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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!
    • Note that it's best to search thematically rather than by country - most of our resources focus on disciplines within African Studies rather than countries themselves. We are working to add country names where applicable for ease of searching.
  • 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 & Oral History
    • Portals & Institutions
    • Blogs & Podcasts
    • Copyright, Referencing Advice & Research Tools
  • Each sub-tab is generally organised alphabetically.

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. We are open to the public! 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. Members of the public are welcome to come browse and read material in the Library.

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
  • A rich archive of primary materials
  • 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).
  • University Managed Desktop (UMD): access your DS (Digital Services) account, files, software, and applications - below are the pre-installed software you can access, with many more applications available for download. Speak to staff for help.
    • 7-Zip 
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader DC 
    • Alteryx Designer 
    • ArcGIS Desktop 
    • Audacity 
    • Autodesk Buzzsaw 
    • Avogadro 
    • Cambridge Structural Database System 
    • ColorVeil 
    • Endnote 
    • GIMP 
    • Google Chrome 
    • Gstreamer 
    • IBM SPSS 
    • Inkscape 
    • JASP 
    • Mathworks Matlab 
    • Mendeley Resource Manager 
    • Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise 
    • Microsoft Edge 
    • Microsoft Teams 
    • Mindview 
    • MobaXterm 
    • Mozilla Firefox 
    • Notepad++ 
    • Panopto 
    • PaperCut Print Deploy Client 
    • PuTTY 
    • Python 
    • QGIS 
    • RODE Connect 
    • Rstudio 
    • ShareX 
    • Slik Subervsion 
    • Snagit 
    • SPSS Statistics 
    • StataMP 
    • VLC 
    • WinSCP 
    • Zoom 
    • Zotero 

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 - 3rd floor, Centre of African Studies, Alison Richard Building



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
Postgraduates 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 on the office 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.

Upcoming African Studies Events - May/June 2024

  • 22 May at 5pm in Cavonius Centre, Harvey Court
    • Amina Mama (UC Davis)
    • Annual Audrey Richards Lecture
    • Cultivating epistemic change: How Africa’s scholarly networks and communities work.
  • 3 June at 3pm in S3, Alison Richard Building
    • James Omolo
    • Against The Odds: Life of African Migrant Workers In Europe
  • 10 June at 3pm in S1, Alison Richard Building
    • Tolulope Osayomi (Ibadan/Oxford)
    • Will discuss insights from ongoing research projects, particularly  work on pandemics and their impact on African society ( as well as a recently concluded ethnographic study on the spatial dynamics of religious tolerance in shared sacred spaces in Nigeria
  • 10 June at 5pm in S1, Alison Richard Building
    • Othman Bychou (Moulay Slimane University)
    • Discussing his research on the history of Berbers within the French army during World War Two and the Berber societies of the Middle Atlas region
  • 18 June 

Annual Audrey Richards Lecture in African Studies 2024 - May 22nd

We are delighted to announce that this year’s Audrey Richards Annual Lecture in African Studies will be given by Professor Amina Mama on Wednesday 22 May at 5pm. The venue is the Cavonius Centre, Gonville and Caius College, Harvey Court, West Road, Cambridge. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.

This lecture will map some of the shifting ethical and political concerns that have energised African scholarly production since the 1970’s, focusing on the anti-colonial and feminist interventions of two networks that have cultivated epistemic change. It examines how the non-governmental Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa (CODESRIA) grew into the largest scholarly network of continental Africans and produced an impressive corpus of continental knowledge. I argue that while feminist critiques were articulated within CODESRIA during the 1990’s, it was the mobilization of feminist scholars outside CODESRIA that eventually influenced the Council to pursue a more equitable research profile. The accounts of key actors highlight the importance of interpersonal relationships and collective spaces in the enunciation of African feminism on the continent. These examples document the ways in which epistemic changes are products of close interpersonal relational practices that characterise intellectual communities and the strategies they pursue. What do these developments in the continental African studies landscape imply for the ethics of transnational collaborations?

This event is open to all and is free of charge, but registration is required.

Register for online attendance here.

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.

Southern African Collections: a co-curation (Royal Commonwealth Society Collection)

May 15th 2024

NEW African Languages Tab added to LibGuide (ongoing construction)

May 13th 2024

We are pleased to bring you knowledge of African Languages in our Library and online. Below is the first resource we've added!

  • LEXILOGOS: An incredible collection about 40 countries in Africa and their languages. It has dictionaries and a translation / phonetic writing tool. Click the country you're interested in, then scroll down to the Resource section to see the languages it covers.

University College London's Legacies of British Slavery Database/Portal

May 6th 2024

African Studies Monographs (Kyoto University)

May 3rd 2024

  • African Studies Monographs (Open Acess): ASM is Kyoto University's quarterly African Studies Journal - here you'll find writing about: 

    • Literature, Language & Linguistics and Art
    • Anthropology, History and Geography
    • Law, Political Sciences
    • Economics, Business & Management
    • Sociology
      • The African Studies Library also has physical holdings from 1981 onwards - the supplementary annual publication ceased print production in 2023.

Joint Publication Research Service Digitised Archive

May 2nd 2024

  • JPRS - Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports is a collection of United States government documents published by JPRS, a unit of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Established in 1957 as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Technical Services, the collection contains English-language translations of foreign-language monographs, reports, journal and newspaper articles, and radio and television broadcasts from regions throughout the world. 

The Continent

April 24th 2024

  • The Continent - an award-winning African newspaper, designed to be read and shared on WhatsApp

The Princeton Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Egyptian Miracles of Mary Project

April 23rd 2024

Digital Oral History Resources tab added to LibGuide!

April 7th 2024

  • We currently have 12 resources listed on this new tab - find it under "Archives, Special Collections & Oral History
  • Recommendations for Oral History resources welcome - email us this link with your thoughts at

Matatu & Digital Benin

February 28th 2024

  • Matatu (CRSid Login): publishing high quality articles on African literatures and societies. The journal continues to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue between literary and cultural studies, historiography, the social sciences, and cultural anthropology.

  • Digital Benin (Open Access): shows Benin objects in one unique space accompanied by information that in certain cases had only partially been available to the public (i.e., internal museum data) or available in a dispersed form.

Several Databases Added and 1 Podcast

February 15th 2024

  • Historical Papers Research Archive (Open Access): one of the most comprehensive public archives in Southern Africa, with over 3400 collections. We are the official repository of the South African Institute of Race Relations, and the Anglican Church in Southern Africa. Over and above we have in our custody collections which we received from trade unions, political parties, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), women's organisations, church bodies, as well as records of political trials and the personal papers of individuals, many of which have shaped South Africa's past and present.

  • Digital Innovation South Africa (Open Access): a freely accessible online scholarly resource focusing on the socio-political history of South Africa, particularly the struggle for freedom during the period  from 1950 to the first democratic elections in 1994, providing a wealth of material on this fascinating period of the country’s history.

  • The Pan African Cinema Podcast: June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive - "In each episode we bring together the works and voices of filmmakers, artists and writers around a wide range of themes, debates and interests related to Pan African culture and identity."

  • Struggles for Freedom: Southern Africa (Raven login): This collection focuses on the complex and varied liberation struggles in the region, with an emphasis on Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. It brings together materials from various archives and libraries throughout the world documenting colonial rule, dispersion of exiles, international intervention, and the worldwide networks that supported successive generations of resistance within the region.

  • Transition (Raven login): is a unique forum for the freshest, most compelling ideas from and about the black world. Since its founding in Uganda in 1961, the magazine has kept apace of the rapid transformation of the African Diaspora and has remained a leading forum of intellectual debate. Transition is a publication of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, edited by Alejandro de la Fuente and published three times annually.

World Religion Database

February 6th 2024

  • The World Religion Database (WRD) contains detailed statistics on religious affiliation for every country of the world. It provides information from country censuses as well as best estimates for every religion to offer a definitive picture of religion and non-religion in the past, present, and future.

African Collections Futures Blog

January 22nd 2024
  • Curated by Dr. Eva Namusoke, this blog reflects on the activities and findings of the African Collections Futures project. Broadly, the project seeks to develop a better sense of where Africa-related objects and materials are across the University of Cambridge, what kinds of engagements scholars, African research and heritage institutions, and African diaspora and communities of origin have with these objects, and what more can be done.

Digitised Newspaper Sources

January 8th 2024

  • Daily Observer (Liberia) - Founded in 1981, the Daily Observer is Liberia’s best-known, independent, national newspaper. The Daily Observer is notable for its coverage of the modern history of Liberia—including the Liberian Civil War and through its current phase of development.

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. Read the full blog post here.

  • 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.

How many countries can you find in Africa? Take the quiz below! 

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African Studies Library
Alison Richard Building
7 West Road
Subjects: African Studies

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