Online Library Cadet Booklet

Contents  (Download Booklet)

  1. Preface
  2. History of Libraries
  3. Types of Libraries
  4. A Brief History of Libraries in The Bahamas
  5. National Library and Information Services
  6. Vision and Mission
  7. Goals and Objectives
  8. An Overview of Recruiting and Training
  9. Academic Qualifications
  10. Developing Skills for Future Careers in Librarianship
  11. Activities to Reinforce Learning
  12. Benefits of the RTLC Programme
  13. Evaluation
  14. Conclusion
  15. References


This booklet provides information for library cadets and persons interested in the information technology and related professions. It contains pertinent subjects such as history of libraries, and more specifically, a brief history of libraries in The Bahamas along with the National Library and Information Services vision, mission, goals and objectives that serve as background information for future librarians in the Recruiting and Training Library Cadets (RTLC) Programme.

Knowledge of the institution of libraries and the profession of librarianship is essential not only for present employees but also for potential employees of the library and information field. This is especially true, since in recent years, libraries have been intermarrying traditional services with new technologies for more effective and efficient service.

History of Libraries

The history of libraries began approximately around 3000 B.C. in the areas of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers called the Fertile Crescent. The earliest libraries were found in Babylonia, Assyria, Greece, Egypt and Rome.

During 1500 to1800, there was an increase in literacy and libraries throughout Western Europe. For example, in Germany, town libraries were established providing popular reading for its citizens. Great Britain established municipal libraries in the 1600s and passed the first Public Libraries Act in 1850.

The first American public libraries were begun in 1803 in Salisbury, Connecticut. However, it was not until the 1850s that the Boston Public Library was established and publicly supported in the manner that we are familiar with today. American libraries mirrored the growth of those in Europe from 1500 to 1800. Like Europe, many private collections laid the foundation for university libraries such as Harvard and Yale and the national library, the Library of Congress.

Types of Libraries

The four main types of libraries are:

  1. School Libraries
    These were developed during the 20th century so as to provide materials to support the curriculum. They also provide students with the basic skills needed to use libraries effectively.
  2. Academic Libraries
    These are found primarily in colleges and universities. They support the curriculum and provide and preserve information and resources for papers, research projects, thesis and dissertations.
  3. Special Libraries
    Special libraries provide research and information needs of special groups of people for example, physicians, lawyers, scientists and artists. Special collections can be found in banks, engineering and shipping firms, hospitals, research laboratories, law offices and art galleries.
  4. Public Libraries
    These are the most common type of libraries. They serve all sectors of society. The general collections provide information for:
    • answering queries
    • leisure reading
    • research projects
    • class assignments
    • self improvement
    • general education

National Libraries

Many developed and emerging countries have national libraries. The main aim of a country's national library is to preserve and safeguard the national culture and heritage and fulfill the informational needs of its society.

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.

Goals and Objectives

  1. To provide training as an ongoing process to maintain quality service in the public library system.
  2. To increase the quota of professional librarians by providing opportunities for them to receive in-service awards to pursue a master's degree in library science.
  3. To increase and strengthen staff at central administration level.
  4. To have new library legislation passed to ensure that library personnel matters regarding pensions and other benefits are satisfied.
  5. To employ qualified librarians and other library workers to fill key areas of service in the public library system.
  6. To expand story hour and annual summer reading programmes to at least seventeen (17) public libraries in the country.
  7. To standardize services in public libraries in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
  8. To further the development of the Central Technical Services at the Wulff Road Public Library.
  9. To provide extended opening hours for all public libraries.
  10. To have public libraries services automated to provide faster and more efficient service.
  11. To expand and maintain Web site.
  12. To compile a union catalog for the public library system.
  13. To create a national bibliography.

An Overview of Recruiting and Training Library Cadets (RTLC) Programme

The concept was discussed as early as 1994 as plans for a Teachers Cadet Programme was being implemented. In response to a call for projects by Information For All Programme (IFAP), UNESCO, the project entitled Recruiting and Training Library Cadets for a Sustainable Bahamas was submitted in February 2005, and was approved in April of the same year.


Its main purpose is to motivate young men and women to make librarianship a profession of choice. Realizing that the profession is graying, some tangible and proactive steps need to be taken to recruit and train vibrant young people in the field of information that is growing by leaps and bounds.

The time has never been so ripe for students with information, communication and technological skills to play a vital role in society. Libraries and information centres are ideal places to not only demonstrate such skills but also to acquire information literacy skills that are crucial to succeed in the 21st century.

The main objectives of the programme are:

  1. To increase the cadre of qualified library staff in The Bahamas;
  2. To identify promising intellectually capable young men and women who wish to choose professions in library science and information technology;
  3. To sensitize the Bahamian society to the important and critical role of library and information professions in the nation.

Academic Qualifications

Cadet Librarian/Library Page

High school education should be in progress. The library page must be able to file materials within the appropriate classification scheme, particularly the Dewey Decimal Classification System with Cutters. As with all employees, library pages must be able to courteously refer patrons/ clients to the appropriate service desk or area.

Five (5) Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) subjects with grade C or above including Mathematics and English
A cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0

General interest in all subject areas

Potential to succeed in the profession of librarianship or media specialist.

  • Ability to understand and follow oral and written instructions in English at an eighth (8th) grade level.
  • An awareness of the purposes and functions of the public library and the ability to learn routine library procedures.
  • Requirement of twenty (20) hours at an assigned public library.

Physical Qualifications

  • Ability to push and pull library book trucks.
  • Carry up to fifteen pounds (15 lbs) of books across the library.
  • Stand for a long time in one area.
  • Bend and stretch to reach high and low shelves.

Developing Skills for Future Careers In Librarianship

Topics to be covered:

Definition of a library

Public or user services

  • Reference using printed/and electronic resources
  • Databases
  • CD-ROM
  • Research
  • Circulation of books and library materials

Technical Services

  • Acquisitions
  • Book processing
  • Classification/cataloguing using the Dewey Decimal Classification System
  • Newspaper clippings/vertical file

Areas of Skill and Concentration

  • Projects a positive and pleasant attitude to the public and cooperates and maintains an effective relationship with other staff members as part of a team.
  • Shelves library materials.
  • Locates requested items.
  • Puts books in order on shelves
  • Assists staff with checking materials for damage and removing them from the shelves.
  • Stamps and pockets new materials for circulation.
  • Stamps date due cards.
  • Adheres to library policies and procedures.
  • Performs any other tasks as requested.

Activities to Reinforce Learning

  • Mentoring from supervisors and others
  • Educational videos promoting librarianship
  • Journal writing
  • Big 6 information skills
  • Focused groups
  • Field trips/tours to libraries, museums and The Archives

Benefits of the RTLC Programme

Your country needs you. There is a growing shortage of library workers and librarians in The Bahamas. When you help others, you help yourselves.

  • Participants will receive a stipend
  • Knowledge and experiences
  • Eligible to receive partial tuition to pursue an associate's degree in library science


The duration of the pilot Library Cadet Programme in conjunction with UNESCO is one (1) year, targeting 10th to 12th graders of Secondary High Schools in The Bahamas. During the programme and at the end of the first year, Heads of Departments will assess and determine participant's interests, propensity for librarianship. Section Heads will receive the assistance of library supervisors who will be required to closely observe, monitor and evaluate the students' performance and progress. The ideal length of a sustainable programme is three years.

The following methods of evaluation would be included:

  • Short quizzes (oral and written)
  • Essays involving research
  • Hands on library work experience


It is anticipated that this inaugural Library Cadet Programme would pave the way for young men and women to begin a rewarding career in library and information science and encourage others to enter into a field that is vast with much potential for self growth and development.


American Library Association Committee on Accreditation (1992) Standards for Accreditation of Master's Program in Library and Information Studies. American Library Association. Available:

Brennen, N. (2001) Unpublished Paper on Library Development in The Bahamas

Chernik, B.F. (1992) Introduction to Library Services.

Kratz,C.E & Platz, V.A. (1993). The Personnel Manual. An Outline for Libraries 2nd Ed. American Library Association, USA.

Stueart, R.D, Moran, B.B. (1998). Library and Information Centre Management 5th Ed. USA.