The mission of The Bahamas Library Services is to provide ready access to quality resources and services for all persons throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
We promote life long learning in a safe environment and thereby meet the intellectual, informational and cultural needs for all in The Bahamas. We foster a spirit of sharing, co-operation and commitment to excellence.
Quality Staff, Quality Service.
PUBLIC LIBRARIES IN THE BAHAMAS
Libraries were established in The Bahamas through two main sources:
- local communities, which concluded that they were necessary for educational advancement and social recreation; and
- government, which saw the need to provide libraries to serve the communities.
1800’s – 1900: FIRST LIBRARIES
The first libraries were started over 150 years ago and are still in existence. The Nassau Public Library, Reading Room and Museum was legally established in 1847. It contained a collection of books suitable for a “working man’s library” and remained the sole public library in New Providence for almost 100 years. By 1900, there were four (4) public libraries in the Family Islands in Inagua (1854) (now the Erickson Library and Museum), Harbour Island, New Plymouth (Green Turtle Cay, Abaco), and Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera (now the Haynes Library).
1970’s – 1990’s: Early Community Libraries in the Family Islands
Additional libraries were funded and built by communities, civic-minded corporate sponsors and winter residents who made generous contributions.
1990’s – Present: New Community Libraries
LONG ISLAND LIBRARYThe Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Long Island Library was held on May 22, 1988, and was officially dedicated by the Governor General on May 26th, 1996. The center was built through the combined efforts of island residents and members of the Long Islanders Association and dedicated to the people of Long Island. The attractively constructed pink and white two storey building located in Lower Deadman’s Cay (Buckleys) also houses the Long Island Museum and Community Centre.
KEMP ROAD LIBRARY was opened in 1998 and filled a major gap between the Fox Hill and Eastern Public Library locations.
Phone: (242) 393.1541
CARMICHAEL ROAD PUBLIC LIBRARY on Carmichael Road, was opened in 2000 and serves communities in southern New Providence. It is the prototype of the modern library containing computers, Internet, educational software titles/kits, audiovisual items, including cassette books and educational games, newspapers and other periodicals.
A Local Area Network (LAN) is in place and provides library users with access to computers and the Internet.
1990’s – 1970’s: Government Supported Libraries throughout the twentieth century, small library collections were established in Family Island settlements which received government grants to operate. New community libraries are being developed to meet the modern day information needs of the Family Island populace, especially those who wish to remain in the lesser developed areas and build them up.
In New Providence, the 1950’s was a decade of library development. New facilities were built to accommodate the large, growing population, especially the students and they all received funds from the government to defray operating costs.
In 1951, the SOUTHERN PUBLIC LIBRARY was built, replacing the Grant’s Town Library which had been destroyed in the Burma Road Riot of 1942.
THE EASTERN PUBLIC LIBRARY followed in 1953 and is located upstairs the Public Records Office in the old Mackey Street Post Office Building.
FOX HILL PUBLIC LIBRARY, opened in 1970, is situated above the Fox Hill Post Office.
From the 1970s, local residents were actively involved in establishing services
needed within their communities. Many communities funded the construction
of buildings to be used as libraries.
COCONUT GROVE COMMUNITY LIBRARY opened in 1974 and is located on Acklins Street. It was the brainchild of a group within the Coconut Grove community and was the first library, to be operated by staff on the government payroll. Other community libraries established in New Providence were
G.K. SYMONETTE COMMUNITY LIBRARY, which was opened in 1987 as a result of activities by the residents of the Yellow Elder Constituency.
THE SOUTH BEACH PUBLIC LIBRARY,officially opened in 2002, is strategically located in the heart of the rapidly developing area of southern New Providence. The library complements a multitude of services offered to the surrounding community inclusive of the C.V. Bethel Senior High School, A Post Office, Police Station and Medical Clinic.
WULFF ROAD PUBLIC LIBRARY was built in 1988 and served as the temporary center for The Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations, before opening to the public in 1994. This library (the largest in the country) will be used as the central processing library