Hamelink ;

  • All Presenters and Participants ;

  • All Exhibitors : ACURIL Executive Secretariat ; ACURIL 2020 Bahamas ; BMJ ; Cambridge University Press ; DOTLIB ; EBSCO ; Elsevier BV ; Emerald Publishing Ltd. ; E-Technology Solutions Corporation ; Gale, A Cengage Company ; G O, School for Information ; IEEE Xplore Digital Library ; IOP Publishing ; ITMS Group ; Karger Publishers ; NEJM Group ; OCLC ; Oxford University Press ; Project Muse ; ProQuest & Ex Libris ; SAGE Publishing ; Springer Nature ; Taylor & Francis Group ; UN Information Centre for the Caribbean Area ; Wiley Online Library ; Wolters Kluwer ;

  • The Interpreters ;
  • The Technical Team ;
  • and The Renaissance Aruba Resort Hotel and Convention Center for its continued support.

ACURIL is most grateful.

Let us meet again in ACURIL 2020 BAHAMAS to celebrate ACURIL's 50th Anniversary.

Anne Pajard
ACURIL Vice-President 2019-2020