Refurbished JW Jagger Reading Room opened

11 Jun 2013 - 13:30

New reading room

Many of UCT's Special Collections are found in the newly launched JW Jagger reading Room.

UCT Libraries kicked off their May Africa Month celebrations with the 60th birthday of the Special Collections Section. These are now housed under one roof in the newly restored JW Jagger Reading Room, opened by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Crain Soudien on 10 May.

"It's thanks to the vision of René Immelman, University Librarian from 1935 to 1970, that UCT's collections of African and rare published materials and manuscripts were begun" said libraries executive director Gwenda Thomas.

Successive library heads have continued to support the growth of these collections and their development into the fine research repository that it is today - attracting scholars both nationally and internationally.

The collections that make up Special Collections - the African Studies Collection, Manuscripts & Archives, the Audio-Visual Archive, and the rare books collections - include books, pamphlets, periodicals, photographs and film, archival material, maps and posters, and are renowned for their extent, their depth, and their uniqueness.

A world-class collection deserves a fitting home; and to this end, the JW Jagger building has been painstakingly restored. This reflects an international emphasis on the importance of special collections in academic libraries.

Designed by JM Solomon, and one of the first buildings erected on the Groote Schuur campus, the JW Jagger Reading Room once again exudes a gracious and scholarly ambience.