About Us

About The National Library of South Africa

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 92 of 1998 to collect and preserve published documents and make them accessible to all; ensuring 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 NLSA has two core programmes which are Business Development and Public Engagement.


The Business Development Programme is responsible for the following sub-programmes: Bibliographic Services and Collections Management and Preservation and Conservation Services.

The Public Engagement Programme is responsible for the following sub-programmes: Information Access Services and Centre for the Book. Information Access Services promotes and facilitates information access to the collection. Centre for the Book, the NLSA’s outreach unit promotes the culture of reading, writing and publishing.

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:


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.

Core 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.

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From the Communications Desk