- Institution is a treasure trove for Latin American and Caribbean agricultural and environmental research
Friday, April 21, 2023. The Orton Memorial Library, located on the campus of CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) celebrates its 80th anniversary, confirming that it continues to be one of the most prestigious libraries in the field of agricultural, agro-environmental and rural development research in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The commemoration activities began on Monday, April 17, with an official ceremony to which the community, CATIE authorities and collaborators, as well as people close to the library, were invited. The event was attended by the library coordinator, Jeffry Jiménez Pérez, Muhammad Ibrahim, Director General of CATIE, and Francisco Mello, Manager of Knowledge Management and Horizontal Cooperation of IICA (Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture).
"It is unusual for a library to be 80 years old, especially in a country where librarianship is a relatively new profession. In addition, this library has a very big impact at the Latin American level, not only in Costa Rica, because we serve many people from Canada to Argentina and the Caribbean islands. We also have two institutions such as CATIE and IICA that support us a lot and it is also a library that over the years has had a very important relevance for professionals in librarianship and for the agricultural sector," said Jiménez.
For his part, CATIE's Director General recalled that when he arrived here in 1987 and with very little knowledge of Spanish, the library was one of his most visited places. "There were only two computers for analysis and statistics. I spent almost every month living among books or magazines and everyone occupied the space until 10 o'clock at night. This was not only a place for study, it was a social place as it was also a place for interaction with graduate colleagues and professors," said Ibrahim.
"We renewed the cooperation agreement between CATIE and IICA to continue working together not only in the administration of this important library, but also in a macro agreement where other project issues, administrative issues and implementation in different aspects are integrated," he said.
Francisco Mello said that they are very excited to celebrate this anniversary always thinking about how the library fulfills its role in providing knowledge of excellence based on scientific evidence to all countries and related institutions. "The library fulfills being a space for social insertion and we have seen in the last year the transformation that has happened, with a lot of activities and participation of people from all the community of Turrialba. So what I can say is that from our institution we are really very happy with all that. And, obviously, helping the library to continue modernizing to continue offering this great space and service to all our countries", concluded Mello.
According to its coordinator, the celebration seeks to break the barrier of silence in libraries and demonstrate that there is youth and the desire to do great things. This is a challenge for the Orton, which must now rethink its role and adapt to the new challenges of the profession. After the pandemic, we saw that many of the physical things are not so necessary for humanity. Now we have to rethink the profession to a more space utilization and use of technology, to reach more people," explained Jimenez.
"For us this celebration is very special because not all the time you can do this kind of activities in a library and in an institution like CATIE. So, daring to do something like this also goes hand in hand with daring professionally to reach a point that has not been reached at the project level," he added.
The Library began its work in one of IICA's administrative buildings in Turrialba in 1943, with 5 tons of bibliographic material donated by the Tropical Plant Research Foundation of Yonkers, located in New York, United States. It was named the "Orton Memorial Library" as a posthumous tribute to Dr. William Allen Orton, who promoted the development of agricultural and forestry sciences in Latin America from the direction of the Tropical Plant Research Foundation of Yonkers.
Today this institution celebrates its 80th anniversary with the conviction of continuing to be a reference in the library profession and a meeting and knowledge exchange space for the agricultural and scientific community of Latin America.
Jeffry Jiménez Pérez
Orton IICA/CATIE Memorial Library
Turrialba, Cartago, 30501 Costa Rica.
Tel. (506) 2558-2046.
Esteban Rodríguez Zamora
Tel: (506) 2558 2074
Information Technology and Communication