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African Studies Library: General Information

Zero Contact Services

Book Returns

Return your library books safely to the dropboxes on the Sidgwick Site.  


To borrow items at the African Studies Library please email with at least 24 hours notice, we will do our best to help you. 

This service is available to University of Cambridge staff and students. 

Scan & Deliver 

Place requests for scans of chapters or journal articles that are not available electronically and are held solely at the African Studies Library


                                         CamGuides portal 

CamGuides is designed to help students prepare for their studies in Cambridge, regardless of their subject or college. It focuses on some of the academic and information practices and skills that students commonly engage in, or require, for their degrees.

CamGuides is an open resource, and there's no need for any formal University of Cambridge affiliation to use the sites.

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 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.  

There are disabled bathrooms on each floor, and gender-neutral bathrooms on the first to third floors of the building.

Please do email, or ring Jenni on 01223 334398 if you would like any further information, or to arrange a tour.

What do we have in our library?

  • Over 20,000 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.  

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!

Profile Photo
Jenni Skinner
African Studies Library
Alison Richard Building
7 West Road
01223 334398
Contact: Twitter Page

Recommend a book!

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Book recommendations welcome!

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