UCT Libraries

03 March 2021
<strong>Photo</strong> Je&rsquo;nine May.
Photo Je’nine May.

Occupying 17 000 m2 with 53 km of shelf space, UCT Libraries is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. But more than just an amazing repository of information, it’s run by a team of people who are dedicated to making your studies successful. This is what you need to know.

1. UCT Libraries

UCT Libraries is the collective name for the university’s main library and its seven branch libraries, many of which are housed in the various faculties. The Main Library, officially the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, can be found on upper campus.

2. Services

Structured in alignment with the six UCT faculties, UCT Libraries offers customised services for undergraduates, postgraduates, academics and staff. During the COVID-19 lockdown, a comprehensive Virtual Library Service will be available to support teaching and learning, and research.

When lockdown restrictions allow, UCT Libraries will open for staff and students according to approved health protocols, staffing, spatial layout and seating capacity at the different library sites. On-site services and facilities will be adapted to support the 2021 Teaching and Learning programme and a low-density campus.

3. Spaces

There are many spaces in the libraries for students to meet, study and collaborate, including the dedicated undergraduate Vincent Kolbe Knowledge Commons, group study rooms and 24/7 study areas, such as the Hlanganani Junction (upper campus).

Photo Je’nine May.
4. Resources

Your most important resource is a UCT librarian, who will introduce and guide you to the best information resources available to you. UCT Libraries has 1.2 million+ physical volumes, 72 000+ e-journal titles, 28 500+ print journal titles, 1 600 manuscript collections and 190 high-quality electronic databases.

In addition, librarians have developed a series of subject and study guides linked to academic subjects and courses. We have acquired Leganto, a course reading list tool, that will connect you to your course readings and other relevant materials.


“I wish somebody had told me that the librarians are there for a reason and they are a useful resource. If I could go back to my first year, I’d definitely use them more.” – Noluyolo

5. Connectivity

UCT Libraries is a highly connected environment with around 450 PCs and Wi-Fi for your devices. You can register for on- and off-site access to all library resources.

6. Website

Accessible from your phone, tablet, laptop or computer, the UCT Libraries website is a portal to a world of information and resources. Primo, the UCT Libraries’ search tool, allows you to easily find what you need, and you can sign in for more functions, such as reserving a book, booking a study room, Ask-a-Librarian, recommend a purchase, training and workshops and many more.

7. Borrowing and returns

Your student card is your library card, which allows you to borrow six items at a time for seven days. Staff at the loans desk will issue books to you or you can use the self-checkout machine (only in the main library). After-hours hatches at the libraries mean you can return books even when they’re closed.

8. Your learning partner

UCT Libraries staff are available to assist with all your information and research needs. They also provide library orientation tours, information fluency and digital literacy, and customised research database workshops. These are all designed to support and ensure your academic success for the entire duration of your academic journey.

For more information, email libraries@uct.ac.za or call 021 650 3703/4.

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