Facelift for national archives

19 July 2019 | Local News

The building housing the National Library and National Archives in Windhoek is being renovated at a cost of N$18.5 million.

Work began this month and is expected to be completed by the end of March 2020.

The education ministry said in a statement that it prioritised the renovation project because of frequent downtime experienced by both institutions.

The N$18.5 million is funded by the African Development Bank, the ministry confirmed.

The funds will be used to replace all the water pipes and wiring in the building, overhaul the air-conditioning system and repair the fire sprinkler system.

“The renovation process is essential to ensure that the country's documentary heritage is preserved for research and for posterity,” said Absalom Absalom, the ministry's spokesperson.

The National Library is a public research institution mandated by the Namibia Library and Information Act.

Absalom said the National Library is a crucial contributor to the “socio-economic, cultural, educational, scientific and innovative development of Namibia by collecting, recording, preserving and making available the national documentary heritage and promoting an awareness and appreciation thereof, by facilitating access to the world's information resources.”

The National Archives, on the other hand, promote “efficient, accountable and transparent government through the proper management and care of government records”.

Moreover, the National Archives house the national documentary heritage dating back to the 1800s.

The National Library is tasked to collect, preserve and promote access to its collection, nationally and internationally.

It is also responsible for the allocation of international standard book numbers and international standard serial numbers (ISBN/ISSN) to publishers and authors of books or magazines published in Namibia.

The National Archives are responsible for setting standards, inspecting records and ensuring that all offices, ministries, agencies and state-owned enterprises follow proper record management.

The education ministry has warned the public to expect periodic interruptions to services for the duration of the renovations.

JANA-MARI SMITH

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