Five years after it was closed down due to widespread fungus infestation, the National Library was officially reopened yesterday following extensive renovation works.
The work was done by Green Island Construction, a subsidiary of the Islands Development Company (IDC) whose chief executive Glenny Savy handed over the symbolic key to the building to President Wavel Ramkalawan and secretary general for the Seychelles National institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts (Snicha) David André during the official opening ceremony yesterday morning.
The key was then handed over to two long-serving staff of the National library ‒ Marie-Cecile Radegonde and Christianne Domingue.
The National Library, which includes the National Archives, was officially opened on June 18, 1994. In 2018 it was closed down due to widespread fungus infestation. With extensive renovation that started in February 2022, 17 months later the library was reopened yesterday. However it is not yet fully operational for the public.
In his speech, Mr André explained how the National Library building had undergone substantial renovation of its exterior and a complete redesign of its interior. The building now features more open, light-filled space, dedicated areas for various services. It has an improved ground floor which now includes dedicated services for the children’s section, a new computer lab and a newly renovated national arts gallery.
“We look forward to working with our accomplished artists in the near future and to host their works,” said Mr André.
Mr André revealed that the work to set up the library services can now begin and it is expected that the National Library services will be fully operational by November 2023.
“The new National Library will not only be about books on shelves, but it will also be an important socio-cultural meeting point for parents, students and library staff and shall be accessible to all,” he said.
As for President Ramkalawan, he stated that he would prefer to see the library fully operational in three months rather than five so that the many children who are looking forward to go through the doors do not wait that much longer as they have already waited for many years.
“This is what we need in this country, we need greater devotion, we need people to undertake projects with their hearts and I am proud of what has been achieved in such a short time,” said President Ramkalawan.
GICC’s project manager Yves Choppy said when working on an already established building there would always be some constraints as they were limited to work within the already existing space which is a challenge.
“We collaborated with the clients and staff of the National Library to discuss the best possible options in terms of design to better accommodate the services being provided,” said Mr choppy.
The project has cost R89.4 million and this sum includes the furniture which will be installed on the ground and first floors at a later date. The remaining works are expected to be done before the end of July.
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