Chief Librarian says despite challenges, Roseau Library continues to function

Chief Librarian(Ag) Renita Charles

Chief Librarian (Ag) Renita Charles lists the main challenge at the Roseau Public Library as a lack of space, and she also cites a need for a technology upgrade.

“So space for our main library is crucial at this time especially when we talk about connecting people. When we also talk about an increase in an array of programs that suits all age groups. So we have to look at that. Also, we have a challenge in securing digital devices to host these programs, due to the space challenge and upgrade of the devices we have presently,” Charles explained.

However, Miss Charles said, the institution is one step closer to the fruition of its goals,  as a design has been chosen for the construction of the new Roseau Public Library.

A competition was launched, where architects across Dominica submitted designs for the construction of a new library building, to be built on the old library grounds on Victoria St.

“We are awaiting a ceremony to award the winner for the architect competition of the new library design, which once that comes on stream, everything will fall in place,” Charles stated.

The Dominica Library and Information Service(DLIS) observes Library Week 2024 from May 13- 18, 2024, under the theme, ‘Libraries: Still Valuable, Still Relevant, Still Connecting People’. Miss Charles pointed out that the theme specifically speaks about the long existence and the true meaning of the library service in Dominica and how it has remained consistent and resilient.

“It also pinpoints the importance of libraries, the role they play as a wealth of knowledge that entices our citizens and [in encouraging] good reading habits. We are able to spread awareness of the rich array of reference resources, digital resources and services, and the myriad of programs at the library, especially under the American corner.”

Some of the activities planned to observe and celebrate Library Week 2024 at the different libraries across Dominica include info talks, exhibitions, health fairs, ‘infosplosion’, patron appreciation, community outreach, and staff development.

According to Charles, “Libraries are still valuable as they provide support wherever we find ourselves on the road map through life’s journey; still relevant through their adaptation to our changing world by expansion of their resources to meet our community needs. Also, libraries still connect people by providing an after-school hangout space, getting patrons connected to technology, computers, and other resources and opportunities to connect with multimedia content, programs, ideas, and classes (educational programs).”

Previously located on Victoria Street before being destroyed by Hurricane Maria in 2017, the Roseau Public Library dates back to the early 1900s. It was designed by a popular administrator, Mr. Hesketh Bell, and funded by a Scottish-born philanthropist, Mr. Andrew Carnegie. The library was formally opened on May 11, 1907, and continues to provide knowledge and education through the provision of books, digital media, periodicals, and programs.

The Roseau Public Library is currently housed on the first floor of a building located at 42 Kennedy Avenue (former Subway building), in Roseau.

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1 Comment

  1. May 16, 2024

    Hurray for the library! Let”s’ make sure that Dominicans from all walks of life have access to the rich culture that is their heritage. I miss the Carnagie library that held so many memories for me personally, but lets go onward in terms of understanding what Caribbean vlbes are all about and take them to heart.

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