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African Studies Library

Your one-stop-shop for all things African Studies at the University of Cambridge & beyond

Navigating this LibGuide and Using the African Studies Library

How do I use this LibGuide?

We're glad you asked!

  • Please use the search bar at the top of the page to look for keywords!
  • This LibGuide is designed for students, researchers and any interested parties seeking African Studies resources.
  • Linked here is a short 2-minute video walking through how to use the LibGuide. Note that the LibGuide may look slightly differently than it does in the video as we update it regularly. 
  • The guide is divided into the following tabs, each with their own sub-tabs, organised by material type:
    • General Information
    • Book, Journals & Dissertations
    • Databases
    • Newspapers & News Sources
    • Official Publications, Maps & Microform
    • Archives & Special Collections
    • Portals & Institutions
    • Blogs & Podcasts
    • Copyright, Referencing Advice & Research Tools

Do get in touch with us at if you have any questions, have trouble accessing material, or if you have any suggestions for how to improve the guide!

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Who are we?

The African Studies Library is situated within the Centre of African Studies at the University of Cambridge, and supports the research and teaching needs of the African Studies MPhil course. It also serves the rest of the University in the Undergraduate and Postgraduate study of Africa. Our collection's particular focus is Africa south of the Sahara. 

Who can borrow from us?

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

Where can you find us and how accessible is the space?

  • The African Studies Library is situated on the third floor of the Alison Richard Building, within the Centre of African Studies.
  • Access is step-free from street-level, and there is a lift available to reach the third floor.  Doors are wide, although heavy. Please get in touch if you need any assistance or adjustments ahead of visiting!
  • There are disabled bathrooms on each floor, and gender-neutral bathrooms on the first to third floors of the building.
  • There is a floorplan and directory further down the page.
  • Please do email us at if you would like any more information or to schedule a tour!

What do we have in our library?

Take a quick virtual tour with us on our Instagram HERE.


  • Over 20,000 books
  • Current Periodicals and Journals from Africa
  • DVD collection of films and documentaries on Africa
  • African languages material
  • Maps
  • Study skills material

Services and Resources

  • Electronic legal deposit terminal
  • Microfilm reader
  • A fetching service for a large archive that includes: pamphlets, official publications, personal papers, newspapers, maps, slides, microfiches, microfilms, and photographs
  • Scan & delivery service: place requests for scans of chapters or journal articles that are not available electronically and are held solely at the African Studies Library
  • Extended access to the Library for PhD students with a research focus on Africa (ask us in the Library).
  • MCS (Managed Cluster Service) terminal - access your DS (Digital Services) account, files, software, and applications
    • MCS will migrate to the University Managed Desktop (UMD) service during the summer of 2023. Access to supporting services such as DS-FileStore and DS-Print are not affected by the MCS closure.

How do I navigate the Library?

The library's collection is undergoing re-classification from the Universal Decimal System to the Library of Congress system. Take a look at the floorplan below to help you navigate the Library ahead of your visit.

  • Our stacks on the right (West facing wall) are mostly classified using the Universal Decimal System (UDS).
    • This means the class-marks all begin with '6' to indicate Africa, and then have sub-classifications based on country. A full list of the country classifications can be found in the Library.
  • Our stacks on the left (East facing wall) are mostly classified using the Library of Congress System (LOC).
    • This means the class-marks begin with letters, indicating a particular thematic subject area. A full list of the subject classification codes can be found in the Library.

Take a look on iDiscover for any particular material you are seeking, and do send us an email at if you have any questions about finding materials ahead of your visit.

African Studies Library Floorplan



Time Opening Hours
Term (click for dates)

9:00-17:00, Monday to Friday


9:30-17:00, Monday to Friday

The Library usually closes for the winter holidays in December, and for Easter weekend in April.
Please email for any queries during these times.

Open Shelf Material can be Borrowed by all User Groups

Loan periods are as follows for open shelf material:

User Type Loan Period Book Limit
Undergraduates 7 Days 8 Books
Graduates 28 Days 10 Books
Staff 28 Days 20 Books
Visiting Scholars 14 Days 10 Books
Public Cambridge Library Member 7 Days 8 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. 

Please refer to the Borrowing from Cambridge Libraries LibGuide for advice on your account, fines, borrowing policies, and vacation loans across the Cambridge Libraries: 

Vacation Borrowing

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

Overnight loans remain as 24 hours only.

Please get in touch if you are interested in borrowing at

Please return your borrowed materials to the African Studies Library:

  • 9:00-17:00, Monday-Friday during term
  • 9:30-17:00, Monday-Friday during vacation

Please use the self-issue desk to return your books, or place them in the box near the issue desk.

Click here for a full list of return options.

External visitors are more than welcome to use our resources!

Do contact us with as much notice as possible before your visit so we can help you save time.

Fill out our online fetching form, providing as much information as possible about the items that you have found as being held in the library.

If you have any other queries, please email us at

Centre of African Studies Events

Click here to view our upcoming and past events.

Centre of African Studies Michaelmas Term Seminars 2023:

This year's theme is The International Politics of Armed Groups in Africa

The Centre's annual seminar series is back every Monday from 4-5:30pm in room S1 of the Alison Richard Building, starting October 16th. Click the PDF link below to find more information.

Dr. Winifred Brown Collection

November 8th 2023

This collection is now available for consultation at the African Studies Library! It explores Marriage & Divorce Law, and Activism with Orphans in Uganda c. 1960-2000.

  • The collection is made up of two boxes, and contains roughly 116 items.

  • You may be interested in this collection if you are researching any of the following topics:

    • Marriage and divorce law in Uganda

    • Orphaned children in Uganda, particularly Sanyu Babies Home

    • Women’s rights in Uganda

    • Makerere University alumni by name c. 1972-1997

  • Notable Documents in the Collection:

    • WB/U/1/10: Photocopy of “Report of the Commission on Marriage, Divorce and the Status of Women 1965” produced by the Ugandan Government - approx. 94 pages

    • WB/U/1/14: Letter addressed to Winifred from the First Lady, Janet K Museveni, regarding thanks for sending them a copy of her work and with reference to UWESO, the orphan charity Mrs. Museveni established - typewritten, 1 page, 28/09/1988

    • WB/U/2/8: Arise: a women’s developmental magazine published by ACFODE - published by Action for Development, Kampala (6 issues) - 1991-1993

Click the PDF collection aid below for more details.

Black British Voices

September 28th 2023

  • Cambridge has co-published the largest survey to date of the opinions and attitudes of Black people in Britain, revealing a central split on the question of British pride.

Get in Touch and Follow our Socials!

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African Studies Library
Alison Richard Building
7 West Road

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