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History of UCT Libraries

History of UCT Libraries

1829 - 1910  |  1911 - 1916  |  1918 - 1938  |  1940 - 1954  |  1950s  |  1970s  |  1980s  |  1990s  |  1998 -  |  The Knowledge Commons


 

The University of Cape Town (into which is incorporated the South African College) celebrated 175 years of its existence in 2004. The University Libraries, whose collections constitute a rich storehouse of information and research resources, celebrate their centenary in 2005 ... 1905 being the year in which the S.A. College set about establishing an organised library on its premises in Orange Street, Cape Town.

The seed for the Libraries was first planted in 1829 when the founders of the South African College expressed their determination to establish a library for the use of students and begged the public to donate books and money to this end. In succeeding years the citizens of Cape Town were generous, and none more so than the brilliant practising attorney and later professor of law, Caspar Hendrik van Zyl, who made his extensive library of legal texts available to the law students he taught. Equally generous was Sir George Grey, who, on vacating the governorship of the Cape, presented the College with an outstanding collection of classical works. Books, purchased and donated, were scattered wide in the College's teaching departments and in the student residence, College House, and were therefore noProfessor W. S. Logemant always available for those who needed to consult them. Professors and students alike clamoured for the establishment of a College library. What was needed was not only a physical home for the books, but also their systematic arrangement.

Professor W. S. Logeman of the Department of Modern Languages planted the sapling of the title of this brief history. In 1905 Professor Logeman was appointed Honorary Librarian, a post which he retained until 1920. He took steps to bring all the books accumulated in College departments together into one place ... initially the old Zoology Lecture Room ... where he arranged them systematically and catalogued them. Carefully nurtured by a dedicated altruist, the library began to grow and flourish, despite the rigours of the post-South African War economic depression in the Cape Colony.

Thanks to the generosity of Capetonians and the foresight of the Royal Society of South Africa (formerly the South African Philosophical Society), which chose to have its sets of scientific journals housed in the College, the growth was dramatic. When the library received its first regular source of income, thanks to a gift from R.S. Stuttaford, it became possible to appoint a full-time salaried library assistant (Mr S. Harvey).


 

 

 

In 1911 the Library's growing collection was given a home of its own. In that year, funded by the bequest of Dr W. Hiddingh, the gracefully imposing Hiddingh Hall was built and its ground floor became the home of the College Library. Now, 94 years later, Hiddingh Hall Library is one of UCT Libraries' branch libraries, housing the art and drama collections.Hiddingh Hall, built 1911.

One only has to read through the College Librarian's reports to the Registrar to realise that many of the problems faced then remain the same today. These include the need for more seating space for students and shelving space for bookstock, the difficulties of getting issued items returned, and the tendency of students to use the Library as a social venue. In his report of 1914, the Professor Logeman noted the need to separate "special books and records" from the general stock. Thus was conceived the idea of what was to become UCT Libraries' current Special Collections Information Services Division.

In 1916 the South African College was to embark on a major transformation. Following Cecil John Rhodes. death in 1902, his former associates, Wernher and Beit, provided 500,000 for the creation of a university for the whole of South Africa, on condition that it would be residential in character, open to English- and Afrikaans-speakers alike, and be launched by 1916 at the latest. Considerable obstacles intervened, but finally, following negotiations with the colleges in the other provinces, the University of Cape Town (in which is incorporated the South African College) came into being. The University of Cape Town Act (which came into force in 1918) was passed by the Union Parliament in 1916.

 


 

 

 

A site for the new university was selected on the Groote Schuur Estate and the university buildings were planned by architect J.M. Solomon, protégé of the great Sir Herbert Baker. The library, now the University Library, contiRev G.F. Parker, University Librarian: 1920-1939nued to develop in every sense.

In 1918 an additional staff member - a library attendant - was appointed. In 1920 Professor Logeman retired from his honorary position, his place being taken by our first full-time University Librarian, the Rev. G.F. Parker. In the same year the University Council introduced an annual grant to the Library of 300, which was increased to 1,360 in 1925.

The library was also the recipient of many gifts and bequests from the mercantile princes and other dignitaries of Cape Town. A new isThe Library Bindery, 1954. sue system was introduced, replacing the original double entry ledger system. The stock was catalogued according to the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules and classified according to the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme, with a shelf mark being written on the spines of books, making retrieval infinitely easier. The systematic binding of library materials was also introduced.

The young tree was beginning to develop branches. Medical books had long, and rather unsatisfactorily, been housed in premises in Orange Street, but with the erection of the Wernher and Beit Laboratories in Observatory and the establishment of what is now the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Library's collection of medical books and journals were able to be moved, in 1928, into three rooms on the top floor of the Pathology Block. Mr Harvey was put in charge of this facility, and when he retired in 1931, his place was filled in a part-time capacity by Gertrude Elliott (later Glickman), who was ultimately to serve as Medical Librarian until 1970 ... an example of professionalism and devotion to duty for all who knew her.

The Groote Schuur campus was also growing, and as soon as residences and some buildings were completed it was deemed necessary to have some of the Library's books moved from Hiddingh Hall to the new campus. The Senate Room in the new Arts Block became the home for the bulk of the general library stock, the balance remaining in the Hiddingh Hall Library.

In the early 1930s the imposing Jameson Memorial Hall, (still fondly known to the UCT community as "Jammie") was built in the centre of the Groote Schuur campus, its construction being partially funded by public donation. The J.W. Jagger Library Building was built to the south of it, and the books stored in the Arts Block were moved across to a new permanent home which became the nucleus of the University of Cape Town Libraries. In its name the J.W. Jagger Library honoured one if the University's earliest benefactors, a former Minister of Railways, member and sometime chairperson of the University Council, who over the course of 30 years had donated over 100,000 to the University, most of it going to the Library.J.W. Jagger

The Library's growth accelerated during the 1930s as further donations flooded in. Periodical literature was increasingly in demand by academic staff and students, especially in the science, engineering, and medical departments. This inevitably led to an increasing need for more funds as the expense of keeping pace with periodical literature easily outstripped the cost of monographs. Space for users had also to be provided and seminar rooms for modern, classical, and African languages were established in the J.W.Jagger Library for staff and senior students, providing an ideal working and research environment for these users.

An embryonic reserved book section was established in order to give larger numbers of students access to books needed for their class work - an absolute necessity during the later war years when academic materials were in painfully short supply. This was to blossom into our current Short Loans facility, now found in the Main Library and in all the branches.

The magnificent collection of botanical books bequeathed to the College by Harry Bolus in 1911 (together with his herbarium) were catalogued by the library staff, as was the Royal Society of South Africa Collection.

The J.W. Jagger Library

The University Library was increasingly becoming a major player in the academic life of the larger institution. The University Librarian, for example, began to address new students on the holdings of the library and its branches, and a pamphlet on "How to use the University Library" was first compiled in 1933 - the germ of our current web site.

As the Libraries' collections grew, there was an increasing demand for professionally trained staff. The University authorities heeded the call for this when, in 1938, what was to become the School of Librarianship was established within the J.W. Jagger building. Training was conducted by Douglas Varley, Librarian of the South African Public Library (now the Cape Town campus of the National Library of South Africa), and senior University Library staff, including the recently appointed sub-librarian, Rene Ferdinand Malan Immelman. The links between the School and the University Library were formally severed in the 1970s with the appointment of Professor J.G. (Deon) Kesting as School Director, although co-operation between what is now the Department of Information and Library Studies and the University Libraries continues.


 

 

 

The appointment of Mr R.F.M. Immelman as University Librarian in 1940 following the retirement of Rev. Parker heralded a new era in the history of the University Libraries. New staff were appointed, stock was reorganized and greatly increased by further donations, among them the magnificent Van Zyl Collection of Legal Antiquarian Materials which is now housed in our Law Library. This donation necessitated the addition of a wing to the Hiddingh HaR.F.M Immelmanll Library. The collection later moved into what was named the Brand van Zyl Law Library in the Ritchie Building on the Orange Street Campus in 1962. Other changes of perhaps a more mundane nature, but nevertheless of importance to staff, included the acquisition of an adding machine ... a tiny forerunner of the technological revolution that was to transform the Libraries in later years. The staff of UCT Libraries, 1945

The need for more space for books and readers continued to grow and it became clear that a dedicated library for medical materials and readers was desperately needed. Plans for a medical library were drawn up, but construction was delayed by World War II and other considerations. Patience prevailed however, and 1954 saw the official opening of the new Medical Library which was located next to the Medical School. The same library, after considerable adjustments and additions, is now our world-class Health Sciences Library. Upgrading of the Jagger building also became necessary around this time: a passenger lift was installed, two half floors were added, and the circulation desk was re-modelled.

 

 

 

 

Construction of the Medical Library in the early 1950sThe W.H. Bell Music Library today


 

 

 

The tree that represents the University Libraries was growing beautifully, with more branches radiating from its trunk. One such was the Music Library established in 1943, when the music holdings of the South African College of Music and the University Libraries were amalgamated. The library was initially housed in the dining-room of Strubenholme, the family home of the Struben family in Rosebank. Before long this proved to be wholly inadequate for the needs of a growing stock, so additional rooms were

added. Later, in the 1970s, the new College of Music and its Library was constructed just below Strubenholme, the Library being named the W.H. Bell Music Library after 'Daddy' Bell, a much loved Professor of Music and generous donor of music manuscripts and materials.

 

 


 

 

 

In the 1950s our tree put out more branches. The Centlivres Building was constructed on University Avenue to accommodate the University's growing number of architectural students, and architectural library materials, gathered together from various scattered collections of books, periodicals, pamphlets, and plans, were moved into a section of the building to form the Architectural Library which opened in 1953. This is our present Built Environment Library. In the same year the Special Collections Department was established - Professor Logeman's idea, expressed in 1914, had become a reality.

A new Education Building was constructed opposite the Centlivres Building at the south end of University Avenue. In this another branch library was opened -- the Carleton Harrison Education Library. All of these changes and additions improved the organization and holdings of the Library.

Mr Immelman was determined that the University Library would be in the mainstream of universal academic endeavour, and something of which its larger institution would be proud. He catered not only the needs of the undergraduate student, but also the postgraduate student, researcher, and academic. Very much aware of the fact that this library at the tip of southern Africa could not compete with academic libraries of Britain, Europe, and North America, he nevertheless decided to build up its holdings by judicious selection and by approaching potential donors. Thanks to his efforts the library was to receive some magnificent collections such as the Kipling Collection, the Alice in Wonderland Collection, the Modern English Poetry Collection, and many others, including a collection of Hebrew texts which were later to form part of our Jewish Studies Library. Some of these collections were incorporated into the Rare Books & Special Collections Department which over the years has gathered together materials that celebrate and record man's intellectual and cultural development and achievements.

For Mr Immelman, who was a much-respected local historian, collecting African and southern African material was a particular focus. He set about acquiring (generally by donation) manuscript materials such as the C. Louis Leipoldt Collection and the Bleek & Lloyd Collection of Bushman Materials - two of the many gems in our Manuscripts & Archives Department. This Department's holdings were further greatly augmented by materials pertaining to the history and development of the South African College and the University.The African Studies Library today

Many Africana materials of great value were acquired, and these formed the basis of our African Studies Library's holdings. It was thanks to Immelman's initial efforts that Harry Oppenheimer recognized the worth of the Africana collection at UCT and generously donated funds for the establishment of the University's Centre for African Studies and the African Studies Library. ASL is today a world-renowned research resource, with extensive holdings of monographs, periodicals, ephemera, pamphlets, videos, sound recordings, maps, conference papers, and newspapers, and is staffed by highly trained librarians whose assistance is sought by Africanists from all over the world.

Similarly, ImmeMiss L.E. Taylorlman organised the collection of government materials into a sub-department, the Government Publications Department, which has developed into one of the finest collections of official publications pertaining to Africa in the country.

Mr Immelman (later to be awarded an honorary doctorate for his services to the University) retired from the University Library in 1970, leaving behind him a great research resource of which he and the University could be very proud. His place was taken by Miss L.E.Taylor who had been his deputy for many years, as well as Assistant Director of the School of Librarianship. During the next 3 decades the Library was to change considerably.

 


 

 

 

By now the Library had outgrown its accommodation and action was needed to remedy the situation. A notice issued by the Library Committee in 1972 stated the position very baldly: "The present overcrowded, noisy, and inadequate library facilities in the J.W Jagger Library are so notorious as to need no description".

There followed a flurry of new building developments. The main reading room was remodelled to accommodate an increased Short Loans Collection and more seating space. An additional floor was added to the building, enabling the technical services departments to move into new spacious quarters. Special Collections (as it was then known) was provided with a vastly improved working area and reading room. Every available space within or adjacent to the Jagger Building was exploited to create additional space for staff, users, and stock. These, however, were merely stop-gap interventions, as staff and students numbers had increased dramatically in the decades following the war.

There was no doubt that the library had to expand dramatically, but no doubt, too, that it could not be moved from its central location on the Upper Campus. The creative minds of Miss Taylor and Julian Elliott, director of the newly- formed University Planning Unit, mulled over the problem and ultimately proposed a .linear library. in which the library.s administrative and main services would be centralized and a .spine. of library space running parallel to University Avenue would make it possible to place the bookstock in close proximity to the appropriate teaching departments.

Miss Taylor retired in 1974, secure in the knowledge that the additions and alterations were proceeding smoothly. Her successor was Mrs Jean Laurenson, during whose tenure a new Deputy Librarian, Mr Barry Watts, wasMrs Jean Laurenson appointed. Mr Watts drove the building process forward, making changes to the original conception when necessary.

The creation of the Linear Library was accomplished by the provision of library space in the Menzies Engineering Building and the Robert Leslie Commerce Building to the south of Jagger Library. The library components of these buildings, known as the Menzies and Leslie Extensions respectively, were linked to each other and the Jagger building by a series of enclosed bridges. The Science and Engineering Library, which had for many years been inadequately housed on the University Avenue level of Jagger, moved to new quarters in the Menzies Extension, while the library stock relevant to the Commerce Faculty was housed in the Leslie Extension. Additional Library entrances were created in the Menzies and Leslie Extensions, each with their own circulation desks where materials from those areas could be borrowed and returned. The issue system had not yet been computerised.

Another development in the 1970s was the completion of the P. D. Hahn Building, into which the Law Faculty, the Law Library, and the School of Librarianship were moved from their original premises on the Orange Street Campus ... squeezed out by the increasing needs of other University departments and facilities. Librarianship and law students jostled for seating space in their new but already overcrowded library, until the Department of Librarianship and its bookstock moved into the Leslie Commerce Building.

Further changes were necessitated as student and staff numbers grew and stock was increased by donation and purchase. The Medical Library, that largest branch of the steadily-growing tree, developed a specialist branch of its own. In 1974 the Institute of Child Health Library was established to cater for the needs of the paediatric specialists based at the Red Cross War Memorial Children.s Hospital in Rondebosch.


 

 

 

Following Mrs Laurenson's untimely death, Mr A.S.C. Hooper was appointed University Librarian in 1980, and he too was faced with the ever-present need for more accommodation for library stock, staff, and users.

Despite the enormous improvements made to the Libraries' buildings, problems remained, not least because of the rigidity that the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme imposed on the layout of Mr A.S.C. Hooperstock in the Library. The library had spread into an extension of its annexe behind Jameson Hall, this area being used, inter alia, for the Manuscripts & Archives Department and also for the rare books and special collections which had been separated from the African Studies holdings. The Science & Engineering Library had also started to outgrow its quarters in the Menzies Extension. In the early 1980s, the Immelman Building was built behind Jameson Hall, and linked to the Jagger Building, thus forming the northern component of the Linear Library. This attractive structure with its high arched roof and huge windows became the new home of the Science & Engineering Library.

During Mr Hooper's tenure, the Bindery and the recently-formed Preservation Unit moved into premises on the Orange Street Campus, and an off-campus store was acquired in Observatory where older, less-used materials could be housed, thereby freeing some space for newer bookstock. While the library was being re-configured many moves took place, some of them temporary, but as the mid-eighties approached, changes to the main library on the Upper Campus were completed. These included the creation of a second entrance on an upper level, the erection of a new staircase linking the old Jagger Reading Room to the totally new circulation area which became the central hub of the library on Level 5, and the establishment of a Current Periodicals Reading Room in the Menzies Extension. Special Collections found a home for itself on the lowest level of Leslie Commerce Building where it was joined by the Jewish Studies Library. The latter had been created in 1981 when a large collection of Jewish Studies books and journals were bought by the Isaac and Jessie Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research. Finally, the African Studies Library moved into the Engineering Mall level of the Leslie Commerce Building.

The northern component of the Linear Library (the Immelman Building) under construction, Aug. 1981.

 

 

Although jackhammers and the cacophony of builders' operations were silent in the Main Library from the mid-1980s, improvements and developments to UCT Libraries generally continued, despite the pressure put on funds for periodical subscriptions and book purchases by the rapidly weakening South African economy. Collection Development policies were put in place in all user departments and branches. Faculty Library Committees were set up and library staff gained some control of book selection that had previously been solely in the hands of academics. Some librarians became ex officio members of faculty boards, the first of these being Sheila Katcher, Medical Librarian from 1971-1997. The University Librarian had been a member of the University's Senate for some decades.Jagger Level 5 - Hub of the Linear Library

The Middle Campus development in the 1980s and the subsequent move of the Faculty of Education to a new building there, had a domino effect. Thanks to generous funding, the former Education Building on the Upper Campus was refurbished to accommodate the Law Faculty and its Brand van Zyl Law Library. The building was renamed the Wilfred and Jules Kramer Faculty of Law Building.

The Centre for African Studies, adjacent to the Leslie Commerce Building was completed in 1989, as was the Kaplan Centre. The Libraries' Manuscripts & Archives Department moved into its new quarters in the Centre for African Studies, and the Jewish Studies Library into its home in the Kaplan Centre.

 


 

 

 

The early 1990s saw a major development in library practice in the Western Cape. Financial constraints meant that it was not possible for every library to contain all the materials required by its users, and although interlibrary loan agreements were in place both nationally and internationally, it became obvious that greater co-operation between tertiary education institutions was essential. The Law Faculty had initiated contact with its counterparts at the University of the Western Cape and the University of Stellenbosch, so there was a close connection between the Brand van Zyl Law Library and the law librarians in those other universities. Through the hard work of dedicated individuals, the Western Cape libraries gradually moved towards a cooperative model, and in 1992 the Cape Library Co-operative (CALICO) was established. CALICO consisted of libraries of the five tertiary institutions of the Western Cape, viz: the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, and the Western Cape, and the Cape and Peninsula Technikons.

During this period there were huge advances made in library administration and technology. Facilities, commonplace or outdated now, were the major innovations of that period ... the adding machine acquired so many years ago being just one in a long line of improvements. But electric typewriters, photocopiers (at 2c a page when introduced in the 1960s), audio-visual viewers, and microfiche readers were soon to be overshadowed by the technological revolution which the introduction of computers brought to the library world.

The first computerised issue system, fondly known as OSCAR, was introduced in the early 1980s following the enormous task of bar-coding the Libraries' circulating stock and inputting the bibliographic details of every book. This system was followed by BORIS (Borrowers' Information System) which went live in 1990 and comprised an issue system integrated with the Libraries' first OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue) ... another achievement involving a huge data-capture and -transfer project. In 1982 the Library acquired its first personal computer which was installed on the 6th Level of the Jagger building, and here librarians undertook the Libraries' first online literature searches for patrons using international online databases made available from American and European information vendors such as Dialog and Datastar.

Advances in library practice and library technology were proceeding so rapidly that it was soon realized that both library users and library staff needed in-house training in new technologies. The Libraries had begun to introduce electronic databases on CD-ROM in place of printed abstracts and indexes, enabling users to carry out their own online literature searching, but special facilities were needed to teach these new techniques. A fully-equipped training room, named "Ulwazi", was established in the Menzies Extension, adjacent to the Current Periodicals Reading Room.

The Ulwazi Training Room

 

The BORIS issuing system was soon to become overburdened as increasing numbers of users and transactions, growing stock, and increased traffic put severe strain on the system. Furthermore, BORIS was not Y2K compliant ... so the purchase of new library software became imperative. In 1998 UCT Libraries, in partnership with the other CALICO libraries, and with the help of a generous donation from the Mellon Foundation, purchased the ALEPH 500 integrated library system, following a lengthy investigation of library software packages. The implementation of the new system was a slow, painstaking process involving data migration, customisation, and exhaustive testing, but in November 1999, ALEPH (Automated Library Expandable Program) went live at UCT ... a considerable achievement for the Libraries' IT department. ALEPH 500 includes a web-based OPAC, accessible to users from anywhere in the world, as well as circulation, cataloguing, and serials management modules, and it enables users to search not only their own Libraries' catalogue, but also those of the other CALICO institutions. They are also able to interact with the system via personal login, to place electronic hold requests, renew books, and view their loans history.


 

 

 

Following Mr Hooper's early retirement in the mid-1990s, Margaret Richards, Head of the Special Collections and Africana Division, became caretaker Director of the University Libraries.

Following a consultative process Ms Joan Rapp was appointed Library Director, taking up her appointment in July 1998. The new Director breathed new life into the development of the Libraries, not only spearheading major renovations and the reorganisation of the Libraries' buildings, but also introducing organisational changes to improve the Libraries' effectiveness and streamline their procedures. Her energy, hard work, and determination, together with her considerable experience in libraries in the United States, have been focused on her main goal: that of transforming UCT Libraries into a technologically-sophisticated facility, offering a wealth of electronic and print resources as well as a high level of professional service to its users.

One of the first things Ms Rapp was to tackle was the renovation of the Libraries as part of the Upper Campus Project. It had become apparent throughout the 1990s that our tree's trunk was desperately in need of surgical work. Academic departments situated near to the Linear Library were jockeying for the space that the Library occupied. Despite computerisation of the circulation function, the Linear Library's multiple entrances proved to be too costly in terms of staff and equipment, and had to be closed down.

Joan Rapp

Plans for the redesign of the central Upper Campus were under way. The Linear Library had to be replaced by a more compact, practical arrangement. Additional space had to be found for the upgrading of core facilities such as improved accommodation for student services, a new food court, and a centre for post-graduate research. A newly built state-of-the art library complex was to be the centrepiece of the Upper Campus development. Funds were raised, the most generous donor for the changes and additions to the library being the then University Chancellor, Mr. Harry Oppenheimer.

Level 4, Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, 2005

 

The outcome of all these developments is the magnificent tree that is the University Libraries of today. The Linear Library has metamorphosed into a horseshoe-shaped structure embracing Jameson Hall, the omphalos of the Upper Campus, and linking the Jagger Building to its mirror-image on the north side of the Hall, the Otto Beit/Students' Union Building, where the new entrance to the University Library is now situated.

Some of the far-flung departments such as Rare Books & Special Collections, the African Studies Library, and the Government Publications Department are now accommodated within the main library's 'envelope'. When the Law Faculty moved down to the Middle Campus, the Brand van Zyl Law Library went with it, and the Faculty (now School) of Education moved back to its former home at the south end of University Avenue, to be re-furbished and re-designed as the Graduate School of Humanities. The Education Library's stock was absorbed into the main library sequence.

The new central complex of the University Libraries was re-named the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, honouring its most generous benefactor, at an opening ceremony in October 2001. Behind our new Library's traditional exterior, which harmonizes with the architecture of the Campus as planned in the 1920s, can be found a modern technologically and aesthetically sophisticated interior. Contained within it are the parts that constitute a great university library: specialist reference services, efficient technical and user services departments, as well as training and research facilities.

Ms Rapp orchestrated the organisation of the main library's stock and reference service into subject specialist areas, with books and recent journals shelved in three broad subject groups - Commerce, Humanities, and Science & Engineering - in close proximity to reference desks devoted to those subjects. Reference Librarians became subject specialists responsible for reference work, information fluency training, and the selection and ordering of books in their subject areas. Thanks to Ms Rapp, the Libraries had gained control of the materials budget used for purchasing books, journals, and electronic resources. She appointed a Collection Development Manager to monitor the purchasing of library stock and oversee the growth and development of the Libraries' book and journal collections. An Electronic Resources Librarian was appointed to deal with the Libraries' rapidly growing collections of electronic databases and journals and the intricacies of their licensing contracts.

Science & Engineering Reference Desk Library users can now access over 22,500 electronic journal titles both on- and off-Campus, and a rich array of carefully selected web-based databases have replaced the old printed indexes and abstracts, providing students and researchers with precise and powerful web-based platforms for searching the literature in their fields.


 

 

 

The Knowledge Commons

With the advent of so many electronic resources and the increase of web-based learning systems, Ms Rapp recognised the need for a computer laboratory within the Library where students could make use of word processing and spreadsheet applications in conjunction with the Libraries' databases, e-books, and e-journals, and with the expert help of trained library staff close at hand. A computer lab with a difference, the Knowledge Commons (modelled on those of the Universities of Southern California and Eastern Michigan), was included in the new library complex. The KC proved so popular with students that it has had to be enlarged twice within the four years of its existence, and now offers 96 state-of-the-art computer workstations, 8 fully equipped group study rooms, an audio-visual viewing room, a large training room with 20 laptop computers for trainees, as well as laser printers, photocopiers, a scanner, a print reference collection, and the expert assistance of professional librarians aided by a team of specially trained student "navigators".


Generations of library staff at all levels have watered and fed, pruned and cared for our tree. Past staff have left behind a rich heritage and warm memories of the part they played in creating the sense of colleagueship and camaraderie so necessary for the smooth running of a service-based organisation. Their often unsung contributions have been inspired by the altruistic generosity of our first `librarian', and the efforts of his successors, and their colleagues, past and present, whose aim is (and was) to fulfil the UCT Libraries' mission, that of providing information resources and services aligned to the needs of a first-class African research and teaching university in the twenty-first century.

Bibliography:

Immelman, R. F. M. 1956. The Library of the University of Cape Town : historical development, 1829-1955. {Rondebosch, Cape: Photographic Dept., University of Cape Town Libraries, 1956}.

Jagger journal. 1980-1990. Rondebosch, South Africa: University of Cape Town Libraries.

Jaggerite. 1947-1963. Rondebosch, South Africa: University of Cape Town Libraries.

Phillips, Howard. 1993. The University of Cape Town, 1918-1948: the formative years; assisted by the research of H.M. Robertson. {Cape Town}: University of Cape Town in association with the University of Cape Town Press.

Taylor, Loree Elizabeth. 1974. The University library buildings, University of Cape Town. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Libraries, 1974.

Walker, Eric A. 1929. The South African College and the University of Cape Town: written for the University centenary celebrations, 1829-1929. Cape Town: The University.