Groundbreaking Ceremony for National Library of Timor-Leste

Minister of State and of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and

Official Spokesperson for the Government of Timor-Leste

 Dili, August 16th, 2017

Groundbreaking Ceremony for National Library of Timor-Leste

A groundbreaking ceremony to be conducted on the 16th of August will mark the beginning of the construction of the National Library of Timor-Leste. The event organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources celebrates a historic step in the delivery of the National Library Project with construction scheduled for completion in 2019.

The Secretariat of Arts and Culture manages this major project funded primarily through a ‘local content commitment’ attached to an oil field development in the Timor Sea [PSC 06-105 Eni JDPA]. The Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, H.E. Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, President of the National Authority for Petroleum and Minerals, Mr. Gualdino da Silva, and the Secretary of State for Arts and Culture, H.E. Isabel de Jesus Ximenes are to speak at the event.

Work on this project has been underway for many years with work done to develop skilled staff, plan construction, pass necessary legislation and build a collection of specimens. The Organic Law of the National Library of Timor-Leste [no.21/2016 of June 22] defines the purpose of the institution “to collect, process and preserve the Timorese documentary heritage, as well as ensure its study, dissemination and conditions for its enjoyment and ensure the classification and inventory of the national bibliographic heritage.” It establishes four key National Directorates: Acquisitions, Processing and Conservation; Collections, Access and Disclosure; General Administration; and Information Systems.

The Secretariat for Arts and Culture has trained staff, several who have already obtained graduate degrees in library studies, and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Library of Portugal, for the provision of ongoing support to build the library’s collection and train staff. The National Library will be connected to smaller libraries throughout the country, and to the education sector, to promote learning and foster awareness of cultural heritage.

Spokesperson, Minister of State Agio Pereira, noted “the groundbreaking ceremony is a historic moment for Timor-Leste. It is the result of good work done to ensure ‘local content commitments’ to enable funding and many years of work within the Secretariat of Arts and Culture to manage the project and prepare the necessary human resources. The National Library will benefit our people for many generations to come, as a repository of information and as an institution tasked to preserve and honor the cultural heritage of our homeland.”ENDS