GT public library reopens

The Cayman Islands Public Library in George Town reopened its doors this month after extensive post-Ivan renovations.

John McKibben

John McKibben checks out books. Photo: Submitted

‘I am delighted to welcome readers back to our improved facilities at the original location on Edward Street,’ Library Director Benedicta Conolly said in a press release.

She noted that the temporary library on Dr Roy’s Drive is now closed.

Readers of all ages can now enjoy a collection of some 24,000 books. Work is continuing to replace the reference and biography collections which were completely destroyed during the 2004 hurricane.

Learning technology enhancements are also anticipated, including ADSL links for transferring electronic files and a complimentary ‘hotspot’ Internet connection which will be provided by Cable and Wireless for library patrons.

The George Town facility’s hours are 10am to 6pm weekdays, and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays. The cost of a library card remains at $2 per year for adults, while children’s membership continues to be free.

The restored library facility now boasts a new standing-seam roof, new shelving and new wheelchair ramp access. The floor has been raised six inches and there is now an interior book return in addition to the outside book drop, which reduces waiting time for users.

To add to recent improvements, the Library Committee is planning an extension for the main library in George Town, which should be started later this year, the release said.

The multi-million dollar funding for this large-scale project was provided by donations from corporate and individual benefactors, most notably local law firm, Maples and Calder.

The recently-completed renovation work was carried out by various contractors working under the supervision of the government’s Public Works Department.

One of the library’s most distinguishing features, its ceiling (designed as an inverted ship’s hull by the late Captain Rayal Bodden), remains as it was when the library first opened in 1940. The building was designated a National Historic Site in 1995.

Improvements and renovations also continue in the district libraries, including West Bay, where the district’s first custom-built public library is progressing well.