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Community : Sir Charles Hayward Library Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

About The Sir Charles Hayward Library
By Robbin Whachell, Editor, The Bahamas Weekly - Written in 2006
Aug 16, 2006 - 10:18:48 PM

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About the Sir Charles Hayward Library

Situated in the downtown area, on Mall Drive, the lending library is most definitely a Pillar of the Community. The Sir Charles Library stands next to the Rand hospital directly across from the Port Authority building. With its humble beginnings back in the early 1960s, the library began out of the Savoy building, in a small room lent by the Grand Bahama Port Authority, and was only open for three half-days a week. Books were solicited from the UK via newspaper ads and donations were shipped in or left behind by visitors.

Organized and gifted by Mrs. Dorothy Rand, in July 1966, the library moved to the John Harvard Medical Library and was aptly named (like the Medical Library) the John Harvard Lending Library because her husband, James Rand was a Harvard Graduate. Over the years, Sir Jack was instrumental in the donation of thousands of books to the library.  In 1983, Mrs. Rand asked Sir Jack for the Grand Bahama Port Authority to take over the library expenses, and she suggested renaming the library in honour of his father. Later that same year, Shandra Tuccio, the late Dorothy Rand’s daughter, handed over the responsibility for the library to Sir Jack and the Grand Bahama Port Authority.


One of the library’s greatest assets is Mrs. Elaine Talma, who began working at the library in 1985, and who is still there today. Not only is she a wealth of information on the background of the library, but she knows every nook, cranny and resource at the facility. In 1994, the auditorium side of the building was turned into the Children’s Library and is overseen by Josephine Zonicle.


Today, the library has approximately 40,000 books in its collection. Library cards can be purchased for an annual fee of $15.00 for adults (children $10.00), and one is allowed to take out 3 hardbacks, 6 paperbacks, 6 magazines, one audio book, one music tape/CD, and one DVD/video. With only four paid employees, the library functions with the kind support of volunteers. Donations support their collection and are always appreciated. Currently the library has 7000 paperbacks that volunteers have impressively logged into their computer system for easy reference. Duplicated donations are sold in the Book Sale room in the back of the library also helping with funding.


The library has become a historical resource center with copies of the Freeport News from the1960s to date. Thus far they have been subject indexed from 1961 – 1965. There are also some historical videos of Grand Bahama that can be viewed at the library. They also keep the minutes of many local government meetings. The listening library holds old LPs, CDs and cassettes (great classics), as well as books on tape can be enjoyed on premises or can be taken home.


They have a microfiche reader, a TV/VCR unit, as well as two computers (for use by adults) for a charge of $2.50 an hour, and are hooked up to the internet. Besides internet service, the newest resource available is the DVD selection which began from donations by the Freeport Film Society, but continues to grow daily from other sources as well. Films on DVDs or video can be rented for $2.00 for a two week period. This has become a popular service at the library.


WISH LIST - The power of asking for what you need. On occasion and from its beginnings, the library has posted articles in foreign papers to ask for books etc. and each time they have been affective, resulting in wonderful donations. Today’s current wish list is as follows:

  • A larger TV/VCR Unit or TV and a VCR
  • One more computer
  • A handheld scanner to assist with the continuance of digitally scanning all the Freeport Newspapers
  • Resource books
  • Volunteers

The Library’s Hours of Operation are as follows:  Monday - Friday 10am – 5pm, and Saturdays: 10am – 2pm. They can be reached at 352-7048. The Children’s library is 352-3524. Their new email address is: haywardlibrary@coralwave.com .





"Book lovers will understand me, and they will know too,

that part of the pleasure of a library lies in its very existence."
~ Jan Morris


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