library staff in the 1970sIn 1958, the newly founded African Studies Centre in Leiden was just a small documentation centre. It was established by the African Institute in Rotterdam (now The Netherlands African Business Council in The Hague), which was formed back in 1945 to ‘look after the interests of all Netherlands companies which operate in or have commercial links with Africa’. Initially, the documentation centre collected economic and business-related information about Africa to support the information needs of Dutch companies developing trade relations in Africa. When the ASC was officially set up in Leiden in 1958 as an independent research institute, the focus of the documentation department shifted to cultural, political, social and economic developments in Africa. The documentation department changed into a professional library in 1963 and the collection grew quickly. The library staff is dedicated and committed, and most staff members have been working at the centre for many years, ensuring continuity and stability. The library has had six different head librarians:

  • Drs E. Nix (1958-1974)
  • Drs. Ph.A. Emanuel (1974-1977)
  • Drs J. van der Meulen (1977-1996)
  • Drs P.C.J.M. de Rijk (1996-2002)
  • Drs T. van der Werf (2002-2006)
  • Drs. J.C.M. Damen (2006-...)