Title: Leafing through the history of Philipsburg Jubilee Library
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094096/00001
 Material Information
Title: Leafing through the history of Philipsburg Jubilee Library
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Philipsburg Jubilee Library
Publisher: Philipsburg Jubilee Library
Place of Publication: St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
Publication Date: 2009
Copyright Date: 2009
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094096
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Leafing through the history of Philipsburg Jubilee Library

Philipsburg Jubilee Library was founded on 23 November 1923, the year in which Queen Wilhelmina
celebrated her silver jubilee. Hence the name Philipsburg Jubilee Library. The initiative to set up a library
was taken by W.R. Plantz, C.M. Darrell, C.C.G. Philipszoon, A.C. Wathey and C.A. Beaujon, who
recognized the necessity and importance of reading by all. The first books were purchased with money
donated by some of the wealthier people on St. Maarten. A big problem was the absence of a permanent
building. Time and again the library was moved around in order to make room for offices, schools, etc. In
these early days the library was run exclusively by volunteers.

Some time in the late 1950s or early 1960s the St. Maarten Cultural Centre started a Dutch children's
library, also run by volunteers. When a qualified librarian, Blanca Hodge, moved to St. Maarten in 1967,
the then lieutenant governor, Mr. Jappa Beaujon, decided the two libraries should merge, keeping the
name Philipsburg Jubilee Library. The new library was to be run by a board consisting of members of
both libraries.

Mrs. Blanca Hodge started her new job in January 1968 by making quite a few changes. She catalogued
the books and merged the members' records from the two separate libraries. At the time the library was
housed in the same accommodation as the courthouse, where marriage ceremonies were also often
conducted. Though sometimes interesting, this was hardly ideal. This situation ended in August 1968,
when the library moved to a new building, together with the St Maarten Cultural Centre. In 1974 an extra
member of staff was taken on and from 1978 the number of employees grew to the current number of 13.

Vision and mission

Vision of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library is to be the gateway for information in the St Maarten society and
to provide basic conditions for lifelong learning, independent decision-making and cultural development of
individuals and social groups in our society.

The following key missions are at the core of the service of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library:
1. creating and strengthening reading habits in children from an early age;
2. supporting both individual and self conducted education as well as formal education at all levels;
3. providing opportunities for personal creative development;
4. stimulating the imagination and creativity of children and young people;
5. promoting awareness of cultural heritage, appreciation of the arts, scientific achievements and
6. providing access to cultural expressions of all performing arts;
7. fostering inter-cultural dialogue and favoring cultural diversity;
8. supporting the oral tradition;
9. ensuring access for citizens to all sorts of community information;
10. providing adequate information services to local enterprises, associations and interest groups;
11. facilitating the development of information and computer literacy skills;
12. Supporting and participating in literacy activities and programs for all age groups, and initiating
such activities if necessary.

The following figures serve to give an impression of the library's development throughout the years:
employees collection members books checked out

1958:50 1958:900

1959: 1,300

1968: 1

1969: 2,000 1969: 250

1979:4 13,000 1,500 44,700

1983: 10 24,300 3,100 75,000

1987:12 35,000 3,000 76,610

1997:12 58,746 4,479 71,784

1998:12 61,223 4,513 67,785

1999: 12 62,396 4,668 97,129

2000:12 64,877 4,838 120,675

2001:12 68,807 5,497 120,011

2002:12 69,338 5,475 114,908

2003: 12 60,710 5,169 114,090

2004:12 64,085 5,269 117,789

2005:12 58,273 5,269 118,251

2006:12 53,834 5,377 118,591

2007:12 59,348 5,115 91,536

It is obvious from these figures that quite soon the "new" library of 1968 became too small. As early as
1978 plans for a new building were emerging, but it took until 8 April 1983 for Miss Berthilde Carty and
Miss Clemmy Carty, both pioneers in library work on St. Maarten, to lay the corner stone for the new
premises. On 10 March 1984 the library moved to its new building on Ch. E. W. Voges Street, which was
more than 20 times the size of its previous accommodation. The new library opened its doors to the
public on 2 April 1984. From then on the card catalogue was superfluous as Philipsburg Jubilee Library
became the first library in the Netherlands Antilles to be fully automated. In 1997 the internet found its
way into the library, making it possible for every library member to become familiar with this medium, and
on the occasion of its 75 jubilee, the library could be found on the World Wide Web.

(From: Philipsburg Jubilee Library website, retrieved 5 August 2009,
http://www.stmaartenlibrarv.ora/librarv historv.htm)

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