NWU, Potchefstroom Campus, News: Ferdinand Postma Library sixtieth anniversary

Ferdinand Postma Library – sixtieth anniversary

The Ferdinand Postma Library on the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary this year.
  This library’s corner-stone was laid on Saturday, 17 March 1951 and at that stage formed part of the main building of the Campus. The main building is one of the most well-known beacons on the Campus and presently houses the Faculty of Law.

FPB hoeksteen

FPB Onthul

The corner-stone was laid on 17 March 1951, which was unveiled by the then Minister of Education, Mr. JH Viljoen.

The unveiling of the relief statue of Prof. Ferdinand Postma in 1952 against the Library façade.


  The stone-laying ceremony was accompanied by the celebrations of the Puk becoming independent.
  In 1949, the venues in which the library was accommodated, in the north-eastern wing of the historic main building, were laid in ruins by a fire. The erection of a new “fire-proof library” then enjoyed very high priority.

FPB Brand

The fire in the main building in 1949 compelled the University to erect a “new fire-proof library”.


  Prof AL Meiring was then appointed architect, and in September 1949 the sketch plans of the new library were submitted. A tender to the amount of £43 437 from the firm Van Heerden and Johnson was accepted by the end of September that year. The original date for completion of the contract was October 1951.

FPB Argitekstekening

The sketch plans of the new library were submitted in September 1949.


  The corner-stone was laid during the celebrations of the independence, but the building was eventually only completed in 1952. The library was officially put into commission on 29 November 1952. It was named after Prof. Ferdinand Postma was attached to the University for 46 years, of which he served as rector for 29 years.

FPB voltooide gebou

The completed library building 1952, seen from the western side.


  In an article Die Veteraan (1952, dl XVII), the building was summarised as follows: “Apart from storing space or 100,000 to 120,000 book volumes in its magazine, the building presents space for calm, undisturbed study for 160 students in its spacious and pleasant study hall. For advanced and research students, 12 small study rooms have been planned.  Ample provision has been made for office and work space for the library staff, for the well-equipped book binding shop, for a photographic section and for a number of seminar rooms”.
  At the time, the library was considered one of the most modern library buildings in the country.

 Published by Kiewiet Scheppel on 10 March 2011.