Date of this Version
Smart, C.A., & Cowell, N.M. (2019). A role for Jamaica libraries in conflict resolution. Library Philosophy and Practice.
In Jamaica, violence is an all too common approach to the settlement of disputes. Scholars and informed observers have pointed to the genesis of this practice in a history of violence, oppression and inequity rooted in slavery and the colonial system. Policy-makers and crime fighting strategists have advanced a range of recommendations for its abatement. The intervention of civic institutions, such as schools and churches, is acknowledged as beneficial for informing, training and healing persons afflicted by violence, particularly within inner city communities. The library as a central civic organization to provide social and cultural good for peace education and build social capital is often overlooked. This essay explores the role of libraries as one of a range of complementary institutions that can serve to mitigate violence and conflict. Libraries are safe, free, neutral havens for information access and the teaching of information literacy skills for lifelong learning and social inclusion. Social exclusion and marginalization are factors that often contribute to discontent among communities that are economically depressed or at risk for anti-social behaviours.