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Florence Williams Public Library Now Open

Few places come to mind when thinking of spaces that are as integral to community as the public library. We go to the hospital when we’re sick, we go to school to learn, and we go to the library when we want to explore. It’s a place to quietly congregate, fostering community with a safe space, access to computers and the internet, video and audio tapes, and, of course, books. The reopening of the Florence Augustus Williams Public Library in Christiansted is not just an event; it’s a celebration of community, culture, and education.

Mural of St. Croix wildlife by Barbara Gelardi

An Essential Public Space

The Florence Augustus Williams Public Library, closed for renovations and repairs due to damages caused by Hurricane Maria, has long been a cornerstone of Christiansted, and its reopening marks a significant milestone for downtown and the island as a whole. This reopening is a recommitment to our community’s future. It’s a promise that the library will continue to be a place where everyone can come to learn, explore, and find solace. Whether you’re a student seeking a quiet place to study, a researcher delving into local history, or a parent looking for a safe place for your children to discover the joy of reading, the library is here for you.

Moko Jumbie display in the Spanish-language section of the library

Libraries, in many ways, are akin to parks and public green spaces. Where one offers open access to the natural world, the other provides a place for exploring our inner worlds. The Florence Augustus Williams Public Library has always been a bastion of freedom and knowledge. As children, many of us first experienced the joy of independence while roaming through its stacks, discovering the power to find answers and lose ourselves in stories. 

Mural of St. Croix wildlife by Barbara Gelardi

A Celebration of Local Culture 

The renovated library is a vibrant reflection of our Crucian culture. Local artists have adorned the walls with colorful portraits of many of the local bird species, and the flags of the nations of the Caribbean are paired with their respective official birds. This infusion of art and culture not only beautifies the space, but also serves as a reminder of our rich heritage and the diverse community that the library serves. The murals, and the many framed paintings by renowned Crucian artists, are worthy of a trip to the library in their own right. And be sure to make an appointment to visit the Special Archives on the third floor, where old newspapers from the early 1900s can be found alongside treasured novels and photobooks by local authors and photographers, as well as other seminal texts by writers and scholars across the Caribbean.

Painting by Mark Austin

A Cool, Indoor Respite

In today’s world, the role of the library extends beyond just being a repository of books. As the days get hotter, having air conditioning makes the library an important space for public safety. Often, libraries are the only places where people most at risk of heatstroke or other heat-related illnesses can find refuge. Global climate change has made the necessity for these havens even greater. The Florence Augustus Williams Public Library is equipped to provide this critical service, ensuring that our community has a safe and cool place to go during extreme weather conditions. 

Painting by Anselm Richards

Looking to the Future

The Florence Augustus Williams Public Library is more than a building; it’s a pillar of our community. Its reopening is a testament to the enduring value of public spaces that nurture both the mind and the spirit, and resilience and determination to survive even the most powerful storms in order to thrive once again. As we celebrate this momentous occasion, let us remember the importance of supporting and preserving such vital institutions. Welcome back, Florence Augustus Williams Public Library. We’ve missed you.

How You Can Support the Library

All you need to get your library card is a government issued ID and proof of residency. It takes only five minutes, and with your new card you can check out any book (outside of the special archives) to bring home, as well as access to the computers and internet within the library. If reading physical books isn’t for you, there are thousands of audiobooks, magazines, movies, tv shows, and educational content online at, where you can sign up for free with your freshly printed library card!

-Hera Sey


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