Mr. Moll first came to the territory in 1983 when he married his wife Verna Penn-Moll. Before that, he had never been to the Caribbean. The couple lived in the Virgin Islands on and off until 2001, when they moved here permanently.
Coming to the VI
I met my wife at Loughborough University. When we met we were both doing library studies and Verna was the chief librarian here. I was doing postgraduate research then, and we obviously fell in love. But she had to come back here to complete her service, and in the meantime I carried on with my research. I came out here not knowing anyone, met the Penn family and had a marvellous wedding.
As chief librarian
I did a lot of work with government departments and so on. I got grants from the British Council to set up all manner of libraries.
The [Road Town] Library [in 1986] was located in the Creque Building, which is on Main Street. The accommodation was much smaller, and unfortunately the louvers weren’t secure, so a lot of dust got in on books. In many ways, it was more dilapidated than the present accommodation.
My primary responsibility then was the library systems. I was fortunate to be able to get grants from the British Council, and I set up a new library at Peebles for the medics. They had a room but no books in it at that point.
My first encounter with the Attorney General’s Chambers library was also at that time. I am very happy to say they now have a full-time librarian.
Unfortunately, the public library is still in a rented accommodation. I just look forward and hope that there are plans looked on for the library. But, of course, government always has other considerations.
Verna and I then went to England and I worked in all manner of libraries. I realised I had been out of the [United Kingdom] for a while and I found that at that time, a lot of law firms were looking for librarians. That was how I started out in law librarianship. I actually worked for a while with the royal family’s lawyers. I shouldn’t say much about that.
I [eventually] decided that I was going to freelance, which means that I could then take on different tasks with different libraries. I had some very interesting engagements — nothing to do with traditional libraries at all. For example, a big soft drinks firm in England. For a while I was there and had hardly anything to do with books.
My primary responsibility was to check that their export products fit the law of the country they were being exported to. But there were also other things I had to look at sometimes — unpleasant things. They had a mouse in a bottle once and that caused a lot of problems. I had to investigate how that could have happened, but it was very interesting.
But a little side note: On Friday afternoons they would invite the staff, particularly the library staff — and that was virtually me — to sample some products and get my opinion on them. They would bring out a new orange juice, for example, and I had to compare and see which one was the sweetest and so on.
The very last assignment I had in England was with an American law firm. I set up the library there, so I had to get to know American law. At that time, in 2001, we were intending to move back to the BVI. We came in the summer just to get some preparations done. We were getting a house built in East End while we were away.
I saw an advert in the paper — it could have well been the Beacon — for a library assistant at a law firm. It turned out that Harneys was advertising and they didn’t expect to get a legal librarian. The person that had been there was getting back to the same town in England where we had been living.
When I was at Harneys, I had several special assignments. Well, they were really things that I had started myself. For example, at that time, there was no proper library at the college, and there was certainly no law library, and so I used to let the students that were doing legal courses come to Harneys. It was very unusual, because when I spoke with some of my friends in England that were librarians at law schools, they said that they never let students come in. It was just not heard of, but I enjoyed that, because then I would talk to them about BVI law. And there were other similar things.
I cannot feel that I am fully retired. And I don’t think that many people here do. I have all manner of interests. If I wasn’t here [at the Beacon office], I’d probably be finishing off the first draft of a [letter for the Beacon].