From left to right: Ms. Lorraine McLean, Regional Director, Jamaica Library Service;
Ms. Thelma Bartley, Chairman; His Worship the Mayor, Councillor Donovan Mitchell
and Mr. Winston Palmer, Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation
The Manchester Municipal Coratation donated the sum of $100,000.00 to the Manchester Parish Library during the Corporation's meeting held on Thursday, October 12, 2017. This donation is in recognition of the 80th Anniversay of the founding of the Manchester Parish Library.
The Manchester Parish Library grew out of the Manchester Free Library, which was initiated by the Reverend Walter Lewis in 1937. A Free Library is one where no subscription fees are paid.
The realization of this Free Library in 1938, was made possible through the provision of a building by the Parochial Board of Manchester at Pepper Corn rental, a gift of $200.00 from the late Dr. George Hargreaves, as well as the support and enthusiasm of a group of civic-minded citizens.
The new building was constructed in 1968. The Manchester Parish Council donated the site at Hargreaves Avenue across from the Hargreaves Hospital, $25,000.00 towards construction and $4,000.00 for furniture and equipment.
Alongside his role as Mayor of Mandeville and Chairman of the Manchester Parish Council, the iconic Cecil C. Charlton served as Chairman of the Manchester Parish Library Committee for 40 years. He was the longest serving Chairman in the history of the Jamaica Library Service. The Library for the most part of his tenure, remained under the Ministry of Lcal Government. During this period, the support from the Parish Council was phenomenal and become the envy of many other parishes.
With the shift of the Library Service from the Local Government to Central Government, the municipal support dwindled significantly over the years. However, all Municipal Corporations across the island remain represented on each of our 13 Library Committees. Here in Manchester, His Worship the Mayor, Councillor Donovan Mitchell, along with Councillors Iceval Brown and McArthur Collins represent the Manchester Municipal Corporation on the Library Committee. Former Mayor Brenda Ramsay served as member until she demitted office and current JTA General Secretary Byron Farquharson served as Chairman.
Library Committees are formal Boards which add to the management structures of each parish library and they are answerable to the National Board of the JLS.