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National Library building a disgrace

Negligence and decay is an African trademark which Namibia seemingly does not escape. This image shows only part of the many roof leaks at the National Library (Photograph contributed).The Windhoek National Library which was commissioned in 2000 is perhaps no longer the best environment to study in as users complain that it lacks ventilation. The library does not have windows that open and the air-conditioning is dysfunctional.
A regular user told the Economist that the air-conditioner has not been working for about nine years now and last year, a user collapsed inside the library due to poor ventilation.
The director of the Namibia Library and Archives Services, Veno Kauaria confirmed this during an interview with the Economist and said that they are “100% aware” that the air-conditioner has not been working for “God knows how long now” and admitted that the building has structural problems.
According to Kauaria, they have been appointing people from a very well-known company in Namibia for the past couple of years to work on the air-conditioning but nothing has come out of it. “We have been paying money for that air-conditioner to be fixed, but it seems these people are not doing what they are supposed to do,” she said.
The director also informed the Economist that air-conditioning is not the only problem at the building as it has roof leakages, rusted pipes as well as a dysfunctional fire box. “If that building burns down today, the fire box will not alert the fire brigade.”
But on a positive note, Kauaria said that they have commissioned a feasibility study to be done by Hugo Scheepers Architects. “The Ministry of Works and Transport has contracted engineers to look at the building and write a report on what can be done to fix that building, literary take it apart if they have to go inside to see what is wrong,” she said.
The commissioned architects are not strangers to the building as they were responsible for the original design of the building in the late 1990s.
Kauaria gave credit to her staff for working under such hard conditions and still put in their best efforts.
The National Library is run and administered by the Ministry of Education, and like all government buildings, the technical support is carried out by the Ministry of Works and Transport.

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