Hang out and read at the Central Library in Cape Town

Based in the city centre, the Central Library is proud of its collections

More than 70, 000 people visit the Central Library every month. It is not only a place to rent books but also a place to meet people, to study and it’s a place to hang out too.

"We’re not the quietest library" says senior librarian Kathleen Laishley who has been working here for 20 years. For many people that work or go to school in the inner city, The Central Library is a part of their lives. "You should be here on a Saturday, this place is buzzing."

And it’s no wonder, as it offers something for everyone. There are many research books and study places for students, a big children‘s section that also offers activities and workshops. There’s also internet, conference rooms and more.

The Central Library of Cape Town is situated in the Old Drill Hall next to the city hall, and opposite the Grand Parade. It was the Carnegie grant that made it what it is today - a centre of excellence. The Central Library is 56-years-old and stocks books in all 11 languages. There are 102 libraries (which you may use with your Central Library card) in and around Cape Town; the Central Library is the largest.

The library offers a large collection of books, DVDs, CDs, videos, newspaper and magazines about the city that date 22-years back (partly digitised), audio books and encyclopaedias.

Collections
• Business corner collection
• Local history collection
• Art library
• Performing arts and music library (with a comprehensive reference collection covering music, film, theatre, dance and sheet music)
• Children’s library
• Children’s professional collection
• Extensive pamphlet file collection (newspaper and magazine cuttings)
• Newspapers and magazines (more than 125 titles from very popular (YOU) to German magazines as the Spiegel and Bunte, and Harvard Business Review)
• Government and provincial gazettes
• SA law

Fiction
• African languages
• African fiction (any book written about Africa)
• Romance
• Gay
• Christian
• Sci-fi
• Western
• Foreign fiction
• Young adult
• Easy readers

Non-fiction
• African history and politics
• Business (to support small businesses and entrepreneurs)
• Computers
• Social sciences
• Religion
• Biographies
• Literature

What is offered
Orientation tours
• Children’s services (reading programme, storytelling, craft activities, holiday programme, crèche and school visits)
Monthly business breakfasts (already in its 10th year)
• Monthly poetry group
• Talks
• Special events (karaoke every last Friday of the month; dancing every Thursday afternoon; film screenings)
• Computer sections with wi-fi & free internet access (80 PCs; 1 session per day for one hour; 500 MB free wi-fi per month)
• Study spaces
• Discussion rooms
• Seminar centre (video-conferencing facilities available)
• Bookshop (booksales to raise funds for the library)

How to join the Central Library in Cape Town
• Bring your ID, passport or refugee permit
• Proof of address (e.g. a municipal account indicating your residential address)
• Birth certificate for children under the age of 18
• Parent’s signature for children under the age of 18

Opening hours:
Monday 9am – 8pm
Tuesday – Thursday 8am – 8pm
Friday 9am – 6pm
Saturday 9am – 4pm

by Antonia Heil

Central Library
Old Drill Hall | corner Parade and Darling Streets | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 467 1500

For Central Library events, check out their Facebook group.

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