Island Resources Foundation's Library Holdings
An underlying premise for all of the Foundation’s work has been the recognition that, in small islands, information is the basis for informed decision making about the environment. Thus, when Island Resources was first organized in St. Thomas , U.S. Virgin Islands in the early 1970s, an early priority became the acquisition of documentation focused on environmental topics related to small islands, especially those in the Caribbean region.
Over time, in excess of 10,000 documents, books, unpublished reports, maps and photographs on insular ecosystems, historic and scenic places, tourism, coastal resource management, marine pollution, land use management, parks and protected areas, marine recreation, beaches, coral reefs, coastal erosion, environmental impact assessment, environmental planning, species and other resources undergoing change were assembled at the Foundation’s headquarters in St. Thomas.
In addition to collecting documentation on priority subject areas, at both an island-specific and Caribbean-regional level, each of the nearly 200 discrete projects the Foundation has developed and implemented has involved the assembly of vast amounts of more detailed data and information, significantly adding to our library holdings year by year, island by island, project by project.
As the Foundation’s library became better known among neighboring islands, regional institutions, government agencies and international bodies, and as the Foundation developed its own publication series, exchange arrangements became possible, which also added to the Foundation’s ability to acquire new materials for its library collection.
In the Caribbean , the IRF library has remained unmatched. To help keep track of this expanding collection, in the early-1990s the Foundation, in cooperation with the Eastern Caribbean Center at the University of the Virgin Islands, catalogued a part of the Foundation’s library using CDS-ISIS library cataloguing software (from UNESCO via ECLAC licensing). Materials catalogued at that time primarily focused on the Caribbean geographic collection and included approximately 40 percent of the shelved materials.
SATELLITE LIBRARY IN WASHINGTON, DC
While the library in St. Thomas continued to grow, a satellite library was established in the mid-1980s at the Foundation’s Washington , DC office. Approximately 25 percent of the primary library holdings are now available at the Washington facility. Call 202/265-9712 to make an appointment to use the Washington library, which is available to researchers on site; it is not a lending library.
ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION CENTER IN THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
|Pictured above is Dr. Edward Towle in the Island Systems Environmental Information Centre in Road Town , Tortola ( British Virgin Islands ). Dr. Towle, the founder of Island Resources, was also the “father” of the Foundation’s library, nurturing the development of this unique reference collection from the Foundation’s earliest years to his death in 2006.|
By the mid-1990s, the Foundation’s library collection in St. Thomas had totally outstripped the organization’s ability to properly house it at our facility in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Foundation began to explore options for the future Development of its unique and valuable library and to address the immediate problems of housing and access.
The solution lay across the Sir Francis Drake Channel in the British Virgin Islands where a partnership emerged between the Foundation and the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Tortola . In 1997, the Foundation donated its regionally recognized library to the College and transferred it to Tortola . For a decade, the Island Systems Environmental Information Centre continued to be managed by the Foundation at a facility provided by the College in Road Town , pending its eventual relocation to the College’s new Learning Resource Centre at its Paraquita Bay campus.
How Does the IRF Library Fit Into the College’s Overall Development?
- Firstly, the library’s strong emphasis on marine resources and on coastal and marine resource documentation on islands in the wider Caribbean region will permit the immediate dedication and use of the library in support of the applied marine studies program at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.
- Secondly, the library’s organizational structure and partially computerized catalog system make it user friendly to students, faculty, external consultants and visiting researchers alike.
- Thirdly, the library’s holdings on island systems, carrying capacity, pollution control, natural resource management and human resource Development in all major sectors constitute a uniquely accessible array of new and improved environmental planning tools for both public and private sector leaders and Development practitioners in the British Virgin Islands . This will in turn strengthen and enhance the public service role of the Community College regarding the formulation and implementation of improved public policy regarding sustainable Development.
What Makes the Island Systems Environmental Information Centre Distinctive?
- Its unique SMALL ISLAND focus.
- Its use of environmental issues, resource problems and Development planning needs as a focusing device.
- Its interdisciplinary scope and open architecture.
- Its emphasis on ecosystems as an organizing framework.
- Its emphasis on access to historical data for setting environmental baselines, tracking environmental indicators and quantifying environment change.
How Is the Island Systems Environmental Information Centre Organized?
- Conceptually within an ISLAND ECOSYSTEM management base (i.e., island + coast + sea + people + institutions).
- Geographically (or spatially) with an emphasis on places, landscape assemblages and resources (e.g., BVI, watersheds, marinas, reefs, hotels).
- Topically , focusing on information needed for decision making about resource use, resource impacts, and resource management (e.g., marine pollution, tourism impact, Development).
The shelved materials of historical and contemporary books, documents, journals, reports, articles, bound and unbound impact assessments, and miscellaneous reprints fall into two major categories:
- Caribbean Geographic Group consisting primarily of the countries and territories of the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States), plus the wider Caribbean .
- Caribbean-specific or Island-generic Subject Matter and Topical Documentation grouped as major themes or issues, for example, tourism, marine pollution, coastal resource management, planning guidelines, coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass, lagoons, beaches, sand mining, monitoring, coral reefs, watersheds, climate change.
Library & Office Services and Information Retrieval Fee Schedule
For Visiting Consultants and Independent Researchers
[An appointment will allow the Foundation to assign a staff member for the use of the library;
minimum half hour fee payable before departure.]
* US$25/hour Caribbean-based non-profit firms and government agencies
* US$50/hour ` All other firms and agencies
RESEARCH ASSISTANCE: Foundation Staff
* US$25/half.hour routine shelf search and document retrieval
* US$20/hall.hour computer search (printouts @ US$ 1.00/page)
* US$50/holf.hour senior staff consultation, search and document retrieval
* US$20/hour staff time for photocopying and binding
PHOTOCOPYING PAGE RATE
* US 25 cents per page, up to 100 pages |
* US 20 cents per page, over 100 pages
Additional charge for over-sized maps, plates, fold-out pages.
BINDING WITH PLASTIC COVERS (optional)
* US$3.00 per document under 1/2" thick
* US$4.00 per document over 5/8" thick
* US$5.00 per document over I" thick
Handling and shipping charges are additional. Please specify preferred method or carrier.
Access to desk space with computer/printer can be provided on a space available basis at a
rate of US$25/person/day.
NOTE: The above rates do not apply to Island Resources Foundation's own publications and documents (see "List of Publications" at in this web site for items produced and distributed by the Foundation). These rates also do not apply when the Foundation is an affiliated partner, consultant or subcontractor to a specific project or program, or when the investigator is a graduate student engaged in dissertation or thesis research.