A Brief History of Library Services in St.Vincent and the Grenadines

Today, Library Services in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have grown tremendously. The Kingstown Public Library is the focal point of the library service in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We now have eighteen (18) Branch Libraries located throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They are as follows:


  • Barrouallie
  • Biabou
  • Calliaqua
  • Chateaubelair
  • Colonaire
  • Georgetown
  • Greggs
  • Layou
  • Lowmans Wd
  • Marriaqua
  • Owia
  • Questelles
  • South Rivers
  • Sandy Bay
  • Troumaca


  • Bequia
  • Canouan
  • Union Island

The idea of having books in one location for the use of the Public began on the 9th March 1983 as a reading room for the privileged. On the 1st April of that same year, the reading room was converted to a Free Public Library, however, although the word "free" forms part of the name, the Library was not free. Individuals were expected to pay a quarterly subscription of one shilling and six pence in order to have the privilege of using the library.

The first Librarian in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was Benjamin Scott Wilson and he served in that capacity until 1901.

The Public Library, at its inception, was under the charge of the Kingstown Town Board and was first located at the Market Square. In 1899 there were talks held about building a building to house the Library, but this idea was abandoned because of insufficient funds.

The Chairman of the then Town board, subsequently submitted a request to Andrew Carnegie for assistance in establishing a permanent library building.

In January 1907, with funds of two thousand pounds, work began on what is today known as The Carnegie Building. Despite the generous contribution of Mr. Carnegie, the available funds were insufficient to complete the building. It is not very clear as to how the board got the funds to pay off their bills, but in 1909 the building was ready for use.

The building was very imposing: a two storey structure with an upper floor designated as a lecture hall and for use for cultural activity and the ground floor was the library. With the introduction of a reference service being offered by the library, the upper floor was convert to house the reference service and the Adult Lending Library.

Despite the ordinance passed in 1908 for the services of the Public Library to be made free, a subscription was still charged.

In 1977 a book mobile service to rural areas was introduced. The villages where libraries were not accessible, would have access to the Book Mobile. This service, however, was discontinued in 1987 when the bus became” unroadworthy”.

In 1982, the National Documentation Centre was established and The National Archives was established in 1990. With the introduction of these two (2) units, the department was now called the Department of Libraries, Archives and Documentation Services.

The Department of Libraries, Archives and Documentation Services in St. Vincent and the Grenadines consist of Libraries, Archives and the Documentation Centre. They comprise of approximately 250,000 volumes, which include books, pamphlets, periodicals, theses, manuscripts, maps and non-print material.

Besides the service of Lending and Reference Library, the Kingstown Public Library also offers several other services to the nation.