+27 51 447 9609
36 Aliwal Street
Bloemfontein, South Africa



The Library endeavours to collect relevant information resources and make these accessible to staff, students, learners and members of the public in order to develop and support the functions of research and education.

The Library has 71 national and 248 international exchange partners, including the following regions: Africa – 33; Australasia – 12; Canada – 3; United States – 47; Western Europe – 84; Scandinavia – 3; Eastern Europe & Russia – 30; Japan – 8; Indian subcontinent – 6; South America – 22. These partners contribute to the large number of information materials accessioned annually.


Visiting hours:

Mondays – Thursdays: 08h00 – 13h00 and 14h00 – 16h15

Fridays: 08h00 – 13h00

Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Members of the public wishing to visit the library for research purposes must please make prior arrangements with library staff.

The main functions of the Library are:

  • Preservation of existing information resources.
  • Collection of available information needed for research projects undertaken by researchers at the Museum.
  • Accession of all new information.
  • Making new information accessible to users.
  • Promotion of the Library and contact with other information centres.
  • Maintenance of exchange agreements with national and international information and research partners.


“Books” were first mentioned in the minutes of a Museum meeting in 1900. The first donations to the Library included  the journals Annals of the South African Museum, Annals of the Transvaal Museum and Records of the Albany Museum as well as the book “The uncivilized races of man” (Mackenzie, J. 1888).

Dr van Hoepen, Director of the Museum at the time, took care of the Library himself, but from 1930-1945 he was assisted by Miss M. Smith. Dr A. van Gast was the first official Librarian (1948-1950). From 1951 librarians changed almost annually until 1961 when Mr N.F. Smith was appointed. He was an excellent Librarian and established most of the Library systems. His death in 1970 was seen as a tremendous loss to the Museum. He was succeeded by Ms C.A. Koole who held the post for 11 years until 1987. At this time the Library moved to its current location. Ms M.E.I. Bronkhorst served as Senior Library Assistant (1983-89) and later as Senior Librarian (1990-1994). When she retired, Ms Engela Wessels was appointed as Head of the Library on 1 July 1994. During this time the Library was computerized, with all books and journals recorded on Library database software. Engela was also the inspiration behind the production of a promotional DVD for the National Museum. Following Engela’s retirement at the end of 2008, Ms Ina Marais was appointed as Acting Head of the Department, and was appointed as Head of Deparment in February 2010.


Senior Library Assistant

Liz de Villiers    liz@nasmus.co.za

HenrietteLibrary Assistant

Henriëtte Mohatlane

Henriette started her career at the Library of the National Museum in 1994. She is responsible for the care and general condition of the collection. She is being trained in library procedures and restoration of materials. Henriëtte obtained her matric certificate in 1996.


  • 10 810 books, some of which date back to the 17th century.
  • 1 731 serial titles (Journals) dating back to the 19th century.
  • 11 105 pamphlets which include inter-library loans, brochures, etc.

Contact us with any queries or suggestions:

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