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What is ACURIL? PDF Print E-mail

The Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL) originated as part of a movement for Caribbean cooperation at the university level, initiated in the late l960’s by the Association of Caribbean Universities (UNICA). At that moment Sir Philip Sherlock, of the University of the West Indies, at Mona, Kingston, Jamaica, was its Secretary General.

UNICA recognized the need for close cooperation among university and research libraries in the region. It sponsored, along with the University of Puerto Rico and its Institute of Caribbean Studies, the first conference of librarians in university and research libraries of the region in Puerto Rico in 1969. This event was coordinated by Dr. Alma Theodora Jordan (University of the West Indies, Trinidad Campus), Dr. Albertina Perez de Rosa (University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus) and Luisa Vigo-Cepeda (Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus). At that conference, an independent Association of Caribbean University and Research Libraries (ACURIL) was voted into existence. Dr. Jordan was elected the first President, Dr. Pérez de Rosa the first Vice-President of the Association, and Ms. Vigo-Cepeda, first Secretary-Treasurer.

While adhering to the original proposal of collaboration among university and research libraries within the framework of UNICA, the Association recognized that it should embrace all kinds of libraries that traditionally functioned as research libraries. Public libraries, in particular, were effectively basic providers of information in many of the small Caribbean countries. There was also a growing number of special libraries in government and other institutions that should be included in the Association. The delimiting word ‘institute’ was therefore removed from the title of the Association, but the acronym remained unchanged. In 1976 the organization was renamed Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries, providing ample space for all information units in the Caribbean.


Major objectives of ACURIL are as follows:
a. to facilitate development and use of libraries, archives, and information services, and the identification, collection and preservation of information resources in support of the whole range of intellectual and educational endeavors throughout the Caribbean area;
b. to strengthen the archival, library and information professions;
c. to unite information workers in them, and to promote cooperative activities in pursuit of these objectives.


There are three categories of membership open to libraries, archives, organizations, and individuals living within the area of the Caribbean archipelago, the mainland countries (including the Guianas), and the states of the United States of America which border on the Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico.

Institutional : open to libraries, archives and schools conducting programmes of library or archival education.
Organizational : available to national library associations, and regional and other special organizations and associations.
Personal : open to librarians and archivists, other employees of libraries or archives, and other interested in library, archival, or related services and activities.

For each of the above-named categories, there is a classification of Associate Membership for institutions, organizations, and individuals existing or living outside of the geographic area.

The revised Constitution provides for a 15-member Council, composed of a President, a Vice-President, the Immediate Past-President, ten other elected members, and three non-voting members, the Executive Secretary, the Treasurer, and the Parlamentarian. Six of the elected members are representatives of member institutions, two of national library associations, one of a regional and other special organization/association, and one representative of the personal members. With the exception of the representative of Personal Members, they are elected for 3-year terms at each Annual General Meeting. The representative of Personal Members serves for a 1-year term, and may be re-elected. The Vice-President is elected by the Executive Council from among its members and is the President-elect. Council members serve at individuals, and may not be represented by another person at a meeting of the Council.

No mandatory requirements exist for national, language or library representation on the Council. The Nominations Committee, however, in making selections and inviting nominations which meet the desirable criteria, seeks to maintain a fair balance and to have as wide a representation as possible.

The Executive Council meets twice at the time of the annual conference, immediately before and after. It also holds one mid-year meeting usually in November. This is often held in small countries which might not be able to hold the annual conference.

At present, two Standing Committees are constituted: Constitution and Bylaws and Publications. There are also Special Interest Groups for each of the following: Academic Libraries, Public and National Libraries, School Libraries, Special Libraries, Information Technologies, and Research in the Information Field. The activities of these Committees and Special Interest Groups, set up to attain some ACURIL objectives are planned and developed during the year and reviewed during the annual conference.

The main feature of the Annual Conference is the development of a theme of interest to library and information services in the Caribbean. Papers are presented, workshops are held and provision is made for discussion of the various subtopics. This feature meets the aims to which ACURIL is committed, by promoting studies of topical issues in the profession and facilitating improved communication, exchange of information and cooperative projects.


ACURIL provides the following services:
a. a forum for professional discussion and meetings,
a. continuing education programmes in the form of pre, during and post conference workshops, seminars, symposia, etc.,
b. promotion of cooperative activities including the sharing of resources in the region,
c. promotion of the dissemination and exchange of information in the region,
d. providing an environment for scholarly interaction and stimulating research and publication activities,
e. information on the Association’s activities, as well as of its members by a regular publication programme.


ACURIL’s activities and achievements include the organization of regional projects aimed at improving access to information produced or published in the region.

Examples are the provision of opportunities for special interest groups to meet, review and plan for the progress of library development and growth in the region. Common problems are identified, solutions are discussed, and ideas are shared on general trends, and the publication of most the Proceedings of its annual conferences.


ACURIL has retained its affiliation with the Association of Caribbean Universities (UNICA). It is also affiliated with IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), having representation on the Standing Committee for the regional Latin America and the Caribbean Division (IFLA-LAC), and the International Center for Institutional Research Exchange and Cooperation in the Caribbean and Latin America (CIRECCA), with which it agrees to collaborate toward the objective of realizing common aims, and to assist in all areas of research and cultural exchange in the Caribbean.


The only source of funding received by the Association is its membership dues. A special income is derived from the charge of the conference fee, but the total income received is clearly inadequate to meet the cost of organizing annual conferences. In this respect, the local organizing committee must secure external funding and support to hold the conference selected.

From its inception, the Association has depended heavily on the governments and other agencies in the host countries to help defray the Conference expenses. International funding agencies have also given generously for this purpose and for the publication of the proceedings.

The General Headquarters of the Association is in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and physically located at the Caribbean Regional Library and Latin American Studies, within the José M. Lázaro Library of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Its mailing address is P.O. Box 23317, UPR Station, San Juan, PR 00931-3317. Tel (787)790-8054; Fax (787)790-8054  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 November 2009 14:21

ACURIL's President


Jane W. F. Smith
ACURIL's President, 2014-2015


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