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British Honduras -- Jubilee Public Library Service
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v. : ill., tables. ; 34 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Libraries -- Belize ( lcsh )
Libraries ( fast )
Belize ( fast )

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Belize National Library Service and Information System
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Belize National Library Service and Information System
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06811939 ( OCLC )

Full Text
No publication of extracts from this Report should be made until it has been laid on the Table of the Legislative Assembly.
The Jubilee Public Library was established in 1935. In spite of adverse conditions during
the war years, its progress and expansion continued. Marked improvement began after 1949.
This could be seen again throughout 1954.
There were two outstanding events during the year in the development of local public
library services: the central library was moved to one floor of the new Baron Bliss Institute; to coincide with this event, Mr. L. H. Bradley, a member of the library staff, having attended Library School in the United Kingdom, gained professional library qualifications
with the (British) Library Association.
The Jubilee Public Library Committee, established to determine the policy of the public
library service under Ordinance No. 37 of 1935, consisted of:His Excellency the Governor, SIR PATRICK M. RENISON, K.C.M.G. (Chairman),
The Colonial Secretary, Hon. Mr. T. D. VICKERS, M.A.,
The Director of Education, Mr. E. B. V. BROWN, B.A., L.C.P.,
The Resident Tutor of the University College of the West Indies, Mr. R. FARLEY,
B.A., B.Sc., Dip. Ed.,
W. H. COURTENAY, Esq., O.B.E.,
L. P. Ayuso, Esq., J.P.,
Mrs. 0. R. KIEFFER, M.B.E., and,
Captain Monrad S. Metzgen, O.B.E., E.D., J.P., ably discharged the duties of Librarian and Secretary to the Committee throughout 1954.
This he had done for the past twelve years; and on his retirement from his duties at the
end of the year had achieved much in developing the public library services. Fitting tribute was
paid to Captain Metzgen by Committee members.
Mr. Leo H. Bradley, A.L.A., the Clerk to the Librarian, was away in Manchester,
England, until early August. Mr. Bradley had acquired preliminary library training in Jamaica in 1950, and in Trinidad in 1953. He then proceeded to the United Kingdom to study at the School of Librarianship, College of Technology, Manchester, with the help of a British Council Scholarship. At the end of his studies in Manchester, he sat and passed all parts of the Registration Examination of the Library Association. Mr. Bradley travelled extensively visiting libraries while in the United Kingdom. He was elected an Associate of the Library Association
in October.
During Mr. Bradej'.sence the regular conduct of the library service largely fell on Miss
Alice Gibson, AssistantClerk. Throughout the year, wW L4brary had to move its central
stock to a new building, she carried on capably.
Other members of the library staff included Miss Avis Cargill, Miss G. Young, Miss G.
Bradley, Miss C. Simon, Miss M. Reynolds, Mr. W. Warrior (who became Caretaker of the
Bliss Institute building in June), and Mr. J. Warren.

The central library in Belize contained the following departments:-Lending Library, Reference Library, Children's Library, a Local Collection and a Reading Room. At other service-points there were appropriate collections of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Juvenile and Re ference books. There was reading accommodation at the Punta Gorda Library, and at the Placencia and Garbutt's Creek Sub-Libraries., A small stock of Spanish books was maintained in the Lending Library. The non-fiction bookstock remained classified by the DZwey Decimal Classification.
The Jubilee Public Library Committee has devoted most of its efforts to the central library and headquarters in Belize. Soon after its establishment in late 1935 however, sub-libraries were started in the other main towns of British Honduras-El Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, and Punta Gorda. These have been managed by busy civil servants in the Government administrative offices. After a time, these sub-libraries became dormant and scarcely known of by the community. During 1953, a start towards their resuscitation was made, when the Punta Gorda branch was expanded. During 1954 this branch,, by its activities, proved that improvement along the lines followed could be made similarly for the other town branches; and the Committee at a meeting in December, 1954, decided that the time had come to attempt a general improvement of the district town libraries.
Apart from these service-points, the Committee maintained sub-libraries at Gallon Jug and Placencia, directly supervised by the school teacher in each settlement. The Garbutt's Creek Sub-Library, established on the headquarters site of the Department of Agriculture. continued its progress, its stock being augmented by a supply of books to the Listowel Boys Training School. A Sub-Library at the Belize Prison was also established towards the end of the year. A total of ten service-points therefore existed during 1954. While statistics on district service-points always tended to be irregular, some figures on their activities are included in relevant parts of this Annual Report.
The bookstock of the library service consisted of 14,281 volumes at the end of the year, distributed in the following categories:Adult Fiction .. .. .. .. .. 5,699
Adult Non-Fiction .. .. .. .. 5,975 Reference .. .. .. 737
British Honduras Collection .. .. .. 412
Juvenile .. .. .. .. .. .. 1,458
During the year 1,747 volumes (584 Non-Fiction and Reference, 450 Fiction and 713 Juvenile) were added to stock. About 100 volumes were discarded, and donations totalled 329 volumes. These donations included 139 volumes from the British Council, a gift which has continued for several years. The total book-fund for 1954 was about $900.00.
Bookstock remains too small to develop a country-wide library service successfully, and the book-fund cannot afford any substantial increase of stock. This makes book selection quite a problem.
Members wishing to take out books for home-reading continued to pay the annual subscription of fifty cents (2s. 6d.) during 1954. This subscription entitled them to the loan of two books at a time. This facility was free to juvenile members, and was also not enforced strictly in the case of the branch libraries. Reading and study facilities in the Library remained completely free. The following are the figures for the Library's membership:Juvenile Adult Total
1953 .. Belize only .. 364 592 956
1954 .. Belize Library .. 600 594 1,194
Out-district .. 231 149 380
831 743 1,574

These figures include only people who borrowed books for home, reading, and not those who read in the Library. The change to new quarters in Belize affected an increase in juvenile membership, and it was soon noted that accommodation for the Children's Library was inadequate.
The following figures give an idea of book issues during 1954. For the first time a fairly accurate figure of issues in the branches could be ascertained.
Juvenile Adult Non- Total
Fiction .Fiction
1953 ..Belize only .. 8,279 15,049 3,804 27,132
1954 ..Belize Library .. 11,733 14,085 4,343 30,161
Out-District .. .. 2,795 1,322 4,117
Issue figures can be misleading at times in ascertaining the true work of a public library, The provision of much popular light fiction at the expense of recent non-fiction works can tend to send up issue figures. While the Jubilee Public Library has attempted, however, in spite of its small book-grant, to select new books to cater for all tastes, the figures above tend to show a gradual increase in the reading of non-fiction books among adults. This increase has been noticed over the past few years. Students attending evening classes and using the public library have, no doubt, contributed to this increase in non-fiction reading. Of the non-fiction issue of 4,343 books, the number of History, Geography and Biography works totalled 1,761; books on Literature totalled 478, and the Dewey figure of 300 (including general sociology, economics, law, etc.) drew an issue of 625 books.
It is pleasing to note too that the issue of children's books has increased considerably. The removal to the Bliss Institute affected this; and the decision of the Library Committee at the end of the year to move the Children's Library into a separate building, will tend to make this important department of the public library more spacious and better able to afford more facilities to juvenile members.
The use of the public library cannot be judged solely through membership figures and books issued for home-reading. The number of citizens who use the Reading and Reference Departments continues to grow. This occurred in both Departments, and the added number of students using the latter was quite noticeable. A modest selection of British and American periodicals is found in the Reading Room. With the removal to the Bliss Institute, these Departments found much more pleasant surroundings, and the number of users, can be expected to increase. The only statistics kept of the use of these Departments is a count every hour of the number of citizens using them. This has not been kept in the district. service-points having reading accommodation. The number of "visits" thus recorded in the 'central 'library was 36,996 for 1954. As to the use particularly of the Reference Library, it was noted that of a total of 3,375 "visits" made during November, 1954, 1,483 were to the Reference Library. The following gives an idea of the increase of visits by readers:1950 ..15,554 1953 ..31,407
1951 ..22,963 1954 ..36,996.,
1952 ..27,865
The Jubilee Public Library Committee has always attached much importance to the. encouragement. of juveniles to become. members of the. Library, and the year 1954 was no exception. It is with satisfaction therefore that the increase in membership and book issuesfrom the juvenile departments can be noted in the relevant sections of this Annual Report. The small bookstock of the Children's Library in Belize, while always a problem, became acute towards the end of the year.' For a time additional membership "had to be~ disco araged.

During 1954 it was possible to spend $482.75 on the rebinding of books. This enabled
some 900 books to be repaired. Parts of the bookstock of the Library have deteriorated because of insufficient rebinding from year to year. It is hoped that the annual pace of rebinding can be speeded up in future years. Bookstock in the juvenile departments has deteriorated quickly for obvious reasons.
The central library in Belize had been maintained, since its establishment in December,
1935, in the building in North Front Street so kindly placed at the disposal of the Committee by Mr. R. S. Turton, J.P., of Belize. In the Bliss Institute, however, constructed from a grant by the Baron Bliss Trust, was a floor partitioned into a circular room for a Lending Library, an office for a Librarian, and convenient spaces for other departments of the public library. The Jubilee Library Committee proceeded to remove the Belize Library therefore into these "ultra-modern" quarters. These were busy days for the few staff members, and it redounds to their credit that it was possible to remove some 13,000 books and re-arrange them in the Bliss Institute with the Library only closing to the public for one day. At a brief ceremony held on the morning of the 3rd June, 1954, the Library was opened in the Bliss Institute by Lady Renis on, wife of the Governor. The first book issued in the Children's Library was done by Lady.Renison, while Mrs. Olive R. Kieffer, M.B.E., a member of the Library Committee for many years, issued the first book from the Lending Library. This Opening was recorded accordingly in the local press.
The layout of the Library in the Bliss Institute is most pleasant. In the circular Lending Library, fiction books are arranged along the wall, while island-shelving, suitably constructed, carries the stock of non-fiction books. The Reading Room and Reference Libraryare most convenient; and the Librarian has a viewv of all public departments from the office. Book space will become a problem, when the bookstock increases substantially in size, but then this will be alleviated most likely by the opening up of branches as Belize expands. The Library section in the Bliss Institute is on the first floor, while the modern tendency is to have the public library at street level; but this has not proved inconvenient so far. It is undoubtedly true that the new quarters will act as a stimulus for an increased membership and for a growing use of the public library by citizens. The Library Committee therefore records its gratitude to the Baron Bliss Trust for this substantial mile-post in the development of public library services in British Honduras.
The Library continued to arrange displays of books, and displays of book-jackets of its recent acquisitions in an increasing manner in the Belize Library. Frequent reference was made to the library service in the local press, and the Library is grateful for 'this cooperation. "4Adventure in Books", a radio programme conducted for a long time over the former Radio Belize by the Library staff, was begun again towards the end of the year through the courtesy of -the British Honduras Broadcasting Service. While the public library service is becoming more known and used in Belize, greater publicity must be done in the districts, as soon as a better service can be expanded to them. In a country with compulsory elementary education for, many years past, the urge for reading should be satisfied and intensified by use of and service by the public library. Publicity has increased this use, especially in Belize. The Committee is grateful for help received in this direction.
The total income of the Library during 1954 was approximately $6,300. ,Of this amount $5,550 came from a Government Grant, and $500.00 accumulated from annual subscriptions and fines for late return of books. On the expenditure side, approximately $900.00 was spent on books, $480.00 on repair of books, and $3,500.00 on salaries. The balance went to other library expenditure. Although the original Government Grant was $5,000.00, an extra subvemntion of $550.00 was kindly voted by Government towards the end of the year in order to balance the Library budget. An audited statement of the Library's accounts for the year is
*incorporated in this Annual Report.
IThe finances show once more the small amount allocated for such a very important item as the purchase of books. This has restricted development of the library services throughout

ii .........~ iiii ~ iiii~ !: : ... . .
....... ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ......... ......iii i i i......... i .. .
A frontal view of the Bliss Institute
A section of the charging desk in the Lending
Library, Bliss Institute
Captain M. S. METZGEN, O.B.E., E.D., .P.
Librarian 1942-1954
A reading table in the Children's Library, Bliss Institute

the country. Salaries also were inadequate. The question of expansion into an efficient, country-wide library service will make an increase in income imperative.
Again during 1954 almost complete emphasis was placed on the serv ice in Belize. Service in the branches, and expansion of service had perforce to be restricted. Neither funds nor bookstock would allow for this. Too few books were being allocated to the branches, and indeed the need for building up a more representative bookstock in the central library, now that more students and groups were beginning to use the public library, was keenly felt. Nineteen hundred and fifty-four showed more than ever that the Jubilee Public Library was evolving from an institution used mostly for recreational reading, to one catering for the search for knowledge and for information. This was a good sign. The time had come too, first to discharge a better service to the branches in existence, and then to expand the service to other suitable communities. The Committee remained restricted by inadequate funds, however. More could not be accomplished with what was voted. With the removal to new quarters in Belize, the development of the Punta Gorda Library, and the increase in book issues and readers, the Committee is encouraged in hoping that the good work of the public library service thus shown is being felt more and more, and its potentiality for cultural and educational enhancement recognized and sympathized with. The activities during this year, therefore, have added to the long cherished hope that in future years, the library income will be a more generous one, so that the public library will be able to play, in a growing manner, its adequate part in Belize and throughout British Honduras.
The Jubilee Public Library received willing cooperation from various directions during 1954. 1 must, on behalf of the previous Librarian, record appreciation to Government, to the Information and Communications Department, to the Colonial Postmaster, to the British Council, to all who have generously donated books, and to the many citizens who have used and have come to regard the public library service as a very necessary amenity to the cultural progress of the country.
The small staff had a very busy year, with one officer away, and with the change of premises for the Belize Library. Without their loyalty, willingness and efficiency, a truly successful "library year" would not have been possible.
1 st May, 1955. L. H. BRADLEY,
L ibrarian,
Secretary of the Committee.

1953 1954 1953 1954
$ $ $ 0 $
12.90 Art Exhibition 296.25 Annual Subscription 279.50
339.72 Electric Light and Telephone 297.43 Donations 482.87
176.66 Insurance 334.15 5,000.00 Government Grant 5,550.00
239.90 Miscellaneous Expenses 197.76 12.52 Interest (Savings Bank) 4.42
209.65 Printing and Stationery 274.25 224.06 Fines 209.79
62.83 Pictures, Maps and Frames 1,488.75 Surplus and Deficit
127.34 Periodicals 161.44
- Removal of Library 119.28
3,407.00 Salaries and Wages 3,535. 09
117.02 Sub-Libraries 78.00
289.92 Training of Staff
2,038.64 Depreciation: 1,203.55
Building and Land $466.87
Books 312.80
Furniture 423.88
Surplus and Deficit 325.63
$7,021.58 $6,526.58 $7,021.58 $6,526.58

Liabilities Assets
50.00 Stock (Stamps) 50.00 105.62 Cash: 67.51
- A. Gibson 1.32 On hand 7 61
40.00 Deposit-Punta Gorda Library In Bank 9.90
15,775.92 Surplus and Deficit 16,101.55 Stamps 50.00
Fixed Assets
4,394.78 Books 5,773.25 5,943.20
Plus Bookbinding 482.75
Less Depreciation 312.80
9,337.41 Building and Land: - 8,870.54
Less Depreciation 466.87
1,563.17 Furniture and Fittings - 1,271.62 16,085.36
Plus Repairs 63.69
Less Depreciation 423.88
270.84 Insurance
194.10 Investments
$15,865.92 $16,152.87 $15,865.92 $16,152.87
Examined, in accordance with the Jubilee Library Ordinance No, 37 of 1935, Section 28, Certified Correct:
Principal Auditor. Librarian,
31st March, 1955, 31st March, 1955,