The National Library of Jamaica was established in 1979 under the Institute of Jamaica Act of 1978. It originated from the collection of the West India Reference Library (WIRL) which was founded in 1894 as a section of the Public Library of the Institute of Jamaica. This public library was the first of its kind in Jamaica. It began operations in 1879 when the Institute of Jamaica was established for the encouragement of literature, science and art. The West India Reference Library began as a small collection of Jamaican and West Indian books, under the guidance of Frank Cundall, the Secretary/Librarian of the Institute from 1891 until his death in 1937. It developed into a comprehensive collection, rich in primary source materials covering all aspects of Caribbean life and society. WIRL formed the nucleus of the National Library.