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The West Indies and Special Collection Brochure

The West Indies and Special Collections (WI&SC), established in 1974, bring together in one Section, a number of the Library's special and unique research Collections.  The Elsa Goveia Reading Room, the reading area for consulting    material from the Collections, is located in an extension which was added to the south of the Main Library building in 1988.  In 1989, the reading room was named in   memory of the late Professor Elsa Goveia, outstanding West Indian historian and the first female to be appointed a professor at the University of the West Indies

West Indies Collection
Emphasizes -
 The English-speaking Caribbean; the teaching and research programmes of the University.  

Geographical coverage - all the West Indian islands, Bermuda, Guyana, French Guiana (Cayenne), Suriname and Belize and the Caribbean diaspora.  Includes:  Books, pamphlets, theses, microforms and other material in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Special Collections
These collections include:

  •  Rare Book Collection

·  Old and rare books and       pamphlets on the Caribbean.

·  Old periodical titles

·  Non-West Indian rare books and pamphlets.

  • Manuscript Collection

Diaries, estate journals, land transfers, letters, ships' logs on the West Indies, literary manuscripts

  •  West Indian Creative Writing

  •   Special Editions 

  • Microform Collections

  •  University Collection

  • Map Collections
  •  Calendars, Postcards, Posters, Prints.
  • Audio-visual Collection

  Catalogues and West Indiana Database

  •  OPAC lists material in the West Indies  and  Special Collection
  • Card Catalogue in WISC
  • Card catalogue of UWI Theses in author/title and subject sequences.
  • The West Indiana Database is an online index to articles found in   non-West Indian and selected West Indian Journals, chapters from books, conference papers, off-prints and pamphlets.  It can be        accessed through the  Library’s web-page.


Use of Material 

  • Users must complete a request slip and wait for the item to be fetched.
  • Undergraduates should request available  West Indian material from the Reserved Book Collection (RBC).
  • Readers are responsible for items issued to them and should not leave material unattended or pass on such material to other users.
  • All items issued from WI&SC must be used in the Elsa Goveia Reading Room.
  •  Material from the Collections may be photocopied with permission and in  compliance with copyright regulations.
  • Readers using manuscripts, maps, photographs or theses are required to sit at designated tables.
  • Readers must not mark, deface or damage any book or other Library material.  Please use pencils, when consulting material from the Special Collections.

Treasures from the Library

  • Diaries and letters, for example, West Indian Journey, February 17 - June 10, 1944, the  diary of Sir Raymond Priestley.  The diarist records his experiences as a member of the Committee on Higher Education in the West Indies, which made recommendations concerning the establishment of the University College of the West Indies.
  • Literary manuscripts of Caribbean writers, of which the major holdings are the manuscripts of Michael Anthony, Erna Brodber, Wilson Harris, John Hearne, Orlando Patterson and Derek Walcott.
  • Photographs of the University of the West Indies including views from the 1950's which capture and document its early history and developments. Many are the work of Amador Packer, outstanding Jamaican photographer.
  •  Prints include Album Pintoresco de la Isla Cuba, a rare and valuable volume of coloured prints depicting nineteenth century Cuba.



Mon. - Fri.:  8:30 a.m. - 6:00 am.

Saturdays:   8:30 am – 12midnight

 Special Collections

Mon. - Fri.:      8:30 am - 10:00 pm

Saturdays:        8:30 am  -  4:00 pm

Sundays: closed

The Library is closed on Public, University Holidays,  on the   Saturday during the Easter Weekend and   half day on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.






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