University of Cape Town UCT Library

University of Cape Town UCT Library

UCT Libraries came into being in 1905 when the printed resources accumulated by the then South African College were, for the first time, assembled into an organised collection by the incumbent professor of modern languages. That original library collection was housed in Hiddingh Hall on the Hiddingh Campus.

Today that collection consists of more than 1,2 million volumes, including a number of special collections. The Libraries’ journal holdings consist of over 72,000 e-journal titles and more than 28,500 print journal titles. Our students and researchers can explore the world’s scholarly literature using 190 high-quality electronic databases. Resources in audiovisual and other formats number more than 38,000 items.

The collection is housed in the main library – the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library – and nine branch libraries situated on UCT’s various campuses in close proximity to the academic departments they serve. (Read more about the History of UCT Libraries.)

The Chancellor Oppenheimer Library

The Chancellor Oppenheimer Library (COL) lies at the heart of UCT’s Upper Campus and spans three buildings which form a U-shaped structure surrounding the University’s historic assembly venue, Jameson Hall. (Upper Campus Plan)

The central section of the COL houses our user services: the Loans Desk, Short Loans Centre, Interlibrary Loans, and the Information Desk, as well as study space, audio-visual viewing facilities, bookstacks and journals. Adjoining this area are the Undergraduate Wing on the north side, and the Research Wing to the south.

The Undergraduate Wing provides work and study space for undergraduate students, and includes the Knowledge Commons—an undergraduate research facility fitted with well-equipped computer workstations where students can access the Libraries’ electronic resources, use a variety of computer applications, and obtain assistance from professional librarians.

The Research Wing occupies the original J.W. Jagger building, which forms the south side of the COL. It offers quiet workspace for senior and postgraduate students and houses the current journals display, the UCT thesis collection, and the offices of our subject-specialist librarians. On the uppermost level of the Research Wing is the Research Commons, which provides well-appointed workspace and high-end technology, as well as expert assistance, to academic staff and postgraduate students at master’s and doctoral level.

The lower levels of the Research wing house our major research collections: the African Studies Library, Manuscripts & Archives, Rare Books & Special Collections, and the Government Publications Department.

Branch Libraries and Departments

African Studies Collection (Library map: COL Levels 1-3)
Situated on Levels 2 and 3 of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, the African Studies Collection is part of UCT Libraries’ Special Collections Division. The African Studies Collection is an internationally-renowned Africana research collection which includes extensive holdings of monographs, periodicals, ephemera, pamphlets, videos, sound recordings, maps, conference papers, and newspapers.

Bolus Herbarium Library (Library map: Upper Campus plan)
Housed in the H.W.Pearson Building in the Department of Biological Sciences, the library contains a comprehensive collection of modern literature relating to systematic and evolutionary botany, plant ecology, ecophysiology and conservation ecology (much of it in a South African context), as well as numerous international journals focusing on these specific topics.

Built Environment Library (BEL) (Library map: Upper Campus plan)
Situated in the Centlivres Building on Upper Campus this Library houses materials on architecture, planning, and construction economics & management.

Circulation (Loans Desk) (Library map: COL Main and Upper Levels)
Our busy Loans Desk is located on the main level of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, close to the Library Entrance.

Digitisation Unit 
The Digitisation Unit is situated on Level 6 of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library. This unit is responsible for the Libraries’ digitisation projects and hosts UCT’s digital repository of research publications, digital collections, and masters’ and doctoral theses.

Government Publications (Library map: COL Main and Upper Levels)
The Government Publications Department, on the Main Level (level 4) of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, houses both current and historical government documents, including census, legislation, parliamentary, planning, policy, public finance, and statistical materials.

Health Sciences Library (Library map: Health Sciences Campus plan)
Located on UCT’s Medical Campus, the Health Sciences Library serves the health professionals, researchers, and students of the Universities’ Health Sciences Faculty and associated teaching hospitals.

Hiddingh Hall Library (Library map: Hiddingh Campus plan)
Located in Hiddingh Hall on UCT’s Hiddingh Campus, this was UCT’s original library. It is now the Branch Library which serves the Departments of Fine Art, History of Art, and Drama.

Institute of Child Health Library (ICH)
Situated in the School of Child & Adolescent Health in the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Rondebosch, this library serves the medical students, interns, registrars, and consultants working at the Hospital.

Interlibrary Loans (ILL) (Library map: COL Main and Upper Levels)
Situated on Level 4 of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, this department provides access for our users to materials held in other southern African libraries and beyond.

Jewish Studies Library (Library map: Upper Campus plan)
The Jewish Studies Library in the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies on Upper Campus, houses collections of Hebrew and Yiddish materials, as well as other resources documenting Jewish culture and history.

Knowledge Commons (KC) (Library map: COL Main and Upper Levels)
The KC is the Library’s undergraduate research facility. It provides well-equipped computer workstations, a wealth of electronic resources, and assistance from professional librarians. It is situated to the right of the entrance to the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library.

Law Library (Library map: Middle Campus plan)
The Brand van Zyl Law Library is located in the Kramer Law Building on Middle Campus. It houses collections of South African, foreign, international, and comparative legal materials.

Manuscripts & Archives (Library map: COL Levels 1-3)
The Manuscripts and Archives Department is located in the African Studies Library, which is in the Research Wing of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library. It houses extensive collections of original research material relating to the political, social, cultural, and economic history of the Western Cape.

Music Library (Library map: Middle Campus plan)
The WH Bell Music Library on Middle Campus serves South African College of Music and the UCT School of Dance. It houses books, journals, scores, and audiovisual materials.

Rare Books (Library map: COL Levels 1-3)
Containing some of the Libraries’ most rare and valuable treasures within a number of unique book and journal collections, this Department is situated on Level 1 of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library.

Research Commons 
The Research Commons is a scholarly common room equipped with advanced IT facilities and comfortable workspace for UCT’s researchers and senior postgraduate students. It is situated on Level 6 of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library and is accessed by stairs or lift in the Research Wing.

Short Loans Centre (Library map: COL Main and Upper Levels)
Catering for the needs of the Upper Campus undergraduate population, this department facilitates access to heavily-used materials. It is situated on the Main Level (level 4) of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library.

Special Collections (Library map: COL Levels 1-3)
UCT Libraries Special Collections is comprised of four sections: the African Studies Collection, Manuscripts & Archives, Rare Books, and Government Publications. These sections are located on Levels 1 to 4 of the Research Wing of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library.

Library Hours – Terms

The opening hours in the table below are observed during the academic terms and the short mid-term vacations. Vacation hours come into effect during the long mid-year and year-end vacations.

24 Hour study areas:  When the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library is closed, the Hlanganani 24/7 study area will be open.

Library/SectionMondays – ThursdaysFridaysSaturdays
African Studies Collections08h30 – 17h3008h30 – 17h3009h00 – 13h00
Bolus Herbarium10h00 – 12h0010h00 – 12h00CLOSED
Built Environment08h30 – 18h0008h30 – 17h0009h00 – 13h00
Chancellor Oppenheimer08h00 – 22h0008h00 – 18h0009h00 – 17h00
Government Publications08h00 – 17h0008h00 – 17h0009h00 – 13h00
Health Sciences08h30 – 22h0008h30 – 18h0008h30 – 12h30
Hiddingh Hall08h30 – 18h0008h30 – 17h0010h00 – 13h00
Inst. of Child Health08h30 – 13h00; 14h00 – 17h0008h30 – 13h00; 14h00 – 17h00CLOSED
Interlibrary Loans08h00 – 17h0008h00 – 17h00CLOSED
Knowledge Commons08h00 – 22h0008h00 – 18h0009h00 – 17h00
Law08h00 – 22h0008h00 – 17h0009h00 – 17h00
Library Learning Lounge08h00 – 17h0008h00 – 17h00CLOSED
Loans Desk08h00 – 22h0008h00 – 18h0009h00 – 17h00
Manuscripts & Archives08h30 – 17h3008h30 – 17h3009h00 – 13h00
Music08h30 – 17h0008h30 – 17h0009h00 – 12h00
Rare Books08h30 – 17h3008h30 – 17h3009h00 – 13h00
Research Commons08h30 – 19h0009h00 – 18h0009h00 – 13h00
Short Loans Centre08h00 – 22h0008h00 – 18h0009h00 – 17h00
Special Collections08h30 – 17h3008h30 – 17h3009h00 – 13h00


Library Hours – Long Vacation Hours

The opening hours in the table below are observed during the long mid-year and year-end vacations.

Term hours come into effect during the academic terms and the short mid-term vacations.

24 Hour study areas – When the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library is closed, the Hlanganani 24/7 study area will be open.

Library/SectionMondays – FridaysSaturdays
African Studies Collections08h30 – 17h0009h00 – 12h30
Bolus Herbarium10h00 – 12h00CLOSED
Built Environment08h30 – 13h00; 14h00 – 17h00CLOSED
Chancellor Oppenheimer08h30 – 17h0009h00 – 12h30
Government Publications08h30 – 17h0009h00 – 12h30
Health Sciences08h30 – 17h0008h30 – 12h30
Hiddingh Hall08h30 – 17h00CLOSED
Inst. of Child Health09h00 – 13h00; 14h00 – 17h00CLOSED
Interlibrary Loans08h30 – 17h00CLOSED
Knowledge Commons08h30 – 17h0009h00 – 12h30
Law08h30 – 17h0009h00 – 12h00
Library Learning LoungeCLOSEDCLOSED
Loans Desk08h30 – 17h0009h00 – 12h30
Manuscripts & Archives08h30 – 17h0009h00 – 12h30
Music08h30-13h00; 14h00-17h00CLOSED
Rare Books08h30 – 17h0009h00 – 12h30
Research Commons08h30 – 17h0009h00 – 12h30
Short Loans Centre08h30 – 17h0009h00 – 12h30
Special Collections08h30 – 17h00 09h00 – 12h30

Library Contacts

General Enquiries:

UCT Libraries Telephone:  +27 21 650-3703
University of Cape Town Fax:  +27 21 650-2965
Private Bag X3 e-Mail:
Rondebosch 7701  South Africa


Specific Contacts: TelephoneFax
Access Services (Loans, ILL, Short Loans)

Manager: Niel Mostert

021 650 3119021 689 7569
Accounts Office 

Finance Manager: Mignon van der Merwe

021 650 3099021 650 2965
Acquisitions Department

Manager: Caroline Dean

021 650 3701021 650 2044
African Studies Collections & Rare Books


021 650 4089021 650 2965
Bolus Herbarium Library

Senior Library Assistant: Awot Gebregziabher

021 650 3774021 650 4041
Buildings & Services

Senior Building Supervisor: Blythe Edwins

021 650 3129

Building Supervisors’ Office

021 650 3109021 650 2965
Built Environment Library


021 650 2370

Acting Branch Librarian:  Dianne Steele

021 650 5953
Cataloguing & Metadata

Manager: Mandy Noble

021 650 3110021 685 1734
Circulation  —  see Loans Desk
Commerce Information Services

General Enquiries: Susanne Noll

021 650 3115021 650 4476
Digital Integration Services

Librarian: Heather Hodgson

021 650 3994 021 650 2044
Digitisation & Digital Services


Manager: Niklas Zimmer

021 650 1273021 650 2957021 650 1276 

Research Data Management

021 650 3392

Digital Curation Officer: Kayleigh Roos

Document Centre: Campus Copy & Print021 650 4813/5
General Enquiries021 650  3134021 650  2965
Government Publications Department


021 650 3177021 650 2965

Senior Librarian: Laureen Rushby

021 650 4686
Health Sciences Library


021 406 6388021 448 2579

Manager: Saskia Vonk

021 406 6359
Hiddingh Hall Library


021 650 7135

 Branch Librarian:  Solvej Vorster

021 650 7139
Humanities Information Services

Manager:  Alex D’Angelo

021 650 4475021 650 2965
Information Desk021 650 3703/4021 650 2965
Institute of Child Health Library


021 658 5353
Interlibrary Loans


021 650 3113021 689 2981

Librarian:  Anita Visser

021 650 4118
Jewish Studies Library

Librarian: Glynnis Johnson

021 650 5944
Knowledge Commons


021 650 4313021 650 2965
Law Library


021 650 2708/9021 650 2965

Manager:  Sadiq Keraan

021 650 2671
Library and Information Studies Centre


021 650 4546021 650 2965

Head of Department: A/Professor Jaya Raju

021 650 3091
Library Directorate


021 650 3100021 650 2965
021 650 3097

Executive Director: Gwenda Thomas

021 650 3096

Deputy Director (User Services):  Reggie Raju

021 650 5827

Deputy Director (Technical Services): Dale Peters

021 650 5932
Loans Desk


021 650 3118/20021 689 7569

Manager: Niel Mostert

021 650 3119
Manuscripts & Archives Department


021 650 4089021 686 1505

Manager:  Renate Meyer

021 650 4424
Music Library


021 650 2624

Senior Librarian:  Brandon Adams

021 650 4294
Photocopiers: Campus Copy & Print021 650 4813/5
Reception021 650 3870021 650 2965
Research Commons

Amina Adam

021 650-4473021 650 2965
Science & Technology Information Services 

General Enquiries Dianne Steele

021 650-5953

General Enquiries: Gcobisa Xalabile

021 650-4733
Short Loans Centre


021 650 3117021 689 7569

Manager: Niel Mostert

021 650 3119
Special Collections Information Services

 Manager:  Renate Meyer

021 650 4424021 686 1505
Subscriptions & e-Resources
             Subscriptions Librarian:  Jeremiah Pietersen021 650 3132021 650 2044
Undergraduate Support Services

Manager: Nuroo Davids

021 650 5305021 650 2965