National Library of South Africa

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National Library of South Africa_table_infobox_0

Staats-Bibliotheek der Zuid-Afrikaansche RepubliekNational Library of South Africa_table_caption_0
CountryNational Library of South Africa_header_cell_0_0_0 South AfricaNational Library of South Africa_cell_0_0_1
TypeNational Library of South Africa_header_cell_0_1_0 National Library and Public LibraryNational Library of South Africa_cell_0_1_1
EstablishedNational Library of South Africa_header_cell_0_2_0 1818National Library of South Africa_cell_0_2_1
LocationNational Library of South Africa_header_cell_0_3_0 Cape Town

PretoriaNational Library of South Africa_cell_0_3_1

WebsiteNational Library of South Africa_header_cell_0_4_0 National Library of South Africa_cell_0_4_1

The National Library of South Africa is the agency of the government of South Africa which maintains a national library of all published materials relating to the country. National Library of South Africa_sentence_0

History National Library of South Africa_section_0

In 1818, Lord Charles Somerset, the Cape Colony's first civil Governor, issued a proclamation to control the wine trade, imposing a tax on wine brought into Cape Town for sale. National Library of South Africa_sentence_1

The net proceeds would be used to form a Public Library which should "lay the foundation of a system, which shall place the means of knowledge within reach of the youth of this remote corner of the Globe," (presuming a globe hath corners) "and bring within their reach what the most eloquent of ancient writers has considered to be one of the first blessings of life, 'Home Education'." National Library of South Africa_sentence_2

Since that time, South Africa's library development was bifurcated although the library in Cape Town was the original establishment. National Library of South Africa_sentence_3

The most likely model for Cape Town's "Public Library" was the London Institution (established in 1805 in the style of an Athenaeum). National Library of South Africa_sentence_4

The Library's first significant acquisition was the collection of Joachim Nicolaus von Dessin, who bequeathed his books to the Dutch Reformed Church in 1761 to serve as the foundation of a public library. National Library of South Africa_sentence_5

In 1820 the board of trustees decided to donate the Dessinian Collection to the new library. National Library of South Africa_sentence_6

Other notable donations followed over the years, among others Sir George Grey who when he left South Africa in 1861 presented the Library with his remarkable personal collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and rare books. National Library of South Africa_sentence_7

In 1873 the South African Public Library became a legal deposit library for the Cape Colony, and from 1916 it received all printed items published throughout the country. National Library of South Africa_sentence_8

The Library continued as a legal deposit library until 1954, when this function was taken over by the City of Cape Town. National Library of South Africa_sentence_9

From then on it began to develop its unique character as a national reference library devoted to research based on its extensive stock, with a concurrent name change in 1967 to the South African Library. National Library of South Africa_sentence_10

Diplomat Edmund Roberts visited the library, then called the South African Library around 1833 and described it as "once the pride and boast of the colony." National Library of South Africa_sentence_11

He noted that the library had approximately 10,000 volumes and called it a "highly creditable place." National Library of South Africa_sentence_12

The State Library National Library of South Africa_section_1

The "Staats-Bibliotheek der Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek" (State Library of the South African Republic) came into being thanks to a donation of books from the Maatschappij der Nederlandsche Letterkunde. National Library of South Africa_sentence_13

These books consisted of a complete library of Dutch works, mainly Dutch literature and language, to the Transvaal Republic's government. National Library of South Africa_sentence_14

The first consignment of eight chests of books arrived in 1883, including a chest from the Dutch Bible Society. National Library of South Africa_sentence_15

On 21 September 1887 the Transvaal government approved the constitution of the Staats-Bibliotheek. National Library of South Africa_sentence_16

As Pretoria began to grow in size, there arose a need for a public library. National Library of South Africa_sentence_17

The first Pretoria Public Library had opened its doors in 1878, but because of ongoing financial problems was closed down in 1890. National Library of South Africa_sentence_18

In 1893 strong public support and a collection of 700 saw another public library arise, this time under the wing of the Staats-Bibliotheek and with the bookstock of the former Public Library. National Library of South Africa_sentence_19

From that time onward until 1964, the State Library performed a dual role as public library and national library. National Library of South Africa_sentence_20

The first national librarian, the Afrikaans poet Jan Celliers, saw exchange agreements as a means of enriching the State Library's collections. National Library of South Africa_sentence_21

The first exchange agreement was entered into in 1898 with the Smithsonian Institution of Washington in the United States. National Library of South Africa_sentence_22

In terms of the agreement the State Library would receive all American official publications in exchange for two copies of each official publication of the South African republic. National Library of South Africa_sentence_23

From the early thirties under the guidance of the visionary national librarian Matthew Stirling, the State Library began to develop the character of a central library for South Africa, taking on functions such as striving for a national library lending system and a centre for bibliographical information. National Library of South Africa_sentence_24

Modern consolidation National Library of South Africa_section_2

Until 1 November 1999, for historical reasons, South Africa had two national libraries, the South African Library, founded in 1818, in Cape Town, and the State Library, founded in 1887, in Pretoria. National Library of South Africa_sentence_25

In terms of South African legal deposit legislation, each of the national libraries was a legal deposit library, entitled to receive from the publishers a gratis copy of every book, serial, newspaper, government publication or other printed item published in South Africa. National Library of South Africa_sentence_26

In South Africa legal deposit, in some form or another, dates back to 1842. National Library of South Africa_sentence_27

As a result, extensive collections of material of great scholarly value have been built up in the former national libraries. National Library of South Africa_sentence_28

During the 1990s the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology began a review of all legislation under its jurisdiction, including the National Libraries Act, No 56 of 1985. National Library of South Africa_sentence_29

The Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in 1996 appointed a Working Group on the National Libraries of South Africa to advise him on the future of the two national libraries. National Library of South Africa_sentence_30

The most important recommendation of the Working Group was that the two national libraries be amalgamated to form a dual-site (Cape Town and Pretoria) national library, to be known as the National Library of South Africa. National Library of South Africa_sentence_31

Creation under the National Library Act National Library of South Africa_section_3

The National Library of South Africa's core national library functions are described in Section 4 subsection 1 of the National Library Act, No 92 of 1998, and cover the following broad areas: National Library of South Africa_sentence_32

National Library of South Africa_unordered_list_0

  • to build up a complete collection of published documents emanating from or relating to South Africa;National Library of South Africa_item_0_0
  • to maintain and extend any other collections of published and unpublished documents with the emphasis on documents emanating from or relating to Southern Africa;National Library of South Africa_item_0_1
  • to promote the optimal management of collections of published documents held in South African libraries as a national resource; and to render a national bibliographic service and to act as the national bibliographic agency;National Library of South Africa_item_0_2
  • to promote optimal access to published documents, nationally and internationally;National Library of South Africa_item_0_3
  • to provide reference and information services, nationally and internationally;National Library of South Africa_item_0_4
  • to act as the national preservation library and to provide conservation services on a national basis;National Library of South Africa_item_0_5
  • to promote awareness and appreciation of the national published documentary heritage; andNational Library of South Africa_item_0_6
  • to promote information awareness and information literacy.National Library of South Africa_item_0_7

See also National Library of South Africa_section_4

National Library of South Africa_unordered_list_1

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Library of South Africa.