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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 not 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.
To be an excellent library in a new time and space that forms a strategically strong research, teaching and learning support environment within UCT and brings in newness purposefully around a compelling and exciting common work purpose which is firmly grounded in a transformed, non-racial, inclusive and collegial workplace.
The mission of UCT Libraries is to provide the best academic information services in support of UCT’s institutional goals and strategies.
The purpose of the UCT Libraries is to support the university’s strategic goal of becoming a distinguished institution by providing the means for discovery, pursuit and creation of new knowledge:
• in providing access to collections and services that directly support the academic and research prioritiesof the university;
• ensuring that the Libraries are adequately providing core services to faculty and students;
• positioning the Libraries to provide new services supporting the emerging teaching, learning and researchneeds of the university community and its various constituents;
• continuously assessing services to identify those no longer valued by users or that have become redundant or obsolete.