Professor Victor Fajardo, Puerto Rico Secretary of Education, To Speak at Presentation of PROJECT SABER, The Island's First Centralized Library Automation Network 120 School and Public Libraries in Puerto Rico Will Be Automated with the SIRS Mandarin M3 Library Automation System
Boca Raton, FL, December 8, 1999 On Tuesday, December 14, educators, librarians and administrators representing public schools and libraries throughout Puerto Rico will gather at the Tropimar Beach Club and Convention Center in Carolina, Puerto Rico, for the presentation of Project SABER (Electronic Libraries Network Automation Systems), Puerto Rico's island-wide centralized library automation network. Project SABER, developed and implemented by the Department of Education of Puerto Rico, is part of the Department's efforts to revolutionize the educational process in Puerto Rico by creating a centralized educational network. Over 640,000 Puerto Rico students are projected to benefit from the network.
The event, which begins at 8:00 a.m., includes a message from Professor Victor Fajardo, Secretary of Education of Puerto Rico, who will announce the Department's selection of SIRS Mandarin, Inc., a Boca Raton, Florida-based library technology firm, to provide library automation systems to 120 school and public libraries in Puerto Rico as part of the project's initial phase.
SIRS Mandarin, Inc. was awarded the library automation contract because it was the only vendor whose library automation system, SIRS Mandarin M3, fulfilled 13 essential requirements as set forth by the Program Evaluation Committee. A multilingual OPAC, customizable cataloging features, technical support and Wide Area Network capability were some of the features that led the evaluation committee to select M3.
Applications are being accepted from other public libraries and schools to join the library automation network. Project SABER will potentially reach over 1,500 school libraries throughout Puerto Rico thanks to State and Federal funding provided by the Library Services and Technology Act P.L. 104-208 and Technology Literacy Challenge Funds, P.L. 103-382.
Project SABER is made possible through the creation of the Department of Educationšs Infrastructure Educational Network (EDUNET), an advanced educational telecommunications network funded by Educational Rate Funds (E-Rate). E-Rate funds initially totalling over $40 million have enabled the Department of Education to install a wiring network in 760 Puerto Rico schools. The Department plans to use an additional $57 million in funds towards the purchase and installation of a highly advanced wireless network in another 780 schools, according to Maribel Cedeņo, Special Assistant to the Director of Office of Information Systems and School Technology.
Sandra Castro, Program Director of Library and Information Services for the Department of Education and a member of the team overseeing Project SABER, views the project as an important step towards providing all Puerto Rico students and educators with free universal access to valuable information. "The Department plans a centralized system in which Puerto Rico students from every region and social level have equal access to information from every field of study," Castro said. "Additionally, the advanced technological infrastructure will soon make it possible to raise educational standards across the board in Puerto Rico by introducing new technologies in the classroom."
The centralized wireless network will have a profound impact on the entire island of Puerto Rico, according to Victor Rodriguez, General Supervisor of Electronic Libraries and Project SABER team member.
"Through Department initiatives like Project SABER, Puerto Rico is being turned into an island-wide virtual library with access to information that is free, immediate, reliable and useful," stated Rodriguez.
To attend the presentation of Project SABER, or for more information, please contact Claribel Garcia, Communications Office of the Department of Education of Puerto Rico, at 1-727-759-2000, extension 2495, or by e-mail at Garcia_C@de.prstar.net. You may also contact Tom Brickel, Public Relations Coordinator for SIRS Mandarin, Inc., at 1-800-232-7477, extension 412, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.