I have a confession to make. In all the years I’ve been coming to Green Turtle Cay, I had never been into the Public Library. There’s no special reason – I just always seem to run out of days on the cay before I run out of things to do there.
Determined to rectify this omission, however, I made a point of stopping by earlier this year and volunteer Aylin Zafer was kind enough to give me the grand tour.
First off, the library is much larger than it appears from the front! And it offers not only a generous selection of fiction, non-fiction and kids books, but DVDs and jigsaw puzzles as well – making it a perfect rainy day destination.
There’s a paperback exchange, where you bring a book and take one away, as well as a computer and printer available for public use.
Aylin says that approximately 1,500 guests visit each year. And she shared with me some fascinating information about the building in which the library is housed.
After outgrowing its original modest home in the corner of the post office, the library moved into its current location, a two-room building known as the Cookhouse, just east of the town administrative buildings.
Built of quarry stone sometime around 1840, the Cookhouse is one of the oldest buildings on the cay. It’s believed to have been part of a complex that, prior to the 1932 hurricane, included a 1,200-seat Methodist church and two cottages that stood where the Administrator’s Office and Police Station are now.
At the back of the smaller of the two Cookhouse rooms was an original rock oven and fireplace. The larger room was likely a dining room.
In the mid-1980s, the Green Turtle Cay Foundation renovated the Cookhouse, replacing the floor, ceiling and plaster, but maintaining the historic oven and fireplace. They left a small part of the old wall exposed so that the original quarry stones remains visible.
In 2007, as the library continued to grow, an additional room was added to the west side of the structure.
Funded exclusively through donations and run by volunteers Jackie Patrick, Patricia McIntosh, Donna Darville, Lana Williams and Aylin Zafer, the Green Turtle Cay Library is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Saturday mornings from 9:00 am to noon.