Frequently Asked Questions - The National Library of Jamaica

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the National Library of Jamaica?

The National Library of Jamaica is concerned primarily with the collection and preservation, organization and provision of access to all publications relating to Jamaica and Jamaicans. These include publications produced in Jamaica as well as those produced outside of the island.

Where is the National Library of Jamaica located?

The National Library of Jamaica is located at 12 East Street Kingston, we may also be found on the Internet at

Is there another branch of the National Library?

No. There is no other branch of this library. The National Library of Jamaica is a special library and is the only one of its kind in the country.

What makes the collection at the NLJ special when compared to other libraries?

The National Library of Jamaica holds resources that are rare, some dating as far back to the 1500s, but there are contemporary materials in the collections as well. The National Library of Jamaica is not a library that individuals can join or borrow books from for home use. It is a library for research and study.

What kinds of research can I do at the National Library of Jamaica?

Any information about Jamaica, its people and its heritage may be obtained at the National Library. There is information about the West Indies and the wider world at the National Library but mainly as such relates to Jamaica. Government documents such as Gazettes, Proclamation Rules, Bills and Acts may also be found in the National Library of Jamaica’ s collection.

If I cannot physically visit the NLJ for information how else may I obtain what I need?

Requests for information may be emailed to
or a letter may be sent to:
Coordinator, Research and Information
National Library of Jamaica
12 East Street, Kingston

Why can’t I use my pen when conducting research at the Library?

The use of pens is strictly prohibited in the library. The National Library of Jamaica is concerned with preserving the documents it holds, ink from pens not only damages materials but also leaves lasting marks on original documents.

What are the various collections that may be found at the National Library?

The National Library of Jamaica holds collections of: books, maps, manuscripts, newspapers, photographs, audio-visual materials, posters, calendars, prints, postcards and event programmes.

What are the names of some of the newspapers found in the collection?

Newspapers found in our collection include The Gleaner, Western Mirror, Children’s Own, The Observer, Morning Journal, X-News. This list is not exhaustive many other newspapers are to be found in the NLJ’s collection.

How far back does the Newspaper collection date?

The Newspaper collection at the National Library of Jamaica dates back to 1718. During this period Jamaica’s first newspaper the Jamaica Courant was being published.

Can I photocopy the maps, manuscripts, prints or photographs?

No. Light from photocopy machines deteriorates these materials. However, if there are no copyright or preservation restrictions on an item the requested material can be copied through scanning.

What type of materials does the manuscript collection contain?

The manuscript collection contains unpublished materials such as estate journals, diaries, letters and birth certificates. This collection holds the birth and death certificates of Marcus Garvey, private papers and correspondence of Donald Sangster, a diary of Norman Washington Manley, literary works from Una Marson and Anthopological Research by Lilly Perkins and many other documents from other Jamaicans.

What kinds of photographs are in your collection?

The photograph collection includes pictures of prominent Jamaican personalities as well as places and outstanding events. A few of the photographs found in this collection include the opening ceremony for world Cup Cricket 2007 held at the Trelawny multi-purpose stadium, photographs capturing the aftermath of Hurricane Dean and many other interesting pictures.

How far back does the map collection date?

This collection goes as far back as the 1500’s, with 15th century maps of Jamaica, Cuba, Central America and the Caribbean.

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or call us on  (876) 967-1526 or (876) 967-2516