Enid Maria Baa took part in establishing the very first High School library and went on to matriculate at Howard University. She moved on to Hampton Institute in the midst of her undergraduate career, graduating from Hampton’s Library Science Program in 1933.
Enid M. Baa returned to the U.S. Virgin Islands and became the first woman to occupy a cabinet position as she led the Department of Public Libraries. Under her leadership, the territory’s libraries flourished.
She was an exchange librarian for the University of Puerto Rico and worked to encourage youngsters and adults to take advantage of the wonders to be found within books.
Not content to rest upon her accomplishments, Enid M. Baa returned to scholarly pursuits (at Columbia University), finishing undergraduate work in English Literature and the Humanities. She honed her skills as a librarian at the university’s library.
Now armed with superior knowledge coupled with experience, Ms. Baa was again appointed Director of (the now-expanded) Libraries and Museums in the Virgin Islands. By 1949, she had earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Hampton University.
Her work has taken her to Europe, the Caribbean, and the continental United States; perhaps she is best known for initiating the development of the reknowned Von Scholten Collection, a unique collection of literary and cultural rarities housed at the Enid M. Baa Public Library and Archives in Historic Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. Enid M. Baa retired from government service in 1974; by now the fledgling Department of Public Libraries had blossomed into the Department of Libraries, Archives and Museums! The St. Thomas Public Library was dedicated to her on March 30, 1978.
Enid M. Baa died on the island of her birth, St. Thomas, on July 25, 1992.
The Enid M. Baa Public Library is now closed and used for administrative purposes – the Charles Wesley Turnbull Regional Library in Tutu and BookMobile are currently serving the public. Read more about Enid M. Baa at UVI’s Project Introspection: