Seychelles National Library to reopen in 2023 after fungus infestation and renovation

Renovation work on the National Library of Seychelles building is expected to be completed by May 2023, said a senior official from the Green Island Construction Company (GICC) under contract for the project.

Angélique Antat, the general manager of GICC – a subsidiary of the public company Island Development Company (IDC) – made the announcement on Wednesday during a site visit.

Antat said that when the renovation is completed in May next year, the building will be something completely new.

The National Library building, which housed the National Archives and library, was closed in August 2013 following a fungus infestation.

Infrastructure Agency chief executive Jitesh Shah told reporters that “because the contractors have removed everything from the building leaving only its outer shell, the fungal infestation that was a problem before will no longer be a problem. “.

He attributed the initial fungus infestation to improper ventilation systems that were put in place for certain areas.

“We find that when centralized air conditioning systems stop working they are replaced by individual units leading to fungus infestation situations as we circulate the same air over and over again. In addition to new ventilation systems to solve fungus problem, the finish of the building will consist of materials that are easier to clean and collect less dust – as dust is one of the mediums on which the fungus thrives,” Shah said.

Antat said they “are confident that we won’t have the same problem as in the past. We have been in contact with companies that specialize in air conditioning, so we will be installing systems that will ensure that there is no will have more mushrooms in the building.”

GICC was contracted to carry out the renovation at a cost of $5.6 million (SCR 75 million).

The government of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is funding the project through loans from local banks.

GICC has hired an architect to redesign the building which will mainly consist of library facilities and some administrative offices on the top floor. The company said the current garden found on the premises will also be upgraded to make visitors feel comfortable both inside and outside the library. There will also be a section where students and adults can comfortably carry out their research work.

Additionally, the National Archives will no longer be based in the renovated building due to space constraints.

“When you create an archive, it’s not something that lasts five or six years, but rather a minimum of 30 years – that’s why it should be in a place where it can continue to grow,” said an official from the Seychelles National Institute of Culture. , Heritage and Arts, Cecile Kalebi.

Apart from the need for space, Kalebi also explained that the Archives will be housed in another building so that “in the event of another mushroom outbreak, we only know of one of these institutions that would be affected and not all of them. of the system”.

Currently, the Archives are based at Maison Helena on Ile du Port – a man-made island next to the capital Victoria.

She said that upon completion, the newly refurbished library will have modern facilities in line with the expanded mandate of these institutions around the world.

“Libraries are no longer just places to borrow books. A library is currently providing an e-book service and we will also have physical copies of the books and look for additional titles to encourage young people and the general public to continue visiting,” Kalébi said.

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