Using the Library

The current UWC Library was opened in 1989 and is housed in a spacious and modern building holding a collection of 288 039 books and 3 500 reference material titles. The Public Health collection is on Level 11. In addition, the Library carries 2 400 journal titles of which 1 240 are current subscriptions, plus more than a hundred database subscription titles, which house thousands of journal articles.

When in Cape Town, students will have access to the facilities of the UWC library, i.e. borrowing books, conducting database searches, photocopying, etc – but a Student Card is required for access. Journals can be used inside the Library only.

Contact Details for the Library Staff

Ms Karen Cook: Tel. +27 21 959 2684; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Located on Level 11 in the Library

Ms Khonziwe Mpandle Tel. +27 21 959 2900 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ms Anne Moon: Tel. +27 21 959 3016; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Ms Moon is your first port of call if experiencing problems accessing UWC electronic databases.

Mr Ricardo Davids: Tel. + 021 959 9497; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Service Desk: Tel. +27 21 959 2000; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Service Desk will assist you to activate or reset your username and password.

LIBRARY SECRETARY: Mrs Jacqueline Denton: Tel. +27 21 959 2209

Introduction to the Library Website

To use the Library Resources, go to the UWC website (; select Library [at the top of the screen] or enter the Library URL ( in the web browser. Once you are on the Library Webpage, you will see various options along the top of the screen. Spend some time familiarizing yourself into this very important facility. This site works best on Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

The sections that you will need most is “SEARCH AND FIND” (on the top) and the “Quick Links” (in the right hand side column) of the Library web page.

Please note Off-Campus Users: Click on the “A-Z Database” under the “Quick Links” menu when selecting any database. You will be prompted to authenticate yourself. We discuss how you do this in the next section (Section 7.6).

You should also explore the “INFORMATION LITERACY” section under the tab “SERVICES” in the top bar. Here you will find a number of useful tutorials on Information Literacy which will provide you with some of the literacy skills that are required to prepare and write your assignments. For example, you might want to take a look at some of the modules like “Searching a database” (Module 4), “Working with information and getting ready to write” (Module 6) and “Information Ethics: Citing Sources and Fair Use” (Module 7). These are critical skills in Postgraduate studies!

Please note that the newly developed Library Research Portal ( is available on the library webpage under the Research Portal tab.

You can also access the School of Public Health – Distance Students Library Guide by clicking on “CHS” under the “FACULTY PAGES” tab on the Library Website. This is another good place to start your orientation of the library website.

Distance Students: please also click on Distance Students under ‘Quick Links’ on library website to read more about the services that the library offers.

Just so you know you are in the right place: the UWC library homepage will look a bit like this (with the ‘news’ section in the middle obviously being different based on what is topical at the time).

We will also send you an updated Guide to Library Electronic Resources compiled by the Faculty Librarian on your Core Modules USB flash drive, to assist you in using these resources wherever you are.

Note: South African students from outside Cape Town: please read the section on library access (Section 6.8) which will guide you about how to go about gaining access to a more local academic institution library if you think that will be helpful for your studies.

Using Inter-library Loans (ILL)
As distance users in other provinces of South Africa, the holdings of UWC and other linked academic libraries are available to you through UWC’s ILL Department. You may send requests for journal articles which are unavailable or not full text on the databases, and it will be faxed to you, or you may be asked to pay a small fee for it to be posted to you.

If you are on the UWC campus and are able to visit the library you will find the ILL counter on Level 4. For further details, when on campus and off campus, speak to Ms Khonziwe Mpandle, the ILL Librarian at +27 21 959 2900 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Through the ILL service you can, as a distance or local user, request books from UWC through the following channels:

  • A local (non-UWC) academic library of which you are a member: find out how the Inter-library Loans procedure works in your local academic library.
  • Your local municipal library – if the library is registered with the (South African) State Library. Check with your library – you may need to be a registered member of that library.

If you are on campus, you can request a book or a copy of a journal article or a thesis which is not in the UWC Library, by filling out a card at the ILL counter. You can also do this online by clicking on “Inter Library Loans” on the Library website under the “Quick Links” column. Then click on the tab “ILL Forms and Rates”.

Alternatively, you can go straight to the online request form which is at:

Books from other libraries in the Western Cape are usually obtained within a few days via the CALICO project, unless they are being used. Books at libraries further afield will take longer.

UWC library books are unfortunately not allowed to be taken or sent outside South Africa. However, students from other parts of Africa may request a letter of introduction to an academic library from the SOPH Student Administrators: we hope that this will assist you, but cannot give any assurances.

Library Research Support

The UWC Library Faculty Librarians and Institutional Repository librarian in collaboration with the Division of Postgraduate Studies (DPGS) supports research activities by providing postgraduate students and researchers the following services: appropriate e-resources training, research information literacy training, individual training sessions, developing a collection of print and e-resources that caters for researchers’ needs, references services, references management software, citation analysis, management of UWC output (Institutional Repository), open access resources, scholarly communication and research postgraduate workshops.

Postgraduate Research Lab – Library (Level 13)

The DPGS provides the following services for all postgraduate students at the Postgraduate Research Lab (PRL) on Level 13, managed currently by postgraduate coaches:

  • Training of research software and skills, Library and information services access, presentation skills and research fund application skills.
  • Mentoring and coaching on academic writing and analysis skills, technical assistance and proof reading skills.

The Library caters for postgraduate research students and researchers at the PRL by providing the following facilities: laptop areas; individual study carrels; consultation/meeting/working rooms; lounge area; lockable desks, completed Electronic Theses & Dissertations collection (online & printed); research collection and an IPad lab on level 6.

Making an Appointment with the Faculty Librarian

During Summer and Winter School, the Faculty Librarian runs a workshop on Information Literacy Skills for SOPH students and are also is prepared, by appointment, and by completing the Research Appointment Form: to support individual postgraduate students as they search for literature for their research.

You can access the Research Appointment Form by clicking the tab “Research Appointment” under the “Quick Links” column on the Library website. Your Faculty Librarian is Ms Karen Cook (Erasmus), tel. +27 21 959 2684 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Her office is in glass cubicles on Level 11 of the library.

School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape
Robert Sobukwe Road, Bellville 7535, Republic of South Africa
Tel: +27-21 - 959 2809 | Fax: +27- 21 - 959 2872 | Email: