Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA)

The Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) is celebrating South African Library Week (SALW) with the theme “Libraries Matter!” from 15 – 21 March 2021.


  • A core value of libraries is the right to freedom of access to information and freedom of expression as enshrined in our Bill of Rights and is a cornerstone of a democratic society.
  • Libraries provide communal spaces for social, cultural, political and economic interaction especially in communities where such spaces do not exist. This may not be possible under prevailing circumstances, but at its heart, the library gives meaning to the ancient Greek concept of “agora” – an open space that served as a meeting ground for various activities of the citizens.
  • Libraries contribute to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and the UN 2030 Agenda through, among others, the inclusion of access to information, universal literacy, public access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and cultural heritage.
  • Libraries play an important role in preserving and promoting our literary and cultural heritage.
  • Libraries play a vital role in inculcating and fostering a literate society, from early literacy through storytelling and making materials available to children for reading and play, to providing access to a variety of reading and audio-visual materials for all ages, in all languages and reading formats.
  • Libraries support academic success by providing access to valuable reference sources and databases; they encourage further research and thus contribute to the growth of the knowledge base of the country.
  • Libraries provide access to the internet (Wi-Fi as well as public computer access).
  • Libraries play an important role in life-long learning by providing access to learning programmes from the cradle to the grave.


LIASA initiated SALW in 2001 as a commemorative period when all types of libraries across the country use it as an opportunity to market their services and create awareness of the important role that libraries play in a democracy, advancing literacy, making the basic human right of freedom of access to information a reality, and to promote tolerance and respect in society.

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