21 September 2023


The National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) has honoured its first Executive Director (ED), Pamella Benson, by rebranding the Audio Visual Room at the National Library, the Pamella Benson Audio Visual Room, on September 19, 2023.


The official rebranding ceremony, held also in commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary since the establishment of NALIS, was attended by Benson, members of her family, the Honourable Symon de Nobriga, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister – Communications, present and former directors and managers, present and former members of staff and other distinguished guests.


Pamella Benson served as Executive Director of NALIS from the period 1999 to her retirement in 2004.  Prior to this, she held the positions of Director Library Services from 1994 to 1999, Secretary of the Council of Library and Information Services, 1991 to 1993 and Librarian, Ministry of Energy from 1972 to1990.  She was the Chairman of the Cabinet Appointed Integration Committee tasked with establishing a framework for new legislation for Library and Information Services, which resulted in the NALIS Act No. 18 of 1998. She was also seminal in the preparation of the Request for Proposals for the National Library Building and the brief for the architect.


This library professional served as President of UNESCO’s Information Systems and Networks in Latin America and the Caribbean (INFOLAC) and was a long-standing member of the International Federation of Library Association’s (IFLA) Standing Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (IFLALAC) and of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO.  In 2004, she was the recipient of the award of the ACURILEANA Medal, as Caribbean Information Professional of the Year, and the Public Service Medal of Merit Gold Award for Outstanding and Meritorious Service.


Minister de Nobriga described Benson as tenacious, given that she fought tirelessly to advance library services in the country. He lauded her achievements which included, the fit-out and opening of the National Library for services to the public; the computerisation of the Library at the Ministry of Energy (1972–1990); the automation of the library services of Trinidad and Tobago, resulting in the offering of Internet access to the public in libraries from 1986; the award of undergraduate and post graduate scholarships in Library and Information Science and the initiation of the Digital Library Project.


The rebranding/naming of spaces at NALIS’ facilities in the name of library pioneers is part of the organisation’s ongoing project to honour those who would have made significant contributions to library and information services in Trinidad and Tobago. In February 2022, the Eintou Pearl Springer Reading Room at the Heritage Library was unveiled. Eintou Pearl Springer was the founding director of the Heritage Library Division. She is still regarded as an expert in West Indian literature and a cultural activist.