UNIVERSITY OF GUYANA
The University of Guyana was established in April 1963 and began its operations in October of the same year with a batch of 164 students in temporary premises loaned from Queen’s College in Georgetown.
Programmes were at first confined to the Arts, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. However, in 1967, a Faculty of Education was established and this was followed by the establishment of the Faculties of Technology in 1969, Agriculture in 1977, and in 1981, the Faculty of Health Sciences, prior to the establishment of which programmes in Health Sciences were offered within the Faculty of Natural Sciences. A Forestry Unit was established in 1987. In 2002, the Faculty of Agriculture was renamed the Faculty of Agriculture & Forestry. In 2003, the Faculties of Arts and Education merged to become the School of Education and Humanities.
At its inception, only general degree programmes were offered by the University, but from 1966, Certificate and Diploma level programmes were introduced. The first graduate programme – A Master’s Degree in Guyanese and West Indian History was started in 1973. This was followed by Master’s programmes in Biology and Education in 1976, Chemistry and Economics in 1977, Political Science in 1978, and Geography in 1984. A Graduate Diploma in Development Studies was also introduced in 1984. From 1975, the University began accrediting programmes run by sister institutions in the Commonwealth Caribbean. A Training Programme for Medical Practitioners was launched in October 1985.
The University occupied its present site at Turkeyen in October 1969. The tuition fee of $100 per annum was abolished in 1974. However, in the 1994-95 academic year the University introduced a Cost Recovery Programme. Students are currently required to pay G$127,000 per annum. This does not apply to Communication Studies, Law, Medical, and Tourism Students who pay $200,000, $300,000, $500,000 and $154,000 respectively.
In 1975, participation in National Service was made a requirement for persons wishing to pursue programmes at the University; however, in 1994 approval was given by the Cabinet for the abolition of mandatory National Service for students at tertiary level education institutions.
In the 1993-94 academic year the Semester System was introduced in the Faculties of Education and Social Sciences. This system was introduced to the remaining Faculties in 1994/95.
Within the past five years five years a number of new programme have been introduced, including Masters Degrees in Administration, Bachelor degrees in Pharmacy, Optometry and Dentistry. The University also certifies affiliated programmes. The Health Sector is the main beneficiary of this facility.
In 2005 the meritorious position of Distinguished Professor was instituted. Professor Clive Thomas is the sole holder of this distinction.
In 2009 the first Emeritus Professors were installed.
The current enrolment at the Turkeyen Campus is in excess of 5000 students pursuing more than 60 under-graduate and post-graduate programmes. To date, more than 15,000 students have graduated and gone on to sucessful careers both locally and internationally
THE GUYANA NATIONAL LIBRARY
With a rich history of constant evolution aimed at bringing literacy to the Guyanese public. The National Library boasts five branches, 21 centres, four prison services and 14 bookmobile stops located on the East and West Banks of Demerara as well as on the East Bank of Essequibo, the Library has engaging innovative measures to achieve its mandate.
The Church Street, Georgetown facility was constructed in 1907 with a £7000 grant provided by entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie.
On December 23, 1907, the first meeting of the Provisional Committee appointed by the Governor, Sir F.M. Hodgson, was held to give effect to the proposal to establish the Public Free Library for Georgetown in a building to be erected from the funds provided by Andrew Carnegie. Understandably the facility was named the Carnegie Free Library when it first opened its doors.
It was later renamed the Georgetown Public Free Library, then the Public Library. In September, 1972, the Library Ordinance was amended which saw the name Public Library being changed to National Library with dual responsibility for National and Public Library Services. The Library was, and still is, managed by one centrally controlled library authority, the National Library Committee, a semi-autonomous statutory library body with operations financed mainly by Central Government.
Ordinance No. 12 of 1908, called the Georgetown Public Free Library Ordinance, was enacted on July 8, 1908. The Ordinance provided for the maintenance of the library to be undertaken jointly by the Combined Court and the Mayor and Town Council of Georgetown.
In September, 1909, the Library, with reading room, lending and reference facilities, was opened to the public. An ornamental iron grille separated the public from the books. On the outer side of the grille was a table with a printed catalogue chained to it, and books were borrowed by consulting the catalogue, writing the titles and numbers of the book required on a request slip and handing it to a Librarian through a small window in the grille. This was the closed access system.
In 1909, there were 57,000 books and 1,500 members. Today, that number has grown to approximately 421,984 and 191,790 respectively.
In 1933, through a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the building was enlarged to provide accommodation on the upper floor for the British Guiana Museum. The Museum occupied this space from 1935 – 1951.
After its relocation the library benefited from the acquisition of this additional space to facilitate the required re-organisation and expansion of the service.
Later a plan was formulated for developing and extending the library service. As a result of this centres and branches were opened at various locations across the country, a children’s section was established at each. Collections were also provided to schools without library facilities.
Additionally, the Library took over the Prisons Service from the Red Cross on December 1, 1966. This service is still provided to the prisons at Georgetown, New Amsterdam. Mazaruni and Timehri. Prison Officers are trained to manage these collections.
The first serious consideration was given towards the establishment of a mobile library service in 1966. This project was realized in 1970 when the Ministry of Overseas Development presented a gift of a mobile service through the British High Commission. The mobile service was first extended to Tucville, then the Peter’s Hall area, and later other areas.
The acquisition of a new bookmobile in 2006 has since expanded the service points on the East Bank and West Banks of Demerara.