Historical Overview of the Forde Library, University of the Southern Caribbean, written by Petronetta Pierre -Robertson

The first official library was established in La Realista to supplement the shortage of textbooks.

April 1928
It would appear that donation of several copies of the books “Patriarchs and Prophets” by Elder D.D. Fitch, the then President of the South Caribbean Conference to a night class in Old Testament History was the genesis of library services. That same year the College Board voted $200.00 for the purchase of textbooks to be loaned from the Library.

1928 - 1930
The First official library is established in the old estate house named La Realista, with Mrs. Inez Hamilton doing the groundwork for the commencement of library services.

Mrs. Smith performed several duties one of which was College Librarian.

A new college hall was erected and opened. The Library occupied the southern end.

President Stenberg, the then College President, temporarily assumes the responsibility of the Library on Mrs. Smith’s departure.

1944 – 1948
Mrs Edith Baerg serves as Librarian. (Mrs Perry may have also served sometime during this period). Some student workers included Leola Weithers, Hazel Boyce, Gwendolyn Hutchinson and Gritley Joseph.

1951 – 1953
Mrs Lucy Kum, a full time teacher, carried the additional responsibility of Librarian assisted by Gritley Joseph 14, who later in life took up Librarianship as his career of choice.

1955 – 1959
The Library was made more serviceable to the faculty and student body. Large holdings of books and periodicals were acquired which catered for major departments of the college. There was a significant growth of holdings. Pearl Shorey (DeCarmo), the then school Registrar was also asked to assist as librarian.

1962 – 1966
Individuals who assisted as Librarians were Miss Myrle Isaac, Mrs Sheila Arthur, Mr. Clayton Henriquz, and Mrs Lorraine Crowder. Norma Greaves, Maureen Burke, Iris Stewwart and Leroy Alexander served as student workers during this period.

Lorraine Crowder serves as Librarian.

1968 - 1971
Maureen Burke serves as Librarian.

Breaking of the ground on the western side of the old College Hall for the new library building -- first campus building to be constructed since 1927 without student labour.

The library moved into its new home. It occupied the second storey of the new building. The then Librarian was Joyce Forde, who served till 1975.

1975 - 1999
Ms. Norma Greaves, a former student worker in the 1960s, acted as Librarian while carrying a full load of teaching in the Biology Department. She was then sent to pursue the Masters Program in Library Information Management (1981-1982). On her return in 1982, she occupied the position of Director of Library Services and during a 24-year period, holdings increased to 28,000(1986), the functions of Circulations was automated because of a computerized program developed by Joel Jean Francois(1990s); the George Carlington Simmons Collection was opened (1988). There was a physical expansion of the Library to occupy both floors of its present location after other offices were removed; volume count rose to 36,000, and collection also included bound periodicals, vertical files, newspaper files, microfilm, microfiche, maps, pictures, audio cassettes, videocassettes (1993 – 1994); housing of the reference section of the library in the vacated chapel obliquely opposite the main library (1996); Acquisitions of CD-Rom and Infotrac abstracts and theological abstracts (1996). In addition, photocopying services were also introduced.

1999 to 2018
Director of Library Services: Petra Pierre-Robertson. Holdings continue to upgrade and increase and now stand at 50,000 (2007); The acquisition and implementation of an Integrated Library Management System facilitated the automation of all library functions and the disbanding of the card catalogue (2005); provision of web services of e-journals and e-books through various providers totalling 35 databases and access to over 74,000 e-books (2001 to present); printing services for patrons (2002); development of a Graduate Collection (2007); physical expansion of the George Simmons Collection with new design (2006); acquisition of electronic security system (2001); development of a West Indian Collection (2000), movement of Circulations and expanded Reserve Collection to ground floor main library (2001); change in the organizational structure and creation of subsequent positions in the Library, inclusive of Library Attendants, Library Accounts Clerks, Library Assistants, Library Systems Administrator and Librarians, leading to an increase in staff to 21 full time employees, (2000 – present); inclusion of library instruction in the classroom curriculum(2003); organisation of Freshmen Orientation through scheduled classes (2010); Love your Library Marketing initiative (2009); member of the OCLC family (2010); provision of federated searching to patrons (2011); cadre of staff includes 3 professional librarians (2011); upgraded security system, use of barcode for provision of library services including loans, photocopying, printing, holds and recall, accessing remote services, upgrade of LMS (2012) Use of RFID technology and Self Check (2013) Self-Check Services ,the digitization of newspaper clippings, documents, remote service delivery to patrons(2015). Instruction was delivered to extension campuses remotely via Zoom, Library resources were integrated into the LMS of the university and real-time chat via ask-a-librarian (2016).

2018 to Present

Director of Library Services: Stacyann Quintero. Digital Transformation of the library, fully online service delivery, enhanced social media presence, the upgrading of ask-a-librarian additional online reference services in real-time chat on WhatsApp, Implementation of interlibrary loans and online payments via credit card.