Alvine Kapitako Windhoek-The abrupt closure yesterday of the national library and archives as a result of urgent maintenance work has angered academic researchers who need their services for their academic work. An American researcher is among the affected people and feared she would not meet her deadline of January 31 to submit her work. The closure has affected library and archive users. “An archive is unique in the sense that what we have in Namibia may not be available in South Africa – and some people travelled long distances to use the national archives, yet were denied that privilege because of poor maintenance,” lamented a concerned user yesterday. “This is a government building – why is it falling apart like this? It was dangerous even for passersby. I don’t know if they don’t have funds,” said another person. Employees of the national library and archives refused to speak on the matter, fearing for their jobs. New Era however learnt that the closure is as a result of a pipe burst that left water at the premises disconnected. “The water problem just started. We as a national library and archives have many users. Those users and the staff are using the toilets so now if there is no water you can imagine the stench. Even now there is a very strong odour and it’s just the staff – now imagine if the public have to use the library and archives, it will be worse,” said the source. Library and archives employees even resorted to using the toilets of nearby government institutions. “We first check if there is someone we know because we don’t want to turn the whole ministry into a hostel. So, we pretend as if we are going to visit someone while we really just want to relieve ourselves,” said another source. Meanwhile, the public relations officer in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Absalom Absalom, confirmed the state of affairs at the national library and archives. “We had to close the library because of flooding which resulted from a plumbing issue on Friday evening. No damage was done,” added Absalom. “We have initiated the rehabilitation process and we will attend to the ailing items at the library,” said Absalom. Yesterday, maintenance officials were at the site to determine the cost of damage, added Absalom. Absalom could also not state how long the library and archives would be closed because that would be determined by how soon funds are availed by the ministry.
2018-01-11 09:10:04 8 months ago