Yesterday, the Alma Jordan Library at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine celebrated 10 years since its renaming.
The Alma Jordan Library’s collection stretches as far back as 1898, and includes serials and journals from the late 19th century. Prior to 1960, it fell under the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA) and was located in what is known today as the Old Admin Building.
The Library’s collections grew when ICTA became part of the University of the West Indies in 1960. Alma Jordan, the Senior Assistant Librarian at that time, underwent the gruelling task of organising the Library’s varied collections during those early years of UWI St. Augustine’s existence. Between 1959 and 1965, the Library’s book collection tripled in size, making storage an issue.
In 1962 when the library of the Federal Government also moved to UWI, Alma Jordan reclassified everything under the Library of Congress system. This UWI Library eventually moved to its current location—a building on the JFK quadrangle that was designed with the input of Alma Jordan and completed with funds donated to the University of the West Indies by the United States in 1969.
The Library has been known by many names throughout the years, for example as “The John F. Kennedy Library’ and then “The Main Library.” It was not until 2010, when UWI St. Augustine celebrated their 50th Anniversary, that it was decided to rename the library once again. On February 28th, 2011, it officially became the Alma Jordan Library in recognition of Alma Jordan’s efforts as the first campus librarian.
Photo showing the Alma Jordan Library in 1969 from the book, “From Imperial College to University of the West Indies” by Bridget Brereton. This book is part of the NATT Reference Library.
References: Brereton, Bridget. From Imperial College to University of the West Indies: a History of the St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago. Ian Randle, 2011.
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