National library/archives shut down and falling apart

The National Library’s mammoth building has fallen apart and its door has been shut to the general public, an investigation and tour around the facility by The Villager has revealed.

The library also shares the same building with the National Archives of Namibia which was established in 1939 and is said to hold an estimated 5 600 maps, 61 000 photographs, 2 000 audio cassettes, 450 films and a complete collection of all local newspapers from 1897 to 1962.

When this publication arrived, two female guards from Nkasa Services manning the place confirmed that visitors were only barred from coming after a major pipe burst affected water provision from taps and flashing toilets within the building.

“It was open on Friday and they closed it only on Monday,” one of the female guards told The Villager.

An inspection in the interior not only showed parts of the ceiling ripped apart, but the toilets produced a bad odour as well, evidence of them being used without water.

From the back of the building which faces Robert Mugabe Avenue where the guards could be seen seated, a giant roofing metal sheet can be seen broken and dangerously hanging from above their heads.

Asked what prompted the roof to hang down so precariously, the guard said it was due to the wind.

She did confirm that such conditions had been ongoing even when visitors were still coming.

A quick turn to the nearest corner, one could see the sprinkler boosters broken of their glasses with rusty air ventilation metals above them.

The main door at the front was open and left unguarded by the time this publication arrived and from inside, while some doors were locked, some could be easily opened into.

This decay comes in the wake of the library having received a donation of books worth N$3 million late last year, from the Institute of Open Learning (IOL).

Although a freshly tapped notice read that the facility was under maintenance, there was no visible trace of any refurbishment work going on by the time of inspection.

A source who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said, “The place is falling apart. People were reading books without air-conditioner and dry toilets. You can see the roof is crumpling in, come and see for yourself.”

No authority could be available for comment by the time of inspection and publication and an in-house person to whom this publication was instructed to go meet had gone out at the time of arrival.