Access to the Bermudiana Collection
Some copies of Bermuda materials are available on the open shelves for use in the Library but most are in the Closed Collection and are stored off-site. Please refer to the publication The Bermudiana Collection ~ an Introduction for Researchers.
If you want to use something in the Closed Collection you will need to get special permission by filling out a Closed Collection Request Form which you can obtain at the Information Desk at the Adult Library. Please note that we need at least 24 hours advance notice to try to fulfill your request and there will be a fee charged if material has to be retrieved from off-site storage. Many of these materials are rare so there are special rules for use of these items. Please refer to the publication Bermudiana Collection Policies.
We would be happy to help you with any projects, questions, etc. that you have which require use of the Bermudiana Collection. If you have a special research question feel free to come into the Adult Library on Queen Street or contact our Local Studies Librarian at:
Bermuda National Library
Par-la-Ville, 13 Queen Street
Hamilton HM 11, Bermuda
Tel (441)296-1297 ext.223
The Bermuda National Library holds a collection of local papers preserved on microfilm. All copies of the newspapers held in the collection were filmed, starting in the 1970s. This means that our microfilm covers our whole collection but, since our collection has some gaps, the microfilm coverage has some gaps as well. The Bermuda National Library’s collection of newspapers (with some gaps) consists of the following:
Royal Gazette 1784 to current date.
Bermuda Sun May 1964 to current date.
Mid-Ocean News 1961 to October 2009.
Bermuda Times March 1987 to December 1995
The Recorder 1933 to 1975
Since the Library of Congress films the local papers there is a time lag in the availability of the newspapers on microfilm. Hard copies of current issues are available in the Reading Room or can be obtained, upon request, from the Circulation Desk. The Bermuda National Library also offers access to our digital collection of newspapers (see link on the right). This collection currently includes the Royal Gazette from 1784 to 1899, and the Bermuda Recorder from July 1933 to July 1975. These digital records were made from the microfilm copies held by the Bermuda National Library.
Preservation of Bermuda Newspapers and Books
Local newspapers are sent abroad to be microfilmed so that the original papers can be preserved for future generations. In addition to sending off current newspapers each month, a programme to digitize the microfilm reels and other Bermudiana materials began in 2007. This exciting project will make items available to a wider audience and further protect the original print versions of titles.
The Bermuda Index
The annotated card Index, created in the late 1950s, covers the Bermuda newspapers and most local magazines from c1958 to 2000. Collection Management has created the Bermuda Index database with entries starting in 2001.
Legal Deposit in Bermuda
The Bermuda National Library provides both national and public library services, including legal deposit for the Island’s publishing industry as defined by legislation. The first Legal Deposit legislation was the Printed Publications Act, 1971. The Legal Deposit Act, 2008, which repeals Section 5 of the Printed Publications Act, 1971, sets out the requirements regarding the deposit of new Bermuda publications in the Bermuda National Library. A small section is reproduced below:
“Delivery of copies of publications
3 (1) This section applies to—
(a) a person who publishes a publication in Bermuda; and
(b) a person who is resident in Bermuda, or whose principal place of business is in Bermuda, and who publishes, or commissions the publishing of, a publication outside Bermuda for distribution or making available in Bermuda.
(2) Subject to subsection (5), every person who publishes a publication shall within seven days after the date of publishing it deliver a copy of the publication, at their own expense, to the Head Librarian for deposit in the Bermuda National Library.
(3) The copy shall be delivered in the medium in which it is published, unless another medium is prescribed”.
Collection Management is responsible for the administration of the Legal Deposit Collection and for setting policies regarding the acquisition, organization and use of all Bermuda materials.
Bermuda National Bibliography
Collection Management is responsible for the recording and organisation of legal deposit and other Bermudiana materials and for the production of the Bermuda National Bibliography, which lists these publications. The first issue of the Bermuda National Bibliography was published in 1984 (covering items added in 1983). Current issues of the Bibliography are available online (link on the right-hand side of each page).
International Standard Book Number
The Bermuda National Library is the official ISBN Registering Agency for Bermuda. To obtain an ISBN for your publication, you will have to fill out an ISBN Request Form, available via email request to email@example.com. ISBNs are assigned to local publishers within two business days after a completed request form has been received. There is no charge for this service.