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South African Library Week
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Background & Overview

SA Library Week on Wikipedia

LIASA through its diverse membership is driving the process to make SA Library Week a celebration of our country’s intellectual and literacy heritage.   Libraries across the country use this annual event as an opportunity to market their services to the users, the broader community, civil society and also decision makers.

SA Library Week was initiated in 2001 by LIASA to be a commemorative period recognized by government when all types of libraries across the country use it as an opportunity to market their services in an effort to contribute to the understanding of the important role that libraries play in a democratic society, advancing literacy, making the basic human right of freedom of access to information a reality, and to promote tolerance and respect among all South Africans.

After extensive consultation with the membership the following proposal was accepted:

“That the week within which 20 March falls should be national Library Week.  In the event of this day failing within a weekend, then the week preceding it would be celebrated as national Library Week.”

The choice of the date was based on research into the history of libraries in South Africa:

The South African Public Library, now known as the National Library of South Africa (Cape Town Campus) was the first library to be established in South Africa.  This was done by a government proclamation on 20 March 1818.  The South African Library in fact started off as a true public library and has established itself as a pioneering institution in South African library history.

Furthermore, we celebrate Human Rights Day on 21 March and our Bill of Rights recognizes the freedom of access to information as a basic human right.   We are therefore able to link an important historical event with a crucial date in our new democracy.

This proposal was strongly supported by the then Department of Arts, Culture Science and Technology, which further proposed that the Week be renamed South African Library Week.  SA Library Week was officially celebrated for the first time in 2002 and has become a very important date on the national LIASA calendar.  Since then SALW was driven by LIASA and celebrated nationally every year.   LIASA confirms the dates and theme every year.

South African Library Week Calendar

Libraries: Your Partners for life
16-22 March 2020
2019 Collaborate @ your library 18-24 March 2019
2018   Libraries: Heart of the Community 19-25 March 2018
2017 My Library, Your Library 18-26 March 2017
2016 #libraries4lifelonglearning 11-21 March 2016
2015 Connect @ your library 17-24 March 2015
2014 Celebrating libraries in 20 years of democracy: check in @ your library 15-22 March 2014
2013 Educate Yourself @ your library 16-23 March 2013
2012 Develop @ your library 17-24 March 2012
2011 Read in your language @ your library 19-26 March 2011
2010 Reading changes lives 20-26 March 2010
2009 Access for all @ your library 16-21 March 2009
2008 From local to Global @ your library 17-22 March 2008
2007 Libraries: Your key to the future 19-23 March 2007
2006 Libraries: Partners in Learning, Nation Building and Development 13-18 March 2006
2005 Libraries: Opening the Doors of Learning and Culture to All 14-18 March 2005
2004 1994-2004: Libraries in a Decade of Democracy 15-20 March 2004
2003 Your Right to Read! 17-22 March 2003
2002 Free your Mind - Read! 18-23 March 2002
2001 African Renaissance through Libraries 14 - 25 May 2001
2000 Reach the world @ your library 15 - 26 May 2000


more Calendar

A Digital Heritage Session: Public Libraries in Africa in the Digital Age

Featured Members
Sanele A. KuneneSanele Kunene was appointed as the Library Director at TUT. Congratulations!
Mandla M. NtombelaImmediate Past President Mandla Ntombela was appointed as Director SALB. Congratulations!

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