Online Library Cadet Booklet - History of Libraries In the Bahamas

A Brief History of Public Libraries In The Bahamas

The need to establish libraries in The Bahamas evolved from two main sources:

  • local communities which viewed them as a necessity for educational advancement or upward mobility, social recreation; and
  • governments, which deemed it necessary to provide libraries to serve the communities. (Brennen, 2001)

The foundation was laid for the development of libraries as early as 1804, when populations increased following the migration of the Loyalists of the late 18th century. The first libraries were started over one hundred fifty (150) years ago and are still in existence today. They are the Nassau Public Library (1937), Inagua Public /Erickson Library, (1855) Harbour Island /Sir George W. K. Roberts Public Library, (1854) New Plymouth/Green Turtle Cay Public Library (1862), Abaco and Governor's Harbour/ Haynes Public Library (1897), Eleuthera.

National Library and Information Services

National Library and Information Services was established in 1999. Its main role is to unite the public libraries in New Providence and the Family Islands into one modern, automated system offering quality, standardized services in all islands.


To access a library system with a full complement of staff, possessing skills and competencies to meet the information and technological age of the 21st century. Our motto is 'Quality staff and service are hallmarks of good public libraries".


To provide ready access to quality resources and services for all persons throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in order to meet their intellectual, information and cultural needs; and to promote a spirit of sharing, cooperation and commitment to quality services among all stakeholders.