National Trust of Guyana

National Library

Table of Contents

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Location: South Cummingsburg, Georgetown
Classification: Community
Period/ Year Built: 1908-1909

Historical Background / Description:
The National Library is located with its main façade facing the junction of Church Street and Avenue of the Republic and is partly bordered by Main Street, Cummingsburg, Georgetown. The library was previously known as the Georgetown Public Free Library. The institution was opened on September 1, 1909; it was designed by Mr. Leonard Percival Hodge, a Civil Engineer attached to the then Public Works Department of British Guiana. The building was funded by the Scottish born American industrialist and philanthropist Mr. Andrew Carnegie and was first known as the Carnegie Building.

In 1935, the upper floor was added to the wings of the building through continued funding from the Carnegie Corporation. This was done to make provisions for the British Guiana Museum and its collection. When the new floor was completed, it was determined that only half of the exhibits from the museum could be accommodated. Therefore, only the Economic Science, Anthropological and Historical sections of the museum were housed in this building. In 1951, the Museum moved to its new building and the floor was returned to the Library. In 2001, the library underwent further extensions. The two-storey masonry building (Carnegie Building) is designed in the shape of a cross with elements of both Victorian and Georgian architectural styles that was popular in Great Britain. Some notable features of the building include its large vertically pivoted windows, quoins, the close boarded curved ceiling and its huge internal bifurcated timber staircase.