The Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS), through its National Heritage Library, will contribute to the Digital Library of the Caribbean project from its small but diverse collection, including maps, postcards, rare books, newspapers and stamps.
The BNLSIS was influenced by British practices in public library services, and originated from subscription libraries of 1825 to the 1935 period.
In 1935, a free national public library service was established as the Jubilee Library. Renamed the British Honduras Library Service in 1960, the National Library Service received its name in 1966 by a legal amendment. The BNLSIS Act was passed in 2006 which provided an update to the name and the autonomous function of the institution.
In its early years, the system attempted to serve locations countrywide, but due to lack of finance and expertise it was not until 1955 that reorganization started. Branch libraries were established in the district capitals, the government significantly increased its annual grant between 1955 and 1960, and the first professional librarian was appointed in 1955.
The BNLSIS recognized early in its history the important roles that information and communication could play in enabling it to meet its mandate to users. In this relation it committed itself to acquiring relevant technological capabilities to allow it to improve delivery of services and provide new ones for the future.
The growth and development of the BNLSIS was rapid, and was driven by strong community support, which is testimony to the public respect held for knowledge and information in Belize.