My aunt Diane, who has far more experience moving to new places than I, always said that one of the best ways to start feeling comfortable in a new city was to find the library, and get a new library card. It not only makes you get out and explore the city, but introduces you to a few local residents. And most libraries have a decent shelf of books about the area, and by local authors.
Finding the library in some cities, though, is harder than in others. I knew the BVI main library was on Fleming Street, in Road Town, but the first time I tried to find it, I drove the length of Fleming Street four times and never spotted it. When I returned to look a few days later, the third pass finally revealed the location of the library to me:
The Main Branch of the BVI Library is above the Riteway (or, as the letters say, the Rit Way Ood M Ket) downtown on Fleming Street. I swear the banner advertising its location in this picture was not there in August when I was trying to find the place.
A serious set of stairs on the left side of the Riteway lead upstairs, to the set of five rooms that constitute the library. The Circulation Desk and a Conference Room take up the front two rooms, while the remaining three are devoted to the Reference Section, Children's Collection, and Adult Collection, respectively. There is also small alcove off of Circulation that is called the "Women's Reading Room", and almost exclusively contains books about housekeeping and child-rearing.
The Adult Collection, by far the largest of the rooms in the library, constitutes about 800 square feet of fiction and non-fiction, along with a few study carrels. There is no card or online catalog, as it's generally pretty easy to find the subject you're looking for among the scant shelves seen below:
Despite the relatively small size, my explorations of the fiction collection, especially, have been frutiful, revealing many books that I wasn't able to find among Punta Gorda's considerably more extensive stacks. The small size also means that, if we stay here long enough, I might actually be able to achieve my childhood goal of reading the whole library.