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Libraries and Collections

Bolus Herbarium Library

The Bolus Herbarium Library owes its existence to Harry Bolus, a businessman, amateur botanist, and botanical artist, who, on his death in 1911, bequeathed his herbarium, his botanical library, and a large part of his fortune to the South African College, (now the University of Cape Town). Originally a taxonomic library, the Bolus Library has been nurtured and developed, and today, in addition to its magnificent collection of early botanical works, it houses a comprehensive collection of books relating to South African systematic and geographical botany, as well as extensive modern literature on evolutionary biology.

Brand van Zyl Law Library

The Brand van Zyl Law Library has one of the best legal collections in Africa, with holdings of 85 000 volumes. We have a comprehensive collection of South African legal monographs and a respectable core collection of monographs dealing with foreign and international law.

Built Environment Library

The first Architecture Library occupied two wooden huts on the Upper Campus sports fields. With the completion of the new Centlivres Building in 1959 it was possible to move into the more suitable, permanent accommodation it occupies to this day.

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.

Government Publications

The Government Publications Department houses the centralized collection of government documents in UCT Libraries (both current and historical). The collection includes census, legislation, parliamentary, planning, policy, public finance and statistical documents.

Hiddingh Hall Library

In 1911 Hiddingh Hall Library became the University of Cape Town’s first purpose built Library. Today it is a branch library serving the Departments of Drama, History of Art and Fine Art. The physical collection comprises approximately 30 000 books, 1 500 Videos, and 70 current print journals.  Facilities include PCs, wireless network, printer and photocopiers, A/V viewing room and access to UCT Libraries 63 000 e-journals and 177 electronic research databases.The Institute of Child Health Library was established in 1974 as a satellite of the Health Sciences Library, to cater specifically to the needs of the academic staff and students at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital which is regarded as South Africa’s leading centre for post-graduate specialist paediatric medical and surgical training.

Institute of Child Health Library

The Institute of Child Health Library was established in 1974 as a satellite of the Health Sciences Library, to cater specifically to the needs of the academic staff and students at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital which is regarded as South Africa’s leading centre for post-graduate specialist paediatric medical and surgical training.

Jewish Studies Library

The Jewish Studies Library contains an interdisciplinary multilingual collection of books, pamphlets and periodicals in the field of Jewish Studies. It also holds an extensive collection of archival materials from Jewish institutions and private individuals in the Western Cape, that is administered by UCT Libraries' Manuscripts and Archives Department.

Music Library

The Music Library was opened on 1st August 1943, “… the first completely self-contained, functionally-designed music library in Africa”. It occupied the former dining room of an old Victorian mansion called Strubenholm, the home of the South African College of Music in Rosebank.

Special Collections

The University of Cape Town Libraries Special Collections consists of printed and audio-visual materials on African studies and a wide array of other specialised subjects, as well as over 1,300 sub-collections of unique manuscripts and personal papers. The collection of books and pamphlets exceeds 85,000 items on African studies alone. The collection of African film is among the most extensive in the world, with over 3,000 films available for viewing and research.