St. Thomas 𑁋 With the rise of personal computers, phones, tablets, and the internet, shelves of encyclopedias appear to age more quickly in the 21st century. But that doesn’t mean that libraries around the world have become obsolete, they’ve actually added more resources and have become more useful in a rapidly changing world.
Here are a few things to know about the Charles W. Turnbull Regional Library on St. Thomas:
1. It has an Auditorium & a Children’s Area
The regional library on St. Thomas is three stories high and hosts a cozy auditorium that’s open to the public for special events and presentations. The library also has a conference room that was once open to the public. The auditorium is located on the first level and the conference room is located on the third floor and has a panoramic view of Tutu, FourWinds Plaza and portions of the mall.
Because the Department of Planning and Natural Resources manages libraries throughout the territory, employees relocated to the regional library after their main headquarters suffered damages during hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.
DPNR now occupies the first and third floors of the library. The second and third floor once served as a reading and working space for visitors — today, visitors are limited to the second floor and the auditorium when public events are in session. The children’s section is stocked with books, games and a tiny play area.
2. Wifi and Library Cards are Free
Like most places in the 21st century, WiFi access at this library is free. The library has two public WiFi networks for visitors to enjoy. With two networks to choose from, visitors rarely experience slow speeds and can switch networks if one appears congested during peak times.
Your first library card is free. If you are receiving a library card for the first time in the U.S. Virgin Islands, you won’t pay any fees. If you’ve lost your library card, you will have to purchase a replacement card to check out books, DVDs and use the computer lab.
3. Not Just Books, You Can Also Check Out DVDs
The regional library on St. Thomas has thousands of books available on its shelves. Employees working at the public library mentioned that they stopped taking book donations because they’ve reached maximum storage capacity.
Librarians noted that visitors with a valid library card can check DVDs out of the library in the same way they check out books.
4. It’s Home to One of the Territory’s Public Archives
The regional library above Tutu Park Mall is home to one of several pubic archives in the U.S. Virgin Islands — specifically the Van Scholten Collection for Caribbean history and research. The archive has access to newspaper clippings headlines from decades ago, natural disasters and details about U.S. military expansion in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Some stories published by State of the Territory News in the past included information sourced from the Van Scholten Collection. Similar collections exist in Denmark that chronicle the history of the Danish West Indies and the American transfer.
Material and documents in the archives cannot be checked out of the library.
5. There is a Herbal Garden Out Front
There is a herbal garden that includes Mexican mint, papaya, and a number of plants that can be used for tea, spices or special dishes.
The library is public and funded by taxpayers, so it’s fair to assume that the garden is also open to the public.
6. Business Professionals and Scholars Use the Space Regularly
A staggering number of people have never been to the new public library on St. Thomas. People have also said that they assumed the facility was a government building for employees.
Library visitors check out books, apply for jobs in the computer lab, trade stocks, and options, teach courses, launch brands and plan for the future. State of the Territory News was conceptualized, formed and launched in the Charles W. Turnbull Regional Library back in 2017.
7. It’s Named in Honor of former Governor Charles W. Turnbull
Governor Charles W. Turnbull served two terms as the sixth elected governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands from 1999 to 2007. Prior to being elected in 1998, he was a professor at the University of the Virgin Islands, Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Education, principal and assistant principal of Charlotte Amalie High School, and a teacher in elementary and secondary schools.
Turnbull can sometimes be spotted at the public library conducting research on archived documents in the Van Scholten Collection.
8. Vitran Busses Will Drop you Right at the Front Door
Every Vitran bus that leaves town — crossing Raphune Hill — includes Tutu Park Mall in its route and regularly makes trips to the public library. The library is located on the highest point at Tutu Park Mall.
Buses drop passengers off and pick them up at the front door of the library during business hours.
9. Your Library Card Gives you Access to the Computer Lab
Your library card gives you instant access to over a dozen computers in the library’s lab. Visitors apply for jobs, update professional resumes and conduct research this studious location.
10. Find the Regional Library on Google Maps
You can find more information about the public library and find directions by searching for it on Google Maps. The map location can be found below.