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FAQs for new library users


Where are the Libraries?

The Chancellor Oppenheimer Library: UCT's main library is the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library ... COL for short. You will find the COL at the centre of Upper Campus ... it's the U-shaped building that surrounds Jammie Hall.If you walk up Jammie steps, the entrance to the COL is in the building to the right of Jammie Hall. View Upper Campus plan.There are also nine branch libraries situated on UCT's various campuses.Find out more about UCT Libraries.

How do I get in?

You will need your Student Card to get into the Libraries. Your Student Card is a multipurpose card:YOUR STUDENT CARD = YOUR ACCESS CARD = YOUR LIBRARY CARD = YOUR PHOTOCOPY CARD = YOUR PRINTING CARD ...

  • it identifies you as a UCT student;
  • you use it to get into the Libraries and other access-controlled buildings at UCT ... just hold your card up to the card reader at the doors or the turnstiles to get in;
  • you use your card to borrow books and other items from the Libraries;
  • and you use your card to pay for photocopying and printing at UCT.

Look after your student card! If you lose your card, report the loss immediately to the Loans Desk staff so that they can prevent anyone else from using it to take out books in your name. Never lend your student card to someone else. This is against University rules and could land you in a disciplinary hearing! It could also land you with hefty library fines incurred by the person using your card.

When are the Libraries open?

The Libraries have different opening hours for terms and vacations. Opening hours are not all the same in the different library sections and the Branch Libraries, so make sure that you check the opening hours on the Libraries' web site.View the Term Opening Hours View the Vacation Opening Hours.

How do I take out a book?

Just take the book along to the Loans Desk together with your student card and the Loans Desk staff will issue it to you. The date when you must return it will be stamped on the date sheet at the front of the book.

How many books may I borrow at a time? 

Undergraduates may borrow up to 6 books for 7 days. (Find out more ... ) Postgraduates may borrow up to 12 books for 35 days (Find out more ...)

Can I renew my books?

Yes, you can renew your book loans in any of the following ways:EITHER:Renew the loans yourself online ... (Find out: How to renew your books online).ORPhone the Loans Desk and ask for your book(s) to be renewed. The Chancellor Oppenheimer Library Loans Desk is: 021 650-3118 or 021 650-3120 or take the book and your student card to the Loans Desk and ask for the book to be renewed. Note: If another library user has requested one of the books you have out, you will not be allowed to renew that book.

Can I request a book that is on loan to someone else?

Yes, you can request books that are out on loan ... it's really easy. (Find out: How to request a book.)

Where and when must I return books?

The date when you must return your books will be stamped on the date sheet at the front of the book. You return your books to the Loans Desk where they were issued to you. In the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library there is a Returns Hatch at the end of the Loans Desk... just put the books into the hatch. If you have taken books out of the Short Loans Centre, remember to return them to Short Loans.

Are there fines for late returns?

Yes, we must ensure that our books are equally available to all, so library users who fail to return their books on time will be fined. Ordinary books incur a fine of R2.00 for every day they are late. Short Loan books are in heavy demand, so they incur heavier fines. For these books, the fine is R2.00 for every hour (or part of an hour) they are late. Books that have been recalled by the Library incur a fine of R5.00 for every day they are late.

What is “Short Loans”?

The Short Loans Centre in the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library is a section of the Library where we keep books and other items that are needed by large numbers of students. There are also Short Loans sections in most branch libraries. To ensure that these books are accessible to everyone who needs them, they are issued out for short loan periods, usually 3 hours, or overnight. Short loan books are kept behind the counter in the Short Loans Centre. To take a book out, just ask for it at the Short Loans counter.

How do I borrow books from Short Loans?

Short loan books are kept behind the counter in the Short Loans Centre. To take a book out, just ask for it at the Short Loans counter. (Find out more about Short Loans ...)

May I borrow journals?

Most of UCT Libraries' journals are e-journals--you can access them on the internet via our e-Journal Portal, and download, save, or print the articles. A smaller proportion of our journals are in print format. Undergraduates may not borrow print journals, but you may photocopy articles from them. Postgraduate students may borrow bound journals for three days.

Can I photocopy stuff?

There are printer-photocopiers distributed throughout the Libraries for you to use. You pay for your photocopies with credit that you load onto your student card. There are also copy centres distributed across the UCT campuses, including one next to the entrance to the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library. It is called the UCT Document Centre.

How do the photocopiers work?

Take your student card along to the UCT Document Centre (just next to the entrance of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library) or to the nearest campus copy centre ... and buy credits at the cashier's desk. The cashier will credit the money to your student card. You can also use the Campus Copy and Print web deposit to recharge your printing credit. Once you have credit and a PIN code, you can use your card at any of our copiers to photocopy, scan, or print documents. Each time you make a copy, the cost of the copy is subtracted from the amount of credit you have on your card.

How to use the photocopiers

1. To log in:

  • Hold your student card up to the proximity reader on the left side of the machine.
  • A login window will appear on the machine’s touch-screen.
  • Use the keypad on the right to type in your PIN code.
  • Press Login at the top right of the touch-screen.

2. To photocopy:

  • Press the F1 button at the top left of the screen.
  • This will open the photocopy window on the touch-screen, where you can adjust the settings for your copies.
  • Place the material to be copied on the machine and use the Start button at the bottom right of the panel to start copying.

3. To print:

  • Open the document you want to print at any PC in the Libraries and issue a print command.
  • A login screen will pop up. Log in using your student number and your network password. You will be asked to confirm the print job which will then go into your print queue, where it will stay until you are ready to release it at one of the printer-copiers and collect your printout.
  • Go to a printer-copier machine and log in as described above.
  • Press the Follow-You button on the touch-screen.
  • The screen will then display your print queue ... a list of the documents for which you have issued print commands.
  • Select the document you want to print and press the Print button.
  • NB. Don't wait too long between issuing your print command and releasing your print job at a copier. Your print job will remain on the system for three days after which it will be deleted.

4. To scan:

  • After logging in as described above, press the Scan-to-Me button on the touch-screen.
  • This will open a scanning window on the touch-screen where you can adjust your scanning settings and enter your email address so that the scanned document can be sent to your email inbox.
  • Place the material to be scanned on the maching and press the Start Scan button at the bottom right of the screen.

5. To log out:

  • Press the Home button on the touch-screen.
  • Then press the PCC button on the touch-screen.
  • Press Logout at the top right of the screen … and wait a few seconds while the system generates a report of your transaction and tells you what your copy credit balance is.
  • After viewing the report, click OK.

How much may I copy?

Stay on the right side of the law!! To comply with the Copyright Act, a good rule of thumb is: never copy more than one article from a journal issue, and never copy more than 1 chapter (or 10%) of a book.

Where can I print my files? 

Follow-me Printing: is available in the Libraries.

This is how Follow-me Printing works:

  1. Make sure you have credit on your Student Card. (Remember: your student card = your access card = your library card = your photocopy card = you printing card.)
  2. When working at any PC in the Libraries, you will be able to issue a print command. A login screen will pop up---just log in using your Student Number and your network password. Your print command will go into a print queue, where it will stay until you are ready to release the print job and collect your printout.
  3. You can print at any printer-photocopier in the same library building as the PC where you issued your print command. Swipe your student card through the card reader, log in with the PIN you have set up, and select Print. Your print job will have "followed" you ... just select it and print.
  4. You must release your print job within three days. Print jobs that have not been printed out after three days are deleted from the system.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of copying ideas, words, images, or other creations, and passing them off as your own. If you use another person's words or ideas in your assignments or essays, you must be acknowledge the original author and indicate the work from which you took the material. This is known as referencing. There are many different conventions for referencing and creating bibliographies—e.g. the Harvard referencing style, the APA referencing style, the MLA referencing style, etc. For guides to using these styles, see our Referencing Help page.