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Iziko Museums of South Africa currently has three libraries which serves the museum’s staff, researchers and the general public. 

All resources can only be used in the library itself as it is a reference library. Photocopying, scanning and inter-library loan facilities are available at a fee and is regulated by copyright law. Telephonic and email reference queries are accommodated whilst personal visits are allowed by appointment.

The Natural History Library

The Natural History Library is situated at the Iziko South African Museum.

The Natural History Library is a valuable resource for museum staff, researchers and the general public to support scientific research, preparation for exhibitions and educational activities relating to the Natural History Collections.

The Natural History Library is the finest Natural History Library in South Africa due to its important and valuable collection of rare books and journals. Many of the long runs of scientific journals are not available elsewhere in the country. The collection also holds significant volumes on the voyages and travels of Europeans in South Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Due to current renovations at the Iziko  South African Museum, the Natural History Library is closed to staff and the public – we will soon be moving into a brand new space!

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The Social History Library

The Social History Library focuses on the history and people of Southern Africa, with special reference to the Western Cape and more specifically Cape Town. The library collection covers topics such as colonial history, popular culture (e.g. the Cape Minstrel  Carnival) (Klopse), archaeology, anthropology and maritime history. A substantial part of the library collection is an extension of the artefacts housed in Iziko’s Social History Collections; such as furniture, ceramics, textiles, decorative arts, numismatics, antiquities etc.

Address: Iziko Social History Centre, 17 Church Square, Cape Town, 8000

Opening hours: Open only on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00 – 15:30 
Please contact the library for an appointment

Contact person: Baheya Hardy  +27 (0) 21 4677207/9 or email

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The South African National Gallery Library

The Art Collections Library is a major art research resource covering South African and international visual art, which is used by the gallery staff, researchers, scholars, artists and the general public. This collection includes books, journals, exhibition and sales catalogues, pamphlets, artist files as well as a comprehensive collection of newspaper articles dating back to 1904.

Address: Iziko South African National Gallery Annexe, St John’s Road, Cape Town, 8000

Opening hours: Open only on Tuesdays and Thursday from 09:00-15:30
Please contact the library to make an appointment.

Contact person: Shaheeda Dante  +27 (0) 21 481 3976/8 or email   

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Iziko Online Public Access Catalogue

The Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) enables staff and visitors to peruse all catalogued library materials, allowing searches to be conducted by title, author, subject and keyword. The catalogue has limited functionality – only opening records and displaying availability of the library materials. For additional information, please contact Baheya Hardy at

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Inside Iziko

Iziko Museums