South African Library

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South African Library was the first national depository of publications in the Cape Colony and hence in South Africa.

The library was founded in 1818 by Lord Charles Somerset, to "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, 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'"[1]

1 November 1999 the South African Library in Cape Town and the State Library in Pretoria were amalgamated into what became the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) as a collective national custodian of heritage materials and the national depository of published output materials in the country. This was done in terms of two acts: National Library of South Africa Act 1998 (Act No. 92 of 1998) and the Legal Deposit Act, 1997 (Act No. 54 of 1997).

The joint collection of the NLSA now contains a wealth of information, including rare manuscripts, books published in South Africa, periodicals, government publications, official foreign publications, maps, technical reports, Africana and newspapers.


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