In 1904, Sir Henry Hesketh Bell (1864-1952) reached out to philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) in an effort to persuade him to give a grant for the construction of a public library on the Caribbean island of Dominica. Carnegie agreed to provide the grant and in 1905 gave £1,500 for the library's construction. The city of Roseau, the capital of Dominica, was chosen as the library's location. The architecture of the library was managed by Bell and on May 11, 1907 the library was opened to the public.
Before the building of the Carnegie Library in Roseau, there were earlier efforts to bring library services to the island of Dominica. In 1821, Dr. Jean Baptiste Louis founded the Literacy Society. Seven years later, the Roseau Juvenile Literacy Association was established. Other efforts included:
The Dominica Public Circulating Library (1832).
The Dominica Reading
Room and Library (1847).
The Young Men's Literary Association (1849).
The library is still in operation and is now known as the Roseau Public Library. In December 2015, a tribute to the Roseau Public Library was posted to YouTube:
A Tribute to Roseau Public Library
See also: The Carnegie Free Library of Barbados (Bridgetown, Barbados), the Carnegie Free Library of St. Lucia (Castries, St. Lucia), and the Carnegie Free Library of San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago (San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago).
Sources: Boromé, Joseph A. "Origin and Growth of the Public Libraries of Dominica." Journal of Library History 5.3 (1970): 200-236. Print. ; Jordan, Alma. "Public Libraries in the British Caribbean 1." The Library Quarterly 35.2 (1964): 143-162. Print. ; Hinds, Beverly. Historical Overview of Public Library Development in the English-Speaking Caribbean. [San Juan, PR]: IFLA, 2011. 1, 3-4, 6, 8. PDF File. ; Whitford, Gwenith M. "West Indian Murder Mystery Donated to Roseau Public Library in Dominica." Ti Domnik Tales. 23 July 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2016. ; "State of the Art Library for Dominica." Dominica News Online. 14 May 2013. Web. 30 Jan. 2016. ; "Carnegie Library, Roseau, Dominica." Waymarking.com. 31 Aug. 2008. Web. 30 Jan. 2016; "A Tribute to Roseau Public Library." Dominica Library and Information Service. YouTube. 02 Dec. 2015. Web. 30 Jan. 2016. ; "Cambridge University Library: Royal Commonwealth Society Library, Sir Henry Hesketh Bell Collection, Y3011C-N." Cambridge University Library. Janus, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2016. ; "Andrew Carnegie." Biography.com. A&E Television Networks, LLC, 2016. Web. 30 Jan. 2016.