African libraries in “Library World Records” by Godfrey Oswald

For the ones who love rankings and are interested in libraries and Africa I want to recommend Godfrey Oswald’s book Library World Records. Here are some quotes to attract your interest…

Notable people who have worked in libraries or as librarians (p.121):

“Christopher Okigbo, the Nigerian poet, was acting librarian at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, where he helped to found the African Authors Association. He was killed while fighting as a soldier during the Biafran war.”

Unusual things that happened at libraries (p.111):

“The National Institute of Studies and Research Library in the capital of Guinea-Bissau was turned into a military garrison by soldiers in 1998. But first they had to destroy several thousand books to make way for military equipment and sleeping quarters.”

Libraries that have suffered devastating fires or natural disasters (pp.107):

“Fourah Bay College Library in Free Town, Sierra Leone, […] was obliterated during the civil war of the early 1990s. It has since been rebuilt.”

And there is a list on the oldest university libraries in Africa (p. 83) – third is Monrovia University Library, Liberia, 1851. And the oldest public library in Africa (p.34.) was Luanda Municipal Library in Angola, founded in 1873 by the Portuguese colonial government. The two oldest national libraries in Africa “are the National Library of South Africa, Cape Town branch, founded 1818, and the National Library of Tunisia, Tunis, founded 1845.” (p.13).

And finally, what do you think: Which is the oldest existing bookstore in Africa (p.195)? Its Juta Bookshop, Cape Town, South Africa, founded in 1923.

Source: Godfrey Oswald: Library World Records, 2nd ed., Jefferson, NC, 2009.

About ilissafrica
This is the blog of the internet library sub-saharan Africa (ilissAfrica).

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