Beginning — 1940s

The humble beginnings of the Qaumee Kuthubukhaanaa goes back to the 20th century, two decades before Maldives gained independence from British colonial rule.

During early 1940s the Chief Justice of Maldives Sheikh Hussayn Salahuddin setup a bookshelf inside the justice house. The collection consisted of various texts of Islamic Fiqh he has received from one of his former students, Sheikh Hussain of Felidhoo.

In the mid-1940s Muhammad Amin Didi, a leading political figure at the time decides to start a club “Naadhee Thamadhdhun” (lit. Civilisation Club) and have a small library within the club. When the news reached the Chief Justice, he decided to donate the collection at the justice house and some books from his own personal book collection to the library.

Dhaulathuge Kuthubukhaanaa 1945 - 1948

Amin Didi held a ceremony at the club on July 12, 1945 (Sh’aban 1, 1364) for the inauguration of the library under the name Dhaulathuge Kuthubukhaanaa (trans. State Library). Amin Didi gave the honor of opening the state library to Chief Justice Sheikh Salahuddin. A number of scholars and intellects participated in the library opening ceremony.

Majeedhee Kuthubukhaanaa 1948 - 1982

In 1948 the state library was renamed from Dhaulathuge Kuthubukhaanaa to Majeedhee Kuthubukhaanaa. Amin Didi chose the name after one of the famous political thinkers and statesman of Maldives, 'Abdul Majeed Rannabandeyri Kilegefaanu.

The library kept functioning under the Vuzaarathudhdhaakhiliyyaa (trans. Home Ministry). During this time the library received a revolving collection of books from the Colombo based British Council. The collection was to rotate every three months. The library also received a book collection left by the British in Gan island military base, Addu atoll.

The library also saw progress in its administration, a budget section and the position of English secretary was formed. The library service was only open to library members as it had been since the beginning of the library. The library service duties was carried out by Sayyid 'Abdul Latheef of Kalhuhuraage.

In December 1978 the newly elected government created a librarian post for the first time and appointed Habeeba Hussayn Habeeb as the librarian of Majeedhee Kuthubukhaanaa; earlier she served as the first English secretary of the library and later on became the executive director of the national library until her retirement. She did an extensive work on the progress of national library and the library field in Maldives. Also in the same year the library’s administration was changed to run under the supervision of the President’s Office.

The government decided to bring a high level advisory delegate from UNESCO in 1980. The delegate’s role was to provide consultation about the government’s development plan of Majeedhee Kuthubukhaanaa and school libraries in Maldives. The project resulted in the first librarianship courses conducted at Majeedhee Library.

Qaumee Kuthubukhaanaa 1982 – present

The library was renamed a second time on June 1, 1982 by President Maumoon 'Abdul Qayyoom, as Qaumee Kuthubukhaanaa (trans. National Library). The notion of national and public library was introduced in this era.

The National Library of Maldives began functioning as both national library and public library for lending items. The library continued to operate under the President’s Office until 1993 when the library began functioning under the new Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Later on between 2009 and 2013 the library was administered under Ministry of Tourism and from 2013 onwards the library has been operating as a department under Ministry of Youth and Sports. From July 13, 2018 onwards the library has been operating as a department under Ministry of Arts Culture and Heritage.


Habeeb, H. H. (2009) Library. ISBN: 99915-2-599-8

Page Last Updated: 2021-01-25 12:21