Timings : Monday to Saturday – 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM Sundays – Closed
Carnegie Library, Mauritius Overview
Wouldn’t it be just beautiful if you could take an educational detour amidst your sunbathing and swimming schedule, somewhere far away from the beaches and ocean? Well, good for you as Mauritius takes care of that as well. If you happen to find yourself in Curepipe, don't forget to visit the Carnegie Library located right in the centre of the town. You can find it inside a stone building with a distinctive neoclassical porch.
Andrew Carnegie found the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust in 1913 and Carnegie Libraries were built in different countries with the money donated by him, who was a Scottish-American businessman and a philanthropist as well. The Carnegie Foundation built the library at Curepipe in 1917, and it has been well known since then for its collection of manuscripts and Indian Ocean Island books. Its construction was started by Messrs, Genève, Hall and Langlois in 1917 when Sir Henry Hesketh Bell, the then Governor of Mauritius, laid the first stone on 30th June 1917. The library was opened to the public in January 1920.
Vision and Mission
The Carnegie Library facilitates the access to a vast range of books and periodicals. They aim to offer easy and equal access to all its existing facilities and services for education, research, culture, information or just for leisure purposes.
Their vision is to make the library available for any personal and intellectual enrichment, to empower the users and readers in today’s information age and be a dynamic centre for lifelong learning and knowledge gaining.
The Carnegie Library has been working in collaboration with the National Library of Mauritius, Centre Culturel Africain, Institut de Maurice, National Archives of Mauritius and several other Municipality Boards to promote reading among the public and encouraging them to use the facilities and services of the Carnegie Library.
The Carnegie Library has its own Curepipe Carnegie Library Act, amended in October 2014, the only municipal library under the local authorities for the matter.
The library is famous all over the world for its collection of original letters of renowned historical personalities like Matthew Flinders, Mahe de Labourdonnais, old documents and manuscripts dating back to the 17th and 18th century. It also houses some rare and ancient collections known as ‘D’Epinay’ and ‘Rouillard’. Almost all the publications are in either French or English except few, which are in oriental languages.
Indian Ocean Islands Collection
Nearly 15000 works of Mauritian authors like rare manuscripts have been assorted in the library, and they are available for consultation purposes only. You can find about 17 local newspapers and 80 latest periodicals, both local and foreign, in the reading area of the library. The open rack exhibits the most recent issues. Only registered members can lend the back issues of periodicals.
The rare documents and manuscripts collection mainly consists of D’Epinayand Rouillard collections, accounted for 69 manuscripts. The D’Epinay collection has nearly 400 titles while there are 365 titles for the Rouillard collection. You can refer to these documents from 9.00 AM to 4.00 PM only on weekdays. It is strictly prohibited to photocopy, photography or video recording of these manuscripts and documents without getting authorised clearance from the Council. The Council has published the following manuscripts –
· My Dear Friend: The Flinders-Pitot Correspondence (1803-1814). Edited by Prof. M.S. Riviere and published in 2003.
· La Plume et L’Epee: Memoires de Mahe de Labourdonnais (1740-1742). Edited by Prof. M.S. Riviere and published in 2005.
· Codes Noirs et Autres documents concernant I’esclavage (1671-1762). Edited by Prof. M.S. Riviere and published in 2009.
Harper Lee Centre
The American Centre was opened and inaugurated in the library on 8th September 2010 by the U.S. Ambassador Mary Jo Wills, Curepipe Mayor Coomera Pyaneeandee and Local Government Minister Herve Aimee. For two years, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed. The Memorandum of Understanding was renewed for two more years on 21st February 2013 and again on 2nd April 2015 to reinforce the partnership and relationship between the two parties over the American Corner.
The American Centre was renamed in 2010 to the ‘Harper Lee Centre’ after the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, a classic American novel. The book is included in the English literature programs in many Mauritian secondary schools. The centre can be found on the first floor inside the library, and it has a collection of 500 fictional and non-fictional books for adults and children. It is accessible by the public and available in the Reading and Reference sections.
Join the Library
The Carnegie Library is open for the public irrespective of their residential place. To be able to borrow books and periods, one has to become a member of the library by filling out an application form and paying the necessary fee. The members have to pay a deposit fee for books and periodicals that are refundable upon membership cancellation. The charge is INR 100 per book and INR 50 for two publications.
There is no annual subscription fee for the inhabitants of Curepipe. For non-residents, INR 50 for books and INR 30 for periodicals are to be paid as a yearly fee.
All members are allowed to borrow a maximum of two books and two periodicals at a time for 15 days. A fine of INR 1 per book/ publication per day is applied for late returns. You can renew the books and periodicals twice through your phone.
The library also organises regular activities for the children and the public as well.
Facilities and Services
There is a good collection of 20000 books written by Mauritian authors and are divided into two sections – adult and junior. The books are in French and English and are available only for the registered members. For an on-spot consultation, there are reference books for children as well. Children can take magazines on loan too.
Over 40000 books including encyclopaedias, dictionaries and subjects ranging from Philosophy, Computer Science, Social Science, Religion, Pure and Applied Science, Linguistics, Literature, Arts and History are featured in the library. Members and non-members can avail this consultation service by presenting a National Identity Card or a valid Student Bus Pass.
You can also photocopy the library materials by requesting the library staff. All the photocopied documents are subject to the Copyright Act, and a fee of INR 1.50 per A4 page is charged.
There is also a Cybercafé inside the library with fifteen operational personal computers. The usage of the Internet or Microsoft Word or Excel is charged at 50 cents per minute by using the ADSL technology. If you want to access the printing service, it will cost you INR 3 for per copy of black and white printing. On top of that, you can also avail the free Wi-Fi connection in the library.
For all those bookworms out there, if you are bored of lying idle on the beach and soaking the sun, put on your studying glasses, head to the historic Carnegie Library, and spend a pleasant day in this abode of knowledge!