Although the idea of establishing a National Library for Mauritius was initially advocated by Dr Auguste Toussaint in 1956, this project became a reality four decades later when the National Library Act No. 32 of 1996 was enacted by the National Assembly as a body corporate, under the Ministry of Arts and Culture. The National Library was officially opened to the public in December 1999.
Role of the national library
The main role of the National Library of Mauritius is to build the most comprehensive collection of our national heritage and making same available to the Mauritian public for consultation. The National Library has a mandate to preserve for posterity all literary output of Mauritius. The National Library acquires most of its materials through the legal deposit system as per the National Library Act. To ensure that access is given to the most comprehensive collection of Mauritiana materials, the National Library also acquires print and non-print materials published and produced abroad, whose subject matter is related to Mauritius. Besides the main functions, the National Library has the responsibility to offer to its users a rich and varied collection of foreign reference materials.
To support the provision of, and access to, information for the nation. To collect and preserve the collective memory of the country to best serve the nation and to provide access to the information resources of the world.
To develop the National Library as the Nation's leading documentary resource pertaining to the Republic of Mauritius, and as the apex library serving the needs of the Mauritian people at large in research, scholarship and creativity.
- To promote and encourage the use of library materials;
- To acquire library materials generally, and, in particular, a comprehensive collection of library materials relating to Mauritius;
- To collect, receive and preserve all library materials required to be deposited in the library;
- To lend library materials to other libraries;
- To make library materials available to the public for reference;
- To participate in planning library services in Mauritius, promote research in library fields and provide assistance in information handling techniques;
- To act as the national bibliographic center and maintain the national bibliography and other bibliographies;
- To act as an organizing agency for national and international lending and exchange of library materials;
- To initiate and promote cooperation between the library and other libraries, both at national and international levels.
Preservation of Library Materials
The National Library has the legal obligation to preserve all the materials deposited in the Library for present and future generations.
The preservation of library materials includes:
- Binding and repairs of books, newspapers and magazines
- Control of temperature, humidity and light in the collections
- Implementation of effective systems for protecting the collections against flood, cyclone and fire
- Freezing of document
- Training of library staff in preservation techniques
- User education such as informing users how to handle documents properly
- Use of protection gloves for handling rare and damaged materials
- Regular dusting and cleaning of the shelves and collections
The National Library is open to all users aged 18 and above. Secondary school students may be admitted upon presentation of an official recommendation from their rectors.
The National Library’s clients include:
- The general public
- Secondary school and university students
- Researchers (Local and Foreign)
- Libraries and documentation centres
- Book trade and related industries
- Government and non-government organisations
- Professionals and professional associations
- Souvenir Magazine (1999)
- Annual Reports (1999 – 2018)
- Strategic Plans (2000-2002) , (2003-2005), (2011-2013), (2016-2018)
- Directory of Libraries , Documentation Centres and Bookshops in Mauritius (2000)
- Customer Charter (2003, 2006 & 2020)
- Information Brochure (2020)
- La Voc-T’Eylandt Mauritius et Rodrigues (2001)
- National Bibliography of Mauritius (1999-2018)
- National Bibliography of Mauritius online as from 2004
- Une brève histoire du livre (2006)
- National Library: Brief History and Development (2009)
- Kaleidoscopic Conquest: Mauritius 1810 (2010)
- Equality of Opportunities at the National Library (2013)
The National Library is a corporate member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) based in the Hague, Netherlands.
• 11th November 2004: Excellent Customer Service Award in the Public Service 2004 – National Library was the Winner for Criterion “Quality”
• 20th January 2005: MS ISO 9001:2000 Certification by the Mauritius Standard Bureau
• 17th May 2005: National ICT Award 2005 – National Library was the Winner for the category ‘Parastatal Bodies’
• January 2010: MS ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System Certification by the Mauritius Standard Bureau
• November 2018: MS ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System Certification by the Mauritius Standard Bureau