About the library

The BAB’s Library and Collections department consists of the general library and the special collections. While the general library comprises written publications, a wide range of published media may be found in the collections. Unpublished materials are overseen by the Archive and Documentation department. In terms of content, an extensive collection of Namibiana forms the library’s core. It covers many disciplines and themes.




The Library comprises over 58,000 books and about 600 journal subscriptions on southern Africa. Added to this are about 2,000 individual issues of journals and a small stock of daily and weekly newspapers. The library’s scholarly offerings are further expanded with reference works and nearly 1,200 bibliographies covering the entire African continent. (Inventory as of January 2024)



In terms of content, vast holdings related to Namibia form the core of the library. They are interdisciplinary in nature and thematically diverse. The library includes works in every Namibian language, as well as historical, natural and social science-based monographs and journals that are kept as complete and up to date as possible. The holdings also include belles-lettres, either written in or related to Namibia, and a unique collection of grey literature, textbooks and publications by Namibian authorities. The periodicals from Namibia include general political journals as well as popular magazines, bulletins and publications by Namibian organisations, government agencies and businesses.



Apart from Namibia, other countries in southern Africa are covered by the library through the purchase of standard reference works, historical literature, works in the social sciences and selected journals. In addition, the library houses works by Swiss citizens who have lived in Africa.




The Collections contain about 2,100 country and city maps, around 8,900 posters, 840 films, the 3,000-book Hans W. Debrunner collection and the rare book collection encompassing around 3,600 titles. (Inventory as of January 2024)


A more detailed description of each collection’s contents may be found under the menu item Holdings.

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