National Library of South Africa

The National Library of South Africa (NLSA) is a statutory body whose objects are to contribute to the socio-economic, cultural, educational, scientific and innovative development of South Africa by collecting, recording, preserving and making available the national documentary heritage and promoting an awareness and appreciation thereof, by fostering information literacy, and by facilitating access to the world's information resources.

The NLSA is a Schedule 3A public entity that came into existence through the National Library of South Africa Act, 1998 (Act 92 of 1998), thereby amalgamating the former State Library in Pretoria and the former South African Library in Cape Town.  The NLSA has two sites, the Pretoria and Cape Town Campuses. The Centre for the Book in Cape Town is the outreach unit of the NLSA, and as such contributes to promoting a culture of reading and writing in South Africa.

Vision and Mission

Vision: The NLSA is the leading national library and information centre of excellence in Africa and in the world.

Mission: The NLSA, as the primary resource and custodian of South Africa’s documentary heritage, promotes creative, effective and efficient universal access to information.


The following are the functions of the NLSA that are derived from section 4 of the National Library of South Africa Act, 1998 (Act 92 of 1998):

(a)   (i)    to build up a complete collection of published documents emanating from or relating to South Africa;


               (ii) to maintain and extend any other collections of published and unpublished documents with the emphasis on documents emanating from and relating to Southern Africa;


               (iii) to promote the optimal management of collections of published documents held in South African libraries as a national resource; and


               (iv) to supplement the national resource contemplated in subparagraph (iii) with selected documents;


       (b)   (i) to record the documents contemplated in paragraph (a); and


               (ii) to render a national bibliographic service and to act as the national bibliographic agency;


       (c)   to promote optimal access to published documents, nationally and internationally;


       (d)   to provide reference and information services, nationally and internationally;


       (e)   to act as the national preservation library and to provide conservation services on a national basis;


       (f)    to promote awareness and appreciation of the national published documentary heritage; and


       (g)   to promote information awareness and information literacy.



The NLSA is funded by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) through a Parliamentary subsidy.

Contact details



Pretoria Campus

Tel:      +27 12 401-9700

Fax:    +27 12 326-7642


Cape Town Campus

Tel:      +27 21 424-6320

Fax:    +27 21 423-3359


Centre for the Book

Tel:      +27 21 423-2669

Fax:    +27 21 424-1484


Physical addresses

Pretoria Campus

228 Johannes Ramokhoase Street, Pretoria, South Africa.


Cape Town Campus

5 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, South Africa.


Centre for the Book

62 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, South Africa.

Postal addresses

Pretoria Campus

Private Bag X990, Pretoria, South Africa, 0001


Cape Town Campus

P.O. Box 492, Cape Town, South Africa, 8000.


Centre for the Book

P.O. Box 15254, Cape Town, South Africa, 8000.