Contact Us



How do I gain access to the library?

You need to have either of the following documents for registration at reception: ID document / passport / drivers license / student card. For clients below the age of 16 we need a stamped letter from school. Clients from outside South Africa, we need a passport or an asylum letter.

What are the opening hours?

Pretoria Campus:

Monday to Friday 08h30 to 18h00, Wednesday 09h30 to 18h00, Saturday 08:30 to 16:00. We are closed on Sunday and public holidays.

Cape Town Campus:

Monday to Friday 09h00 to 17h00, Wednesday 10h00 to 17h00. We are closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.

What are the contact details for the information desk?

Pretoria Campus:


Reading room (Study) (012) 401 9778
Reference room (Researchers)
(012) 401 9725
Official Publications
(012) 401 9741
(012) 401 9700
Fax number
(012) 325 5702
Fax to e-mail
086 614 2166

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Postal address
P. O. Box 397

Cape Town:


Special Collections (021) 487 5624 / 5
Reference Library (021) 487 5624 / 5
(012) 424 6320
Fax number (021) 423 3359

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Postal address
P. O. Box 496
Cape Town

Does the National Library issue library membership card?

No. We are not a lending library.

Can I borrow books to read at home?

No. The National Library of South Africa is a Legal Deposit library, and is charged with collecting and preserving all published documentary heritage of South Africa for all time, therefore materials may not be taken out of the building. Material may be viewed on the site only.

I want to search for books but I do not know how?

Ask at the reference desk, the librarians will be able to assist you. We will show you how to search our on-line catalogue (OPAC) and also how to locate the book on the shelf using Dewey Decimal Classification system (DDC). Once you know how to search the OPAC, you will find it easy to search for information from our collections, and also have acquired an essential skill.

What information from the catalogue must I provide to make a request?

Title, author, date of publication and the shelf number. The shelf number is very important as it tells us exactly where to locate the book on our shelves. For journals you have to give us the title of the journal, the title of the article, date of publication, volume number, issue number, and the 'P' number at the end.

I searched the catalogue and the shelf number for the title I am interested in. The catalogue says it is a banned publication will I still be able to use it?
Only in exceptional cases. If you are doing research, you have to give us a letter from the academic institution you are registered with, stating the reason why you need access to the publication. The reference librarian will submit the letter to the manager of the National Library of South Africa for approval, and if approved you will be able to access the item.

I cannot come personally to the library, but I want certain documents what do I do?

You can phone, send us a letter, an e-mail or fax us your information request we will gladly assist you. You have to provide as much information as possible so that we will be able to check materials that will help you. If you want us to send you the documents, we will do so but you have to pay for photocopying and delivery services.

I noticed on the catalogue that some books are in Cape Town and Pretoria, can I get an access to all of them?

If the material is not restricted, and is available for loan, then it is possible to arrange for the material to be couriered to either Pretoria or Cape Town. The supervisors in both areas coordinate loans between the campuses. Tariffs for delivery will apply.

I want to use the discussion room what is the procedure?

Discussion rooms are currently only available in Pretoria campus. You have to book the discussion room in advance at the reception desk and choose the date and time that suits you. One session last for 2 hours and the afternoon session is an hour. The time allocation is as follows:
Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri.

08:30 – 10:55

11:00 – 13:25

13:30 – 15:55

16:00 – 17:45


09:30 – 11:25

11:30 – 13:25

13:30 – 15:25

15:30 – 17:45


08:30 – 10:55

11:00 – 13:25

13:30 – 15:45

2 hrs per session, last session 2 hrs 15 min

I want to access the Internet, what is the procedure?

You have to book a computer at the reception desk, you will be allocated with a numbered computer. Each session is 30 minutes. The rules on Internet access and usage, are printed and pasted next to each computer. Please read them carefully.

Do you have photocopying facilities?

Yes. It will cost you 50 cents to copy an A4 page and R1.00 for A3 page. Our staff will do the copying for you, and they will also ensure that any copying is within the bounds of the Copyright Act.

Can I use my digital camera to take photos of the contents of a book?

No. All copying is done by library staff, who are trained to handle material in a way that does not affect the condition of the material whilst the copying is done.

Are there any public libraries in the area?

Pretoria: Eski'a Mphahlele Public Library at the corner Van der Walt and Vermeulen Streets, in Sammy Marks Square, Tel number: (012) 358 8954.

Cape Town: Cape Town Public Library at Parade Street. Tel number: (021) 467 1577.