The Role of the Library Today
The Priaulx Library remains free, but its role has become more specialised. It houses the Island’s local studies collection, with a large number of books, photographs, maps and other documents about all aspects of Guernsey life and history, supported by relevant volumes from elsewhere. It is the main repository for the Island’s collection of newspapers, going back to their first production in 1791. It is also the principal centre for genealogical research in the Island, and provides a service to expatriate Guernsey people and their descendants. It contains a number of distinct, and significant collections, including a large body of works concerning military history. The focus of the Library is very much the story of Guernsey and her people over the centuries, up to the present day.
Reaching Out to the Community
The Priaulx is Guernsey’s library. Schools visit regularly, courses are provided for the College of Further Education, student research is actively assisted, and the Library answers requests for information from commercial undertakings. It participates in the worldwide inter-library loans scheme. It works closely with the Guille-Allès Library in order to complement each other’s activities. The Priaulx is an international ambassador for the Bailiwick of Guernsey, through its contact with libraries and individuals all over the world. Through its comprehensive website at www.priaulxlibrary.co.uk it reaches out overseas, and the Library is linked with the Guernsey Grid for Learning.
Why does the Library Need Assistance?
The Priaulx has had a great deal of success in recent years with the recruitment of hard working, professional librarians, supported by able staff. Much progress has been made with cataloguing, rationalising and ordering the collections, particularly the newspaper and photographic collections. Although the States of Guernsey, through the Education Department, maintains the building and provides an annual grant towards basic running costs, the Library has to be run on a tight budget; resources of money and staff are very limited. As a consequence there are many projects and aspirations which remain to be realised. The States have given assurances that anything contributed by the activities of the Friends will not affect the existing States support.
About the Library
The Priaulx Library originated in 1889 from the bequest of Osmond De Beauvoir Priaulx, who gave his Candie Estate, including Candie House, to the people of Guernsey, with the condition that a free public library be set up, and to which he donated his valuable personal library. It holds extensive Guernsey local studies, family histories and genealogy collections.