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African Studies Library: General Information

Zero Contact Services

Although the African Studies Library has not yet reopened, the main University Library can support you with their new zero contact services!

Book Returns

Return your library books (including African Studies books) safely to dropboxes, and the UL, please check for hours of this service.

Click & Collect

For borrowable items at the UL, there is a new Click & Collect service available to University of Cambridge staff and students.

Scan & Deliver

As a University of Cambridge student or member of staff, you can now place requests for chapters or journal articles (within copyright) to be scanned from the UL's modern collections. 

Recommend a book!

Black and white image of books

Book recommendations welcome

External Visitors

External visitors are more than welcome to use our resources!

It is advisable to contact us with as much notice as possible during the COVID-19 period so that we can see how we can best help you. 

Please email us:  with your enquiry. 

Or click to complete an online fetching form, providing as much information as possible on the items that you have found as being held in the library.

Using the African Studies Library

Who are we?

The African Studies Library supports the research and teaching needs of the African Studies MPhil course, and supports the rest of the University in the Undergraduate and Postgraduate study of Africa.  Our particular focus is on Africa south of the Sahara. 

Who can borrow from us?

We are open with loan privileges to all Cambridge University members.  

Where can you find us?

The African Studies Library is situated on the third floor of the Alison Richard Building, within the Centre of African Studies

What do we have in our library?

  • Over 30,000 books

  • MCS terminal - access your DS account, files, software, and applications

  • DVD collection of films and documentaries on Africa

  • African languages material

  • Study skills material

  • Electronic legal deposit terminal

  • A fetching service for a large archive that includes: pamphlets, official publications, personal papers, newspapers, maps, slides, microfiches, microfilms, and photographs

  • Microfilm reader

  • Lockers 

  • Extended access to the Library for PhD students with a research focus on Africa on application (this service is currently on hold due to COVID-19)



Monday to Friday


The Library is sadly closed for the foreseeable future.  

The Library is sadly closed for the foreseeable future. 


Please email or, if you need help accessing print or online resources.

Please check here before making your journey! 

Open shelf material can be borrowed by all user groups, and will automatically renew if they have not been requested.  

Loan periods are set as follows for open shelf material:

Undergraduates 7 Days 8 Books
Graduates 28 Days 10 Books
Staff 28 Days 20 Books
Visiting Scholars 14 Days 10 Books

The following materials cannot be renewed and have shorter loan periods:

DVD & Video 7 DAYS
Overnight Loans

24 Hours Only

If borrowing on a Friday, overnight loans will be due Monday. 

How to manage your borrowing account

Please see the following LibGuide for advice on your account, fines, borrowing policies, and vacation loans across the Cambridge Libraries:

Vacation Borrowing

N.B. We don't operate an end of term recall, or set vacation borrowing. 

Overnight loans remain as 24 Hours Only ; please ask us if there is a title that you are interested in borrowing.

Print collections in Cambridge

There are many other collections in Cambridge that hold relevant material to African Studies.  Please check for opening hours and borrowing rights.

Click here for the complete Libraries Directory 

How to find us!

Jenni Skinner's picture
Jenni Skinner
African Studies Library
Alison Richard Building
7 West Road
01223 334398


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