An impression of ‘Access and opportunity for all’


The Local Organizing Committee has been working for weeks in a row on the organization of the 49th ACURIL Conference together with the ACURIL Secretariat (Puerto Rico) which was held on Aruba at the Renaissance Convention Center, a perfect spacious facility for this conference. Here is an impression of our week. For this item we had help from volunteer blogger Lilly M. Peterson (MA) and retired librarian Mrs. Irais Sankatsing-Nava as well as photographer Mr. George Jacobs. The conference was dedicated to 3 librarians.

The pre-conference started on Sunday June 2nd with some presentations and workshops, like a presentation of the Makerspace B-lab at the public library in Oranjestad, meetings, and an orientation for new ACURIL members.

Lilly: “It was nice meeting with my Caribbean sisters and brother. Most of them were from Trinidad and to them I could have been, as they say, a ‘Trini’ as well. Two thought that they recognized me from a previous conference. I was also approached by two of the  presenters Cheryl Peltier-Davis and Anne Pajard, they were both attentive and eager to answer my questions. I felt like I was part of one big family.”

Lilly: “The Opening ceremony of the 49th Acuril Conference was something to be proud off as Maybeline Arends-Croes and her ‘Choir Melange’ dressed in the SDG colors sang the Aruban anthem while the governor and his full entourage enters the (regretfully warm) conference hall. They had me laughing when they sang the calypso song ‘Feeling Hot Hot Hot’ as the room is warm and people cool themselves. Great opening of the 5th Aruban Acuril Conference at the Renaissance Convention Center.”

There was also a social program all week for the participants, a welcome reception on Monday evening with Trio Carlos Bislip jr. at the Festival Plaza, ‘A Cultural experience in San Nicolas’ organized together with the Aruba Art Fair team, visits to museums and libraries on the island as well as the national archive Aruba (ANA).

Irais: ’A Cultural experience in San Nicolas’ culminated in a Jump up with a Brass band. All participants looked so excited and jolly as they went back to the busses, dancing and singing in the main street of San Nicolas.”

Last event on the social program was the Closing ceremony and Banquet. We did our best to offer our visitors an interesting week as well as a pleasant one, with lots of sharing of information, inspiring talks, while learning new things and meeting Information professionals from all over the Caribbean. We also had guests from Latin America, The Netherlands and the USA. The program for the week was completely full.

There were a lot of presentations, too many to mention, please click here for an overview, a poster alley and an exhibitor’s space with exhibitors from the region as well as other parts of the world. There was a poster presentation of all kinds of projects done in Caribbean libraries over the last year.

Lilly: “A lane of posters nicely organized on sustainable exposition panels made from pallet wood (by Robby Solognier). They are an overwhelming resource of information. Great presentation of the Seida plant of Aruba by the National Library for visitors to see and learn about. “

“Ronny Alders presented Aruba’s Sustainable Education Symposium from his heart. He speaks with his whole body animating us with his gestures as he goes along. Gesturing is an inclusive communication method. Gesturing is part of our culture and it distinguishes us from other cultures. When we speak we are automatically inclusive. “(Observation on Speaking with our hands by Lilly)

Because we were working behind the scenes and at the different points of the conference space we ourselves could not attend all presentations, we had help from a volunteer-blogger ( Lilly M. Peterson, MA) and photographer George Jacobs  and our ex-colleague and librarian Irais to help us to offer you an impression and of course the local press members. You can find several presentations online like the one from Mrs Nathalie Maduro for Santa Rosa. I just saw a few presentations as I was at the Information desk all week but personally I loved the presentation of Jemi Laclé titled ‘Libraries: resilient and sustainable communities’ because of her inspiring talk of how libraries all over the world help inspire people and help them to learn and read and grow even in the worst conditions.

Lilly: “Jemi Lacle tells us about her personal story of her experience with, Yhons, a young man she met in Ethiopia. Yhons opened her eyes on the importance of having access to information. So much so that she centered her presentation at the Acuril Conference around him putting a face to the work of Acuril. Without even meeting Yhons or traveling to Ethiopia his story of how he was able to learn a new language through reading and listening to tapes is now an example for all libraries.”

Ethno botanist from St. Lucia, mr. Laurent Jean Pierre spoke about the Jaden Kwéyòl in St. Lucia and Cassave. He also pointed out that healthy food farmers are the intellectuals and that farmers should be celebrated for they provide the food. He also thinks that we should reach the Millennium goals together, it’s the only way.

Lilly: “Laurent Jean Pierre, the roots man as he calls himself, brings us down to earth. He greets us with an African tradition as he asks: “how are the children?” He explains: If the children are good then the future is good. He reminds us of our afro heritage and the Cassava and asks how do we learn from our own culture in securing food for ourselves in combating the oncoming food crisis? He calls for home grown food instead of imported food.”

Irais: “The presentation of the ethno botanist from St. Lucia, mr. Laurent Jean Pierre was profound and surprisingly airy. He told part of his story dancing with a mix of poetry and folk wisdom and a sense of the reality we live in.”

Lilly joined the Paper presentations on Symbiotic Partnerships; “Aruban Museums and the National Library joins forces in presenting the collection. They give insight into the history and economical development through digitalized images of the island in making the collections more accessible. Now I can stay at home and access the information in my bed with my laptop on my lap.”

We had great people and professionals working with us, like Mrs. Michele Brooks (MC and hostess for the opening ceremony), Maybelline Arends-Croes and the Melange choir, I already mentioned Trio Carlos Bislip jr, Tito Bolivar, Cre8te graphic designers, Prographics, the Media team, Alexis Tromp (IPA) and Ryan Oduber (Contemporary artist and filmmaker), Thunder and Lightning, translators from Sto. Domingo, so many people I am afraid I might forget some but I cannot mention them all, just one more Mrs. Jennifer Laclé-Boezem, Benjamin Romero (Bon Dia) and other Press members and of course our own employees and librarians. Robby made these really cool exposition panels. All played a crucial role in the whole. It takes a village to organize a conference, so there you have it. We hope the output will reach every island in the Caribbean.

We had the minister of Curacao and Aruba as speakers, Mrs. Marilyn Alcalle Walle and dr. Mr. Armando R. Lampe. Lilly: on the presentation ‘Literacy” is “Life” itself: “Literacy gives you the ability to construct meaning in all aspects of daily living. To be even to write this blog I cannot do without writing skills. Writing is so normal to me that I never thought about it. I could not be where I am now without this skill. I must agree with Marilyn Alcala-Walle that “Literacy” is “Life” itself.

Lilly: on the presentation ‘Circular Economy: a new name for the SDGs’: “Circular Economy Vision (VEC) 2050. This is the first public presentation on Aruba’s strategic vision to become an island with a sustainable circular economy. Acuril is the right place to be as I feel privileged to get this information first hand.”

Mr. Cees Hamelink was the last speaker of the conference, an experienced speaker, one of those knowledgeable speakers who speak freely, no need to look at notes and everything just flows, words and thoughts and ideas and his viewpoint is clear. I liked the joke he made about the speech of Minister Lampe’s concept on a circular economy where Lampe goes to God to ask how long it will take to establish such a concept and God answers “I won’t see to live that day”. He also talked about lying which is a real problem and it affects the climate of trust (hinderers who sabotage deep dialogue) What I liked most about his talk is the idea that libraries are sanctuaries for deep dialogue.

Lilly: “Desperate Incurable Optimists Professor Cees Hamelink is in despair about achieving the SDG’s because of the widespread individualism, the still colonized fractured minds in societies. The only tool we have is to talk with each other, as he calls it ‘Cooperative Communication’. We need to have deep dialogue: Cooperation, Trust, Take time and have patience and silence to understand each other and let it sink in, feel free to talk and have the courage to admit when you don’t know. Listening is the most important part. You have to be willing to change your mind. No more lying. Slow down and make time for the dialogue. Real dialogue is like playing with each other. The playing field has to be relaxed, no intimidation, no disrespect but Sanctuaries.”

Museologist Lilly was inspired by his speech and is thinking of giving workshop on discussion and debating in the library maybe? That would be nice Lilly. Let’s work on it.

Lilly: “A motion has been made to add the word ‘Museums’ to the name of Acuril Special Interest Groups. The new name proposed is ‘Archives, Record Management and Museums’. I was congratulated by Cheryl Peltier-Davis for my input that lead to this proposal. This was an unexpected surprise for me. Thank you Margot Thomas for this proposal.”

If you would like to see more photos (1700 and 9 albums to be precise) please go to our digital platform or our Facebook page. Any questions or remarks? Mail us at


Librarian Ana Olivia Marin Gomez

Librarian Ana Olivia Marin Gomez: “Hopi saludos y masha danki pa e bon atencion ricibi na Aruba

Jesus Lau: “The team did a great job for the ACURIL Conference

Librarian Lusiola Castillo from Belize: “Thanks Astrid, Ronny, Zetsia, Peter and the Local Organizing Committee for all the effort and work put in to accomplish such a magnificent conference. It was a well organized, educational and entertaining conference. All your hard work paid off with an excellent conference and satisfied participating looking forward to next year! Job well done!

With these remarks we close this special project. We’ll see you next year in the Bahamas!

© Biblioteca Nacional Aruba, juni 2019 (Gina Jie Sam Foek)



Scroll To Top