December 10, 2010
Library doors open!

After an eight year process of conceptualization, relocation and construction, the National Public Library was officially opened on Tuesday, December 7, 2010, at Richmond Hill.{{more}}

The Library, which was fully financed by the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan, was designed by Vincentian Architect Trevor Thompson.

With a seating capacity of about 275, the library has Children and Adult reading sections, as well as a reference section. It also as an automated system for filing books and Internet access.

Giving the Keynote address, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves highlighted the importance of reading in the advancement of a civilization. He stated that reading assists with reflection, gaining knowledge, and acts as a tool in the process of acquiring wisdom and learning about the experiences of others.

A modern public library, he described, is a physical manifestation of the growth and development of a civilization. He added that in a civilization such as that of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, reading, studying and reflection will play a critical role in the advancement of the country. Gonsalves also thanked the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan for their contribution to the library project.

Making brief remarks, Ambassador of the Republic of China on Taiwan Weber Shih stated that reading is a way of making the poor rich. He also encouraged Vincentians to make the best use of the library, adding that it can be used for recreational purposes, and is an ideal place for parents to send their children to spend free time.

Also making remarks, Minister of Education Girlyn Miguel stated that these are exciting times in education, as the ministry is consistently working in the direction of world wide guidelines on education. She added that St. Vincent is already ahead with several initiatives.

Giving a detailed history of the Library service in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Miguel explained that the first library system was present in the 1800’s as a brick building at the Kingstown market square. It was then moved to the Carnegie building known as the Old Public Library which was opened in February 1909. The library then moved to the location at Middle Street, Kingstown in 1992.

The Library services in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Miguel explained, also include 20 branch libraries from Chateaubelair to Owia and Union Island, and 10 Branch libraries in Learning Resource centres around the country.

Making remarks on the financial aspects of the library project, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Nicole Bonadie-Baker explained the eight year process which included the acquisition of land, which cost $4 million, the relocation of the technical centre and the YMCA building, which cost $2.12 million and $863,000, respectively, and the building of the National Archives and Documentation centre.

The National Public Library and the National Archives and Documentation Centre are parts of the Department of Libraries service which falls under the Ministry of Education.

The National Library Project will also include the building of a Performing Arts Centre, just behind the library, estimated to cost about $21.6 million dollars.

The library will be open on Weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.