10 July 2003


On June 26, 2003, eight days before the end of the last school term, students from three schools (Belmont Junior Secondary, Belmont Boys Secondary and Malick Senior Comprehensive) were temporarily (and partially) banned from the National Library. This was only a partial ban in the sense that students from these schools, if accompanied by a teacher, parent or any other adult, could be admitted to the library. The action was taken primarily to prevent what was believed to be an imminent “show down” between the students of the named schools. It followed immediately after a serious incident outside the National Library on June 25, which was widely reported in the national press. The temporary, partial ban was lifted on July 05, 2003.

The National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) held a consultation on July 09, 2003 with a number of stakeholders to discuss issues affecting the delivery of services to its users. Stakeholders present included representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Administration and Information, Ministry of Social Development, Dispute Resolution Centres, Downtown Owners and Merchants Association, National Parent Teacher Association, Central Guidance Unit, Police Service, YMCA, Belmont Junior Secondary School, and Phoenix Security Service. The Chair and Members of the Board of NALIS, and the executive management team, held wide-ranging and useful discussions with these representatives with a view to put systems in place for the new school year to prevent the recurrence of the difficulties experienced over the last few months.

NALIS is doing all in its power, in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, to ensure that the wonderful facilities provided at the National Library are safe, welcoming, and conducive to learning and development.