About this collection:

The Aruba National Library

Since the 1940s, the need to collect and conserve the documented history of Aruba was felt as a critical task for the preservation of the cultural patrimony. The history of the Aruba National Library goes back to the early 1950s, when Johan Hartog, a historian and Aruba’s first librarian, emphasized the need for collecting the cultural products of the island in the field of literature and written resources and documents. Referring to publications in Papiamento, he wrote in a newspaper article: "Anyone who owns books concerning Aruba or the Netherlands Antilles, or who has books written in Papiamento or on Papiamento will be rendering the Aruban community a great service if he should present a copy of them to the library”.

When Aruba obtained its Status Aparte within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1986, time was ripe for the Biblioteca Publico Aruba to be solemnly renamed into Biblioteca Nacional Aruba by Governor Felipe Tromp. The Aruba National Library became a fact with the inauguration of the Departamento Arubiana that was assigned with the task to safeguard the cultural patrimony of Aruba.

The main goal of the Aruba National Library is to conserve the cultural heritage of Aruba. To reach this goal it actively collects all information produced by Arubans or about Aruba, including all types of information carriers, both in written or graphic forms. Due to the historical connection with the own region, in addition to a collection on Aruba, there is also a collection on the Netherlands Antilles and a small collection of books on the Caribbean. The collection Caribiana consists mainly of books, both fiction and non-fiction, while the collection Antilliana offers a variety of information on all five islands of the Netherlands Antilles.

The Status Aparte of Aruba was the stimulus for a dynamic and fascinating social-cultural development in a quest for Aruban identity. It was the time that the department of education started working on a new school curriculum with a focus on learning embedded in the own context, culture, language, and flora and fauna. The demand for information on topics related to Aruba, its history and future strategies was expressed in the growth trends of the visitors of Departamento Arubiana. Although the department was initially meant for local and international researchers on Aruban issues, service was soon extended to the larger community. Schoolchildren and students working on assignments, projects and presentations became a substantial part of the users of the department, while government officials frequently resort to the collection for information. In the last decades, the information from this collection has been a useful source of consultation for many productions, papers, books, documentaries and presentations.

The assets of the Aruba National Library were significantly enhanced by the incorporation of private collections that were kindly donated by the proprietor to the Departamento Arubiana, which were named after their previous owners. The most important of these is the Johan Hartog Collection, a private collection of books, articles, documents and artifacts, which also includes manuscripts and articles of Johan Hartog. A collection of documents from the LAGO, the first oil refinery on Aruba, contains historical documents on the economic development of Aruba and also includes valuable photos. Extensive cultural-historical information was incorporated into the collection with The Ito Tromp collection.

In the course of the years, the Departamento Arubiana collected information on the political history and political parties of Aruba, while a local newspaper depot goes back to periodical publications of the previous century. A small collection of antique and rare books is carefully conserved, including books that are several hundred years old. The history of the island in images is documented in a collection of approximately 500 volumes of audiovisual materials, with documentaries produced and recorded locally. In close cooperation with the Royal Library of The Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) a project could be realized successfully to microfilm a number of old issues of local newspapers that were also burned on CD Rom for easy access.

A committed team succeeded in expanding the collection of Departamento Arubiana considerably since 1986, while the number of visitors grew steadily. Service of the department is now being combined with information offered to students through a website. In twenty years, the Aruba National Library has become a key point of consultation on the island, serving an ever growing public. That is the reason, why Departamento Arubiana is now planning to move to a larger building close to its current location, by the renovation of a former family mansion. That will allow the Aruba National Library to render its services to the public and the community in an adequate way, and to respond to the critical needs of the community, since the cultural patrimony of a country constitutes the foundation for its development strategy.

Please direct any questions about this collection to arubiana@bibliotecanacional.aw, or call +297 582-6924

In Papiamento:

Irais Sankatsing-Nava

Biblioteca Nacional Aruba ta e caha di tesoro cultural di documentonan original, escritonan y produccionnan cu ta forma parti di nos memoria colectivo. E ta conserva nos historia social, cultural, politico y economico. E conhuntu di e material documental aki ta forma parti di e patrimonio cultural di Aruba cu mester ta conserva y actualisa como memoria nacional. Un pueblo mester por reconstrui y conoce e momentonan culminante di su historia y cultura
pa por traha na su futuro.

Historia no ta un buki di receta, sino un obra di consulta di un projecto continuo di nation building y desaroyo. Tarea nucleo di Biblioteca Nacional Aruba ta pa facilita e acceso na nos historia, pa crea e condicionnan adecuado pa por prepara nos pa e retonan di nos futuro. E deseo pa conoce nos pasado tabata forma parti di nos proceso di nation building, prome como isla y despues como pais.

E origen di nos biblioteca nacional ta data di 1949, ora cu dr. Johan Hartog, como prome bibliotecario di e Openbare Leeszaal en Boekerij, a cuminsa un coleccion di obranan arubiano y antiyano di buki, documento antiguo, rapport, folder, postkaart y informe anual. Cada buki tabata haya un stempel cu e peticion pa su sucesornan conservele pa siglonan venidero.

Durante decadanan e coleccion aki a sigui crece y a forma un base solido, pa na 1986, nos por a inaugura nos Biblioteca Nacional Aruba. Aruba tabata memey di e proceso fascinante di nation building y di bira un estado, cu a haya su culminacion den Status Aparte. Na e momento cu ‘nacional’ ta haya otro nificacion, e patrimonio documental tambe ta haya otro contenido. Pesey, Aruba a haya su mesun bandera, himno, parlamento, gobierno, y tambe su Biblioteca Nacional. Den e caso di nos pais, e directora di Biblioteca Nacional Aruba den e tempo ei, sra. Alice van Romondt, a opta pa un structura parecido na esun di paisnan di Caribe, esta un biblioteca nacional cu funcion di biblioteca publico.

Pa cumpli cu su tarea pa conserva nos patrimonio documental, a crea e Departamento Arubiana cu ta colecciona tur buki y documento cu un arubiano a crea, na unda cu e por ta, den ki forma cu ta, esta manuscripto, pamfleta, buki, corant, video, portret; enfin, tur portador di creacion intelectual. Nos ta colecciona tur publicacion tocante Aruba, tambe esun publica den exterior. Hunto esaki ta forma e coleccion nacional.

Alohamiento y conservacion di un coleccion nacional ta exigi un trabao sistematico pa por ubica tur publicacion cu tin di haber cu Aruba of cu ta skirbi pa un arubiano. Mester percura pa tur publicacion nobo ta mas lihe posibel den e coleccion.

Pa sigura optimalisacion di e coleccion nacional ta necesario un ley di Deposito Legal, cu ta sigura cu Biblioteca Nacional ta haya ehemplarnan di tur publicacion y produccionnan multimedia nobo na Aruba.

Te awor aki por papia di un deposito voluntario. Hopi autor ta deposita nan obra voluntariamente, pero esaki no ta un siguransa pa haya tur publicacion. Un proposicion di Ley di Deposito Legal a wordo entrega algun aña pasa na Directie Wetgeving.

Den e cuadro di conservacion y acceso di nos documentonan biew, raro y balioso, Biblioteca Nacional Aruba a cuminza un proyecto cu ayudo di Koninklijke Bibliotheek na Hulanda, subsidia pa UNESCO. Dos corant importante, Arubaanse Courant y El Despertador, a wordo poni riba microfilm y digitalisa riba CD, pa haci e consulta di e corantnan mas facil. Diariamente, e importancia di nos coleccion nacional ta wordo enfatisa como herencia cultural y como fuente di informacion tocante nos isla.

Investigadornan cientifico, studiantenan di tur nivel di nos sistema educativo, empleado di gobierno, escritor y artistanan cu ta busca inspiracion den nos patrimonio cultural ta frecuenta nos departamento. Tin biaha hasta nan ta superpobla nos espacionan chiquito. Cada vez mas, departamento di Arubiana ta haya un demanda creciente di nos usuario pa publicacion riba diferente tereno, cu no por wordo atendi adecuadamente. Particularmente, e demanda for di e campo educativo a crece hopi e ultimo añanan debi na e Ciclo Basico y e Ciclo Avanza, cu ta eherce basta presion riba nos biblioteca pa informacion riba diferente topico cu ta concerni Aruba. Imigrantenan nobo tambe ta hasi uso di e coleccion. Nos tin un necesidad grandi riba tur tereno y pa tur nivel pa mas investigacion y publicacion, y esey ta un reto grandi pa nos investigadornan.

Un deseo ferviente cu nos tin ta cu tur publicacion local y coleccion priva valioso ta haya nan caminda pa Biblioteca Nacional, pa asina por ta disponibel pa henter e comunidad y por wordo conserva pa futuro generacion. En todo caso, ta importante pa por registra tur coleccionan priva existente. Nos ta aprecia masha hopi cu nos a ricibi dos coleccion cu a duna un gran aporte na nos coleccion nacional, esta e Coleccion Hartog y e Coleccion Ito Tromp.

Pa conclui, nos tin un coleccion cu ya a forma base, tabata fuente di inspiracion y a juda realisa hopi publicacion cu ta riba mercado local y internacional. Pero ainda tin mas reto nos dilanti pa por sigui cu e trabao. E Departamento Arubiana a crece di tal forma cu e necesidad pa un espacio adecuado ta bira cada dia mas urgente. Pesey tin proposicionnan concreto pa expande e actual edificio of pa busca otro localidad.


Ta un responsabilidad nacional di nos tur pa conserva, actualiza y haci nos patrimonio documental accesibel. Mientras e ciudadano of organisacion ta brinda nan coleccion di hopi aña, e trabao di nos biblioteca pa sigui colecciona materialnan riba nos pais lo wordo apoya enormente mediante un deposito legal. Hunto, cu esfuerzonan uni, nos mester fortalece nos coleccion nacional como memoria nacional. Asina so, nos historia por bira un poderoso obra di consulta pa desaroya e Aruba cu nos tur ta desea.

Pa qualkier pregunta, please tuma contacto cu BNA Dept. Arubiana/Caribiana via arubiana@bibliotecanacional.aw, of yama +297 582-6924.