Volume 7 (December 2023) The DLIS at 50: Reflecting, Reshaping – Embracing the Future

The State of School Libraries in the Caribbean

Ruth Baker-Gardner

Published 2024-06-27


  • Caribbean,
  • Caribbean public libraries,
  • school libraries,
  • school library media centres,
  • library policies,
  • library services,
  • library staff,
  • primary education,
  • secondary education
  • ...More

How to Cite

The State of School Libraries in the Caribbean. (2024). Caribbean Library Journal, 7, 93-126. https://journals.sta.uwi.edu/ojs/index.php/clj/article/view/8995


In the Caribbean, the school library might be an individual’s first exposure to library services. Therefore, generally, the quality of library services offered within schools is critical to the students’ earliest perception of library services. This article presents an overview of the state of school libraries in the Caribbean by focusing on the elements of effective library service including policy and legislation, funding, administration, staffing, resources, services and users. It is informed by data collected through a survey of school library provision in 10 territories in the English-speaking Caribbean. The findings revealed that school libraries in the Caribbean are still being impacted by historical factors, the foremost of which is their genesis as part of the public library service. Policies to guide the delivery of library services were generally absent, and although school libraries in some territories have experienced some improvements, for the most part, limited resources, inadequate staff and lack of integration of ICT has resulted in these libraries not been able to provide the support needed by schools.