From the Chairman's Desk ...

I am grateful on behalf of the Namibia Library and Information Council (NLIC) to present the 2004-2005 biennial report. The NLIC was established in terms of Section 13 of the Namibia Library and Information Services Act No. 4 of 2000 which came into force on 30 April 2001. This is the second report since the formation of the Council.

The NLIC is a body tasked to inform and advice policy makers on the situation regarding library and information services in Namibia. The mandate covers library and information services within the school system, in communities, the national library and other libraries within agencies and government ministries. It is worth noting that in pre-independent Namibia literacy for local populations was not a priority of the then government. Libraries were built and concentrated in the city and managed by people whose knowledge was imported from outside without real consideration of the information needs of the Namibian people. These libraries addressed the needs of only a small population of users. However after independence things have changed and libraries have enjoyed support from the Government to meet the nation’s information needs whether for education or leisure.

The Council realises the vast amount of work that needs to be done to effectively carry out its advisory role mandate. As a growing organisation, NLIC has made gains to raise the issues affecting the libraries and information services sector and place them in the public domain for redress and action. The activities in this report give testimony to the huge task the Council is faced with. One of the biggest challenges is to establish a reading culture, not an easy task considering the past and the fact that our culture is primarily oral based. There is a great need to create libraries that are accessible to the majority of the people and that provide access to information and knowledge in all forms.

Key to establishing a reading culture is the need to engender the love of reading for pleasure in children and librarians themselves, who can in turn spread the dynamic to their constituents. There is much that still needs to be done. NLIC will strive to cover issues that affect the library and information services in Namibia such as the need to produce more professionals, upgrading the skills of existing staff, strengthening library infrastructures and capacity as well as helping libraries to become learning and communication centres for their communities. This dovetails well with Namibia’s Vision 2030, which aims to achieve a country that is knowledge based and industrialised, and such a vision is not achievable without strengthening the infrastructure of library and information services. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the NLIC Secretariat for its dedication and to the Councillors for their commitment towards their tasks and their unrelenting efforts to promote library and information services in Namibia for the benefit of all Namibians.

Finally, I wish to thank the government for its continued support, and the staff in the different library and information sectors for their professional service, and last but not least the users for utilising our services and facilities all over the country.

Elia Kaiyamo
NLIC Chairperson