Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Harold W. Boles

Second Advisor

Dr. Laurel Gretzinger

Third Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens


This historical study ascertained that, between the years of 1902 and 1941, there were libraries on Guam which served the local civilian population. Early library development on Guam (prior to 1947) did not seem to have followed the same pattern of development as libraries in the United States. This may have been due, in part, to the individuals responsible for the two library movements on Guam. The Guam Public Library System and its predecessors were established by individuals from the continental United States, where libraries had already undergone a developmental process. Thus, the library on Guam seems to have been imposed rather than allowed to evolve. Since 1949, the Guam Public Library System has gradually grown and developed, which means there have been changes in library materials (books, records, microforms, etc.), facilities, personnel, hours of operation, and financial support. Growth and development were affected by the economical, geographical, political, and sociological factors. These factors were identified and analyzed in the study.

The one major economic factor which most positively affected the growth and development of the Guam Public Library System was the fiscal appropriation represented by the annual budget. Geographic factors identified in the study as having affected the library growth and development included geographical isolation from the United States mainland and the island's geographically isolated villages. The hot and humid climate of Guam also affected the growth and development of the library system.

The library originally was established as a part of the Department of Education, and this political factor was identified as having negatively influenced the growth and development of the library. Five years later, when the library was established as a separate agency within the Government of Guam, the Guam Public Library System began to grow and develop. A second political factor affecting the growth and development of the library was identified in the fact that the system is governed by a board of directors, appointed by the Governor of Guam with the consent of the Legislature. The name of the Guam Public Library System and its status as a depository for federal government and Guam government documents were also politically derived, as they are both attributed to the Guam Legislature.

Sociological factors which positively influenced the growth and development of the Guam Public Library System included two indivi~uals, identified as Lucile Woelfl and Marion Brown, and three groups: the Los Angeles Times Charities, the Assistance League of Southern California, and the United States Navy. Another sociological factor affecting the growth and development of the library was that its services were expanded to meet the needs of the farmers of Guam, blind individuals, inmates of the penitentiary, residents of the juvenile home, hospital patients, and children on Guam. A third sociological factor was identified in the promotional activities, such as social teas, an open house, and an art display, which were held in the library.

Currently the Guam Public Library System operates its program from five permanent library facilities and a bookmobile. The library continues to meet present needs and is planning to meet future needs with an additional branch library in Yona and a new central library in Agana.

This historical study eventuated in some conclusions and recommendations which may benefit those persons charged with planning the future of library services on Guam.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access