Corporate entry: National Library of Solomon Islands
- Alternative Names
- Library Services
- Solomon Islands Public Library
The National Library of Solomon Islands was established in 1974 with the aim of reorganising existing library services and extending reading services to the entire nation. The Library was responsible for creating a National Union catalogue of all holdings in the Solomon Islands and for collecting material relating specifically to the Solomon Islands. The post of National Librarian was created, filled on secondment by an adviser from New Zealand, Sally Edridge. Discussions were held about forming regional libraries and purchasing reference books and adult and children's fiction books.
Small batches of library books were issued to government stations in the mid-1950s, but the service did not extend to villages. In 1957, funded by the South Pacific Commission, a 2,500-book travelling library was prepared to circulate around the Protectorate, packed in twenty-four strong, waterproof boxes fitted with carrying handles. The books, for both adults and children, were carried to villages during District Commissioners' tours and changed over on subsequent visits. In the 1960s these mobile libraries were still circulating, distributed through Local Government Councils (q.v.) and primary schools. (NS Mar. 1959, 21 Apr. 1966, no. 8, 1968; Allison 1959)
The Solomon Islands Public Library, situated near the Mataniko River just outside of Chinatown in Honiara, was opened by Rev. Charles Fox (q.v.) in August 1968. Ramodua Nosokuru became librarian after a one-year course at Administrative College in Port Moresby. There were 2,500 books, with enough space to house twelve thousand, a number reached by 1974. Users increased fast: in 1970 there were 782 expatriate members and 403 Solomon Islander members, the later number having tripled over the previous year. By 1974, there were 2,881 total members. The library also operated a lending service to district outposts, and there were 187 borrowers on outstations in 1970. Many people other than registered borrowers used the reading room in Honiara, where newspapers, magazines and illustrated books were popular. In January 1972, the Solomon Islands Public Library was amalgamated into the Department of Information, Broadcasting, Museum and Library Services.
One of the most useful books ever published on Solomon Islands was created by Sally Edridge of the National Library: the Solomon Islands Bibliography to 1980 (1985), which contains 476 pages of invaluable references.
Other libraries existed in the educational institutions; Kohimarama had a theological collection and there was a new library at the University of the South Pacific Solomon Islands Centre. (NS 13 Dec. 1967, 31 Aug. 1968, 30 Nov. 1968, 28 Feb. 1970; AR 1970, 53-54, AR 1971, 61, AR 1974, 112; Hockey 1980)
- Edridge, Sally, Solomon Islands Bibliography to 1980, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific; Alexander Turnbull Library; Solomon Islands National Library, Suva, Wellington & Honiara, 1985. Details
- British Solomon Islands Protectorate (ed.), British Solomon Islands Protectorate News Sheet (NS), 1955-1975. Details
- Allison, W.A., 'A Travelling Library for the Solomon Islands', South Pacific Commission Quarterly Bulletin, vol. 9, no. 3, 1959, pp. 38-39. Details
- Hockey, Sidney, 'The Solomon Islands National Library', `O`O: A Journal of Solomon Islands Studies, vol. 1, no. 1-2, 1980, pp. 113-118. Details
- British Solomon Islands Protectorate, British Solomon Islands Protectorate Annual Reports (AR), 1896-1973. Details