SAIAB News » Minister of the DST, Naledi Pandor, opens the new Margaret Smith Library

SAIAB has a close working relationship with the Rhodes University Department of Ichthyology and Fishery Science and students use the Margaret Smith Library extensively. Modern architectural design has transformed the previously cold, dark, dungeon-like ground floor, which was custom built in 1975 to house the national fish collection, into an airy, light, interactive, academic hub which will provide a stimulating study and meeting area for students and researchers from around the world.

The library was established in the 1940s with a small collection of books and scientific papers belonging to Professor JLB Smith. The early indexing system and card catalogue were developed by his wife and research partner, Margaret Smith. The collection was first stored in a small room in Artillery Road, which was then part of the Rhodes University Ichthyology Department of which JLB Smith was head. After his death in 1986, Margaret Smith set up and took on the role of Director of the JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology. When the Institute moved to its present premises in Somerset Street in 1975, the library moved with it. The holdings include some 5000 books and 2000 serial titles, a large reprint collection dating back to the 1800s and 206 titles in the rare book collection.

As a result of the challenges facing developing African nations, Africa still lacks the necessary research capacity to deal with the impact of growing populations and increasing pressures on its aquatic living resources.  Through its Library SAIAB is an active participant in an important and growing international African libraries project, improving access to fisheries and aquaculture information in Africa by networking and sharing resources with other African institutions.

On a visit to SAIAB on 13 September 2010, the Minister of the Department of Science and Technology, Mrs Naledi Pandor, officially opened the new Margaret Smith Library which, with the adjoining JLB Smith Collection Management Centre, commemorates the memory of Professor JLB Smith and Margaret Smith and their legacy of discovery and research in Ichthyology and related fields.