UCT Libraries offer state-of-the-art technology, vast collections of reading and research material, and the specialised services of friendly, efficient and helpful staff.

The Chancellor Oppenheimer Library lies at the heart of Upper Campus. Its eight branch libraries can be found close to the relevant faculties.

The libraries house more than 1.2 million print volumes.

The libraries website provides essential information about library hours and services, and acts as a portal to research material, including:

  • online reference works
  • bibliographic and full-text databases
  • 87 350 electronic journals
  • articles
  • eBooks
  • a growing institutional digital repository
  • Primo – a discovery and delivery tool for books.

This resource can be accessed both on and off campus.

Here are five things you need to know about UCT Libraries:


Chancellor Oppenheimer Library

The Chancellor Oppenheimer Library meets the specific needs of UCT’s undergraduate and research-oriented communities.

The southern wing of the library complex – the Research Wing – is reserved for postgraduate students and academic staff, and provides a quiet, comfortable haven for study, research, and writing.

The Research Commons, on Level 6 of the Research Wing, caters for the information and workspace needs of academics as well as doctoral and masters students.

The Undergraduate Wing provides a variety of workspace options, including

  • study desks
  • computer workstations
  • comfortable couches
  • power and network points for laptops
  • group project areas
  • audio-visual viewing facilities.

The popular Knowledge Commons, with its high-end computing, printing, copying, and scanning facilities, is a one-stop-shop where undergraduates can research, write up, and print out their assignments and essays.

Branch 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.

Special Collections

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 and Research Data services to UCT, including the following:

  1. Specialist Digitisation services for Digital Preservation and Online Showcasing on Ibali: Digital Collections UCT;
  2. Data Curation services, supporting best practices in Research Data Management (RDM) including a Data Management Planning (UCT DMP) tool and the UCT online data repository ZivaHub;
  3. Expert consulting in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

For more detailed information, please visit the DLS website or send us an email.