The UCT Library is a world-class repository for knowledge and innovative research. Our library offers a wide range of research and research materials, as well as professional and competent support for obtaining information and research.
The UCT Library was created in 1905 when printed resources from South African universities at the time were put together in a collection first organized by an incumbent modern language professor. This original library collection was stored in the Hiddingh Hall on the Hiddingh campus.
This collection consists of more than 1.2 million books, including a number of special collections. The library’s journal inventory contains over 72,000 e-journal titles and over 28,500 print journal titles. Our students and researchers can explore the world’s scientific literature using 190 high-quality electronic databases. Audiovisual and other forms of resources contain over 38,000 items.
The Collection is housed in the main building of the Oppenheimer Library and seven sub-libraries at various UCT locations in the immediate vicinity of the supervising department.
Request a book online or by visiting the Loans Desk.
How long will it take to get a book?
The person who has it out on loan will be given a maximum of 7 days to return the book. For urgent requests, visit the Loans Desk staff who will do their best to retrieve the item as quickly as possible.
Request a book from a Branch Library
Request the book online. Specify a pick-up location for the book and the book will be transferred on your behalf. You will receive an email when the book is available for you to borrow.
The notice is to remind you of the due date and inform you that a fine will accrue should your books not be returned in time.
What happens if I return my books after the due date?
- Late returns: R2.00 per day.
- Late returns on recalled books (requested by another borrower): R5.00 per day
- Fines accrue to a maximum of R50 per item.
- Fines R50.00 or more: Triggers an automated system “block” which prevents you from borrowing further items until the fine is paid.
Lost a library book?
- Go to the Loans Desk and inform the staff.
- Lost library materials must be paid for by the borrower who has lost them.
- An additional handling charge of R250 (to cover the costs of reordering, cataloging, and processing) will be payable per item.
Things you need to know about UCT Libraries:
The branch libraries are situated on the various UCT campuses, close to the academic departments they serve. They include:
- the Health Sciences Library, opposite Groote Schuur Hospital
- the Brand van Zyl Law Library, on Middle Campus
- the WH Bell Music Library, adjacent to the South African College of Music
- the Hiddingh Hall Library, near the Michaelis School of Fine Art.
Research materials can be found in all the libraries, but particularly in the Special Collections division. Located in the JW Jagger building, this building has been restored to its original historic condition.
The Special Collections division houses:
- unique collections of rare books
- original materials relating to African history
- the papers of prominent public figures
- historical maps and architectural drawings
- extensive government publications from Africa and abroad
- institutional archives
- Africana collections that attract scholars from around the world.
Access to Special Collections is via the entrance to the JW Jagger Building on University Avenue.
Digital Library Services
The Libraries’ dedicated Digital Library Services (DLS) unit offers Digital scholarship, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and data stewardship services to the research, teaching, and learning communities at UCT. Platforms and services provided include:
Hosting the UCT community of Data Stewards and Champions:
- UCT Research Data Services project on OSF (includes presentation slides from Research in Digital Times Lunchtime Lecture Series)
- RDM at UCT Slack workspace (join)
OTHER USEFUL LINKS