The National Library of Maldives, being the largest and the oldest library in the Maldives , is the center of library services and information promotion in the country. The National Library is the apex organization of library and information service system serving the entire nation. With the turning point of the new era, the National Library has become the landmark for students, researchers and general users as the main centre from where to obtain and collect knowledge and information. The library has played active roles in collecting reading materials, and promoting reading habit as well as the research work among Maldivians and non-Maldivians in the past twenty-two years.
The National Library functions under the Ministry of Information and Arts and is headed by the Library's Assistant Executive Director. The National Library serves as the Public Library cum National Library of the country. As the Public Library, the library aims to provide information, recreation and supports research as well as equal opportunity for education and providing books for all. As the National Library, the library aims to acquire and preserve all publications concerning the country and maintain national literature.
History in brief
The National Library of the Republic of Maldives was founded on 12 th July 1945 as the "State Library" of the Maldives by Ameer Mohamed Amin Didi, then the Head of the Department of Education. The Library was renamed "Majeedi Library" in 1948 after one of the most popular statesmen of the Maldives, Ameer Abdul Majeed Didi.
In the climate of development and modernization that has prevailed since 1978 the library was named "National Library" by His Excellency President Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on 1 st June 1982 .
The Library has a fairly good number of Arabic and Urudu books besides Dhivehi and English books. The English section holds more than 37,970 books including both Reference Fiction and Non-Fiction. Dhivehi section, Arabic section and Urudu section holds 10212, 1570 and 950 books respectively. In addition, the Library holds special collections in its American Corner; UN collection; Women and Gender collection. Serial collection holds periodical volumes, reports, manuscripts, journals and other serials, newspapers and press cutting files, and pamphlets.
The Library's collection includes books relating to different subjects such as: Generalities; Philosophy & Psychology; Religion; Social Sciences; Environment; Language; Natural Sciences & Mathematics; Technology (Applied Science); The Arts - Fine and Decorative arts; Literature & Rhetoric; Geography & History.
International cooperation :
National Library is a member of Conference of Directors of National Library in Asia and Oceania (CDNLAO). Furthermore, some staff of the Library are members of the Sri Lankan Library Association.
Missions of the National Library :
Assist and guide the entire nation in all its intellectual pursuits.
Publish the National Bibliography annually.
Act as the focal point of library service in the country.
Render service to the general public
Providing adequate central services, including the creation of the National Union Catalogue, List of Serials and other reference tools.
Build a collection of materials reflecting all needs of the commy
Afford facilities for research, make the library a center of individual culture and create independent thinking and judgement .
Collecting all published materials and documents within the country, and organizing and preserving those collections.
Organize staff development programmes for training the librarians in the country to provide efficient services to the users.
Promoting literacy through a network of mobile libraries, etc.
Marking special days to run programmes in order to promote reading habits.
Library Service Hours :
Opening Hours: 8:15 - 21:00
: 9:00 - 17:00 (Ramazan hours)
Lending Hours: 8:15 - 20:00
: 9:15 - 16:00 (Ramazan hours)
Cash Counter Hours: 8:15 - 18:00
: 9:15 - 16:00 (Ramazan hours)
Facilities & Services :
- Lending documents (2 documents per time) to Library members for a duration of 2 weeks.
- Reference & Reading Service
- Current Awareness
- Mobile library services, aimed specially for atolls.
- Children's library service: The Children's section is especially targeted for children under 16 years of age.
- Local Automated Database
- Internet facilities
How to become a Library member:
Fill out an application form available from the cash counter of the Library, and return it to the Library with the membership fee, the library fee, plus two stamp size photographs.
From the year 2000 onwards the National Library of Maldives is moving toward:
- Introducing library automation system.
- Render audio-visual service (CD-ROMs)
- Providing computer on-line service facilities to the public.
- Development of services rendered to the readers' to make the National Library cum Public Library as the most enriched national resource center with full technological support.
- Developing of National library and preserving the information materials as an important part of national heritage.
- Develop and implement mobile library service through network system.
- Introduce Inter-Library Loan Service and establish network system among atoll libraries and libraries in Male'.
- Develop library cooperation with other nations.
- Guide the Maldives Library Association to develop its activities such as conducting training programmes and establishing relationships and networks with international library associations
- Develop a children's library and library club.
Departments under the Library Section
CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT
This department's main tasks are concerning providing of information needed by the customers effectively and efficiently by helping them find the required information from library material or even from the Internet. The department takes responsibility in arranging the Library's book collection in an orderly manner, assigning part-time staff for the sections of the library to help the users and supervise patrons' actions within the library.
The department also processes, mends and fixes books and re-processes damaged books. The department is responsible for issuing documents to the library members and collecting the returned books, as well as identifying the overdue documents exceeding the return date.
The department also involves in providing and updating of project files in collaboration with the Current Awareness Services and Selective Dissemination of Information (CAS & SDI) Department. The cyber café of the Library functions under this department. Free 15 minutes of internet is provided to the members of the Library per day. It is also a task of this department to maintain and update daily statistics of the Library including number of books issued, Internet usage by the members, and number of photocopies taken.
CURRENT AWARENESS SERVICES & SELECTIVE DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION (CAS & SDI) DEPARTMENT
This department engages in carrying out the duty of conducting the current awareness programmes . Hence, the department deals in providing applicable current information in required formats to the public on relevant time. It is the major task of this department to ensure the availability of the three local news papers to the public on time. The local news paper articles are classified according to the subject and are scanned and preserved. It is also a very important task of this department to prepare and maintain the Project Files of the Library. In addition to the Project Files, files and booklets are also compiled for special occasions.
This department carries out the technical tasks of library including: acquisitioning of books; accessioning books and assigning a unique number to every book; classifying the books according to the Dewey Decimal Classification DDC 21 st edition is followed to classify the books and creating a call number to each book along with the class number to form a location; c ataloguing books according to the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules 2 (AACR2); and withdrawal of damaged books.
It is also a major task of this department to compile the National Bibliography of the Maldives . The Maldives National Bibliography (MNB) published by the National Library of Maldives lists all publications available in the National Library (English and Dhivehi separately). This first volume of the Maldives National Bibliography covers only from 1990 to 1995. It is a main objective of this department to compile a complete National Bibliography listing all publications published in Maldives . However, this task is being severely constrained by the fact that there is no legal depository law in Maldives
The training department deals with training and developing all local librarians including the librarians from Male' as well as from the atolls. This department trains librarians to deal with customers, helps in developing their day to day activities as a librarian and provides professional advice in Library and Information Science as to develop them professionally.
The department trains the National Library's staff including part-time and full-time trainees as well as external librarians from libraries of government offices, speciality libraries, school libraries and private libraries.
This department also assists in opening new libraries with information and experience of its staff in Library Science.
The training programme includes:
Introduction to Libraries