Wednesday, the Minister of Education, Culture, Science & Technology - Hon. Francis Fonseca joined the Belize National Library Service and Information System Board in celebrating the 85th anniversary of libraries in Belize! This morning's event was indeed momentous. With the advent of technology, the internet and most recently the Covid 19 Pandemic social restrictions, one would think the library systems are on the verge of becoming obsolete.
Belize's history of Library Systems spans from 1825 - with the subscription to libraries in British Honduras. It was not until 1935, however that we saw the establishment of the Jubilee Public Library which would later be governed by Ordinance No 37. of 1935.
Subsequently, the donation of the building located at 156 North Front Street was received for library service by Mr. Robert Sydney Turton. Known as the first Belizean millionaire and philanthropist, in 1935 Turton donated the building that bears his name - The Turton Library Center.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York, notably one of the United States of America's oldest grantmaking foundations, presented a grant for the purchasing of books and furniture in the same year of 1935.
By the following year, in 1936- we would see the establishment of five (5) new sub- library development in the Corozal, Stann Creek, Punta Gorda, San Ignacio and Orange Walk Districts.
Since then, many past and present Belizean leaders credit the Turton Library Center as the place where they nourished their thirst for knowledge, especially through boys’ and girls’ readers groups. Many prominent Belizeans have mentioned that their love of reading started at Turton Library and other libraries countrywide. While many of us enjoy reading and writing using online sources and electronic devices, Chief Librarian - Lusiola Castillo takes pride in the libraries ability to provide a space for traditional readers.
Today Belize has 50 service points - branches and community libraries managed by the Belize National Library Service and Information System. There are also outreach services to reach beyond the libraries such as bookmobiles and community boxes. The Libraries continue to function as a source of historical record keeping.
The National Library Service Celebrates its 85th Anniversary The National Library Service celebrated its eighty-fifth anniversary today and while it is a milestone achievement, the N.L.S. is tasked with keeping up with technological advancements which have seen more students searching for updated information in the online space. Nonetheless, with a new Minister of Education in office, the National Library service is looking forward to new ideas and a fruitful partnership in realizing its goals.
Re: Celebrating 85 Years of Library Service in Belize!
#546792 12/09/2012:24 PM12/09/2012:24 PM
Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS)
85th Anniversary of the Belize National Library Service and Information System: A reflection by the Chief Librarian Ms. Lusiola Castillo. Interviewed by Ms. Felene Cayetano, Librarian at the National Heritage Library.