Saturday, May 27, 2023

The Carnegie Free Public Library of Georgetown, Guyana

On May 15, 1906, businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie granted $10,400 (equivalent to £7,000 at the time) to Georgetown, Guyana for the construction of a public library. Construction of the library began in the spring of 1908. 

The Carnegie Free Public Library of Georgetown opened for service in September 1909. Emily Murray was its first library director, leading the institution from 1909 until 1940.

The library expanded its outreach beginning with the Rural Library Service in 1950; library services to prisons in 1966; mobile library service in 1970; service as the nation's copyright library in 1972; computer services in 1993; and internet services in 2002. 

The Carnegie Free Public Library of Georgetown is now the National Library of Guyana. The Publication and Newspapers Act of 1972 enabled the former Carnegie Library to function as the nation's national library. The National Library of Guyana has branches in Bagotville, Corriverton, Linden, New Amsterdam, and Ruimveldt.

The library celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009.

Sources:  Stephenson, Yvonne V. "Guyana." World Encyclopedia of Libraries and Information Services. Ed. Robert Wedgeworth. Chicago: ALA Editions, 1993. 332-333.; Allicock, Dmitri. "The 1909 National Library of Guyana." Oh, Beautiful Guyana. 6 May 2014. Web. 27 May 2023.; Mattar, Carol. "Guyanan Studies Local Public Library." Journal Herald (Dayon, Ohio) 21 June 1974: 31.; Caribbean Libraries in the 21st Century: Changes, Challenges, and Choices. Ed. Cheryl Peltier-Davis and Shamin Renwick. Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc., 2007. 183.; Persaud, Petamber. "The Andrew Carnegie Vision: Still Alive 108 Years Later." Guyana Times International, Inc. 22 Sept. 2017. Web. 27 May 2023.; "The National Library,1909-2009." Guyana Chronicle. 6 Sept. 2009. Web. 27 May 2023.

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