March 16, 2024

Inter-American Division Relaunches Its Adventist Virtual Library

During online live event, leaders highlight new branding, resources, and tools.

Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division, and Adventist Review
The Adventist Virtual Library’s rebranding, redesign, and new portal launched on March 4 with additional resources in English, Spanish, and French. [Photo: BiVA screenshot]

The Inter-American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (IAD) launched its newly rebranded Adventist Virtual Library (Biblioteca Virtual Adventista, or BiVA) for hundreds of schools and universities throughout its educational system during a live online ceremony held from Alajuela, Costa Rica, on March 4. Dozens of students, teachers, educators, church leaders, and administrators gathered at Central American Adventist University to witness the new interface, brand, and resources available.

IAD’s BiVA, a service tool led by the division’s education department, was first established in 2007. Its goal is to support library resources and enhance a culture of research study and reading for students of all ages across the division territory.

New Website, Design, and Logo

With its new website, new design, new logo, and new navigation tools, BiVA provides access to hundreds of thousands of books, textbooks, encyclopedias, articles, and magazines in all areas of study, educators said.

“This inaugural launch represents more than just a simple program, for it embodies the aspirations of a whole community anxious to embrace the power of education and knowledge,” IAD president Elie Henry said. “Libraries are beacons and wells of knowledge that offer unlimited opportunities so that persons can explore, discover, and grow. May this large space be accessible at any time, be useful and enrich many lives and communities.”

An Invaluable Tool for Adventist Education

IAD education director Faye Patterson expressed her appreciation to IAD leaders and administrators for bestowing on the church such an invaluable tool for the Adventist education system in the territory.

“In a world that changes at an accelerated rhythm, the ability for continuous learning has turned into an essential ability, turning virtual libraries into fundamental pillars of the educational process,” Patterson said. “This tool simplifies access to a broad range of information, enriches the educational experience of its users, and promotes academic and professional development.”

Thanks to the virtual tool, children and young people in remote places have access to relevant information, which is crucial in society today, she said. “In addition, many schools that lack physical libraries can do research, answering a pressing need,” Patterson said.

The extensive virtual library is also an important accreditation requirement for educational institutions at all levels, not only for the Adventist educational system in the Inter-American Division but also for governments in each country represented, she said.

The Inter-American Division includes 42 nations and island territories from Mexico to Colombia and across the Caribbean.

Progress of the Virtual Library

The virtual library has been offering resources since 2007, but it took some work to upgrade its functionality and expand its resources in English, Spanish and French, said Yanet Cima, assistant education director for the IAD. Cima, who was tasked with directing the Adventist Virtual Library in 2021, said she worked tirelessly with a team of experts, professionals, and volunteers to do the rebranding, find easy-to-use modules, expand its encyclopedia resources and textbooks, and manage everything related to new subscriptions to the virtual library.

“It is such a plus to have this virtual library close to our schools, which helps motivate students to read more and dig further in their research investigations,” Cima said.

In 2023, more than 3.3 million pages in BiVA were consulted, Cima reported. Her team expects that number will increase in 2024, she added. The virtual library features resources in Spanish and English and articles in French as well as French translation options.

Plans for BiVA

IAD’s BiVA is unique among virtual libraries around the world church, Cima said.

Cima, along with Heidi Baez, librarian of Linda Vista University and now also BiVA librarian, unveiled the new virtual library’s portal, toured its pages, and led a Q&A session during the live program.

Plans are underway to launch the BiVA app giving more accessibility and expanding BiVA’s use across all the educational institutions in the IAD, including a reading program for primary and secondary students to follow with specific digital books.

Xenia Gamboa de Burgos, principal of the Adventist Education Center in Hatillo, Costa Rica — the largest bilingual K-12 school in the IAD — said she didn’t want to miss attending the relaunch of the virtual library.

“I believe that the rebranding of the [virtual] library was very necessary because it required a more modern and dynamic outlook,” she said. “I know that users will now be able to navigate and enjoy the benefits of the platform.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.