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UWI Mona West Indies and Special Collections: About WISC

This guide provides an overview to the collections and services of the West Indies and Special Collections Section at The University of the West Indies, Mona Library, Mona Campus.

Due to the current COVID-19 crisis the West Indies and Special Collections Section is closed until further notice. For any enquiries please contact us at:

West Indies and Special Collections (WISC)

West Indies and Special Collection brings together a number of the Library's special and unique research collections including the West Indies Collection and the Special Collections.

undefinedWest Indies Collection includes: Books, pamphlets, theses, microforms and other material in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Subject Coverage: Humanities and Social Sciences material on the Caribbean; the teaching and research programmes of the University.

Geographical coverage: All the West Indian islands, Bermuda, Guyana, French Guiana (Cayenne), Suriname and Belize and the Caribbean diaspora.

West Indian periodicals in the Humanities and Social Sciences are held in the Periodicals Section of the Main Library. The periodical publications of West Indian governments in those disciplines are to be found in the Government Serials Section. West Indian books, pamphlets, periodicals, government serials and other materials in the Medical and Natural Sciences are kept in the Medical and Science Branch Libraries respectively.

Material from this collection is not available for loan outside of the Section but has to be consulted in the Elsa Goveia Reading Room which is equipped with special facilities for reading microfilms and for consulting rare materials.

The Elsa Goveia Reading Room

The West Indies and Special Collections (WISC), established in 1974, brings together in one Section, a number of the Library's special and unique research Collections. The Elsa Goveia Reading Room, the reading area for consulting material from the Collections, is located in an extension which was added to the south of the Main Library building in 1988. In 1989, the reading room was named in memory of the late Professor Elsa Goveia, outstanding West Indian historian and the first female to be appointed a professor at the University of the West Indies.

Elsa Goveia


Opening Hours

Mon. - Fri.: 8:30am - 10:00pm
Saturdays: 8:30am - 12:00am

Mon. - Fri.: 8:30am - 5:00pm
Saturdays: 8:30am - 12:00 noon

Mon. - Fri.: 8:30am - 6:30pm
Saturdays: 8:30am - 12:00 noon

Special Collections

The Special Collections include:

    • University Collection:  material originating from The University of the West Indies and its staff, as well as material about the University; theses accepted by The University of the West Indies for higher degrees.
    • Rare Book Collection: containing mainly rare West Indian books and pamphlets
    • Manuscript Collections: including diaries, estate journals, land transfers, letters and ships' logs on the West Indies
    • Map Collection: rare and twentieth century maps:


    • Microform Collection: extensive collection of official documents, manuscripts, periodicals and newspapers
    • Newspaper collection West Indian newspapers in print, microfilm or digital format covering the period 1774-1998.
    • West Indian Creative Writers: anthologies, novels, plays and poetry by writers from the English-speaking Caribbean 
    • Prints and Post Cards

Use of Materials

The stacks of the West Indies and Special Collections are closed to readers. Request slips must be completed, after which the material is fetched at regular intervals for the reader by Library staff.