August 21, 2018

About Us

The National Library of South Africa (NLSA) is the custodian of South Africa’s collective national heritage materials and the national depository of published output materials in the country. The NLSA is mandated by the National Library of South Africa Act to collect and preserve published documents and make them accessible to all and to ensure that knowledge is not lost to posterity. The National Library of South Africa, as we know it today, was formed on 1 November 1999 as a result of the amalgamation of the two former national libraries: the South African Library in Cape Town and the State Library in Pretoria. The collections of the NLSA contain a wealth of information, including rare manuscripts, books published in South Africa, periodicals, government publications, official foreign publications, maps, technical reports, Africana and newspapers.

The National Library of South Africa’s core functions include:

  • Build a complete collection of published documents emanating from or relating to South Africa;
  • Maintain and extend any other collections of published and unpublished documents with the emphasis on documents emanating from or relating to Southern Africa;
  • Promote the optimal management of collections of published documents held in South African libraries as a national resource;
  • Render a national bibliographic service and acting as the national bibliographic agency;
  • Promote optimal access to published documents, nationally and internationally;
  • Provide reference and information services, nationally and internationally;
  • Act as the national preservation library and provide conservation services on a national basis;
  • Promote awareness and appreciation of the national published documentary heritage; and
  • Promote information awareness and information literacy.


A world-class African national library and information hub.


We build, record, preserve, conserve and make available a complete South African documentary heritage fostering a reading nation towards an informed citizenry.


We espouse the following shared and unifying values:

  • Integrity – We respect our stakeholders.
  • Excellence – We drive a culture of excellence in all that we do.
  • Innovation – We remain committed to creativity and innovation.Collaboration – We work with like-minded organisations.
  • Accountability – We are an ethical and transparent organisation. We remain accountable to the Executive Authority while being conscious of serving our end-users.

Legislative Mandate

The National Library of South Africa is administered in accordance with the following Acts:

National Library of South Africa Act 1998 (Act No. 92 of 1998)

Legal Deposit Act, 1997 (Act No. 54 of 1997)