Former Librarians Honoured


Former Librarians Jennie Wheatley, Ermin Penn-Burnett, Eugene Donovan-Glasgow, Yvonne McKetney, Eugenie Todman-Smith, Eileene Parsons and Lucille Dawson Malone were honoured at a ceremony that was held in observance of Library Week.

The ceremony was held on 20 April at the Elmore Stoutt High School under the theme “Creative Ways of Depicting Libraries: Through Art, Music and Storytelling”.

The Library Services Department was established in 1943 and directed by Mr. T.D. Green, Supervisor of Education with the assistance of volunteers and a Clerk/Librarian. Ms. Loubelle Penn was employed as the first library worker to assist Mr. Green. The library was housed in the J.E.W. Georges building on lower Main Street, Road Town which also served as a Senior School. In 1945, an arrangement was made with the Supervising Librarian of St. Thomas Public Library, the late Enid M. Baa, to borrow books periodically to supplement the small stock at the Virgin Islands Public Library. Only children’s books were borrowed in the early stages.

In 1944, Ms. Yvonne McKetney was appointed the first Clerk Librarian and then in 1946 as Librarian. Two years later, the library moved to the Road Town Methodist Church Hall which allowed more room for the required sections.

In 1956, deposit stations were established at schools on Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke. Monthly visits were made to Jost Van Dyke and around Tortola, while visits to Virgin Gorda and Anegada were made once per term. A boat named the Lady Kate transported the Librarian to these stations. According to Mr. T.D. Green, Monroe Donovan made a large box to hold 60 or 70 books that was sent on the “Lady Kate” to Anegada, North Sound, The Valley, and Jost Van Dyke. Sometimes the Librarian stayed overnight, sleeping on board the boat or in the Vestry of the church or in Captain Auguste George’ house.

In 1965, Ms. Verna Penn was appointed Librarian, and during this time the library hosted the territory’s first Creative Arts Festival and established an art gallery for local paintings.

In 1986, Mr. Peter Moll was appointed first Chief Librarian. In that same year the library became the focal point for the OECS Information Network Project, and the Caribbean Studies Unit was established in the Penn Building.

In 1988, Mrs. Bernadine Walters-Louis was appointed Chief Librarian and in September of the same year, the Road Town Library relocated to the Malone Building on Flemming Street.

In 1993, the Library celebrated its Golden Jubilee. In March 1999, the Library started to offer a Internet Service for the public, In September 1999, the Library published its first local READ posters, which featured people in a variety of careers. In 2001, the Library started to host an Annual Workshop on 23 April, to commemorate World Book and Copyright Day.