Old Public Library, Bridgetown, Barbados Pocket GuideThe Barbados Public Library

With a Mission Statement that clearly states “To be a centre of excellence providing comprehensive library services to satisfy the educational, informational and recreational needs of the community.” it is no doubt that the Barbados Public Library Service has done well in being of service to the people of Barbados.


The Barbados Public Library was established in the 1840s but housed at the beginning of the twentieth century in the West Wing of the Parliament Buildings of Barbados.


Mr. Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie, Renowned for his Gifts of Free Libraries to Towns in England, Barbados Pocket Guide

Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American philanthropist who was renowned for his gifts of free libraries to towns in England.


After an appeal was made by the Governor on behalf of Barbados, Mr. Andrew Carnegie made available 2,500 pounds that would go towards the building of a Free Public Library.


Much controversy presented itself at this time with regards to the gift of funds as many thought that the funds were insufficient and that Government should not even consider getting involved should there be a shortfall. As a result, Mr. Carnegie increased the amount to 4,800 pounds.



Another presentation of issues surrounding the Barbados Public Library was what would be the best location for the Library. Suggestions such as Gardens in Trafalgar Square, St. Mary’s Gardens, Reef Lands, Ground adjacent to the Old Town Hall and Bay Street Land were all made. Eventually, the lands adjoining the Town Hall were selected to be the ideal site.


On June 7, 1904 the first stone was laid and the Library was officially opened by His Excellency the Governor, Sir Gilbert Carter, 26th January, 1906.


The first stone was laid on 7th June, 1904 and on January 26, 1906, the Library was officially opened by the then Governor, Sir Gilbert Thomas Carter.


Public Library After Construction, Bridgetown, Barbados Pocket Guide


The original site of the Barbados Public Library was Coleridge Street but due to the structure of the building in need of repairs and being deemed by some as a 'sick building', it has been relocated to the Old Modern Living Building in Independence Square. The Library was closed from August 2005 until January 2009 prior to being moved to its new location.


Though much of Barbados is pleased with the relocation, there is a general feeling that more should be done in the way of technically upgrading the Library by way of making it into a fully computerised facility. There has also been a suggestion that there's a desperate need for the Library to have its own website. That way, you can stay at home or wherever and get information on any book that you need.


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