The Theology Library, previously known as the Seminary Library, is the oldest branch library, as well as being the oldest library on campus. Since its establishment in 1859 the Theological Seminary was fortunate in being the recipient of valuable book donations from a variety of eminent theologians, ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church and members of the public. The Church gave the Seminary its support from the start and even before the Seminary was instituted, the Synod resolved to collect money for establishing a library. This support continues to this day.
In 1963 the Theological Seminary was incorporated into the Stellenbosch University as the Faculty of Theology. With this incorporation the then University Library acquired a large collection of valuable theological literature which formed the basis of the Theology Library as it stands today. The wide spectrum covered in its collection acquired over a period of more than 100 years contributes greatly to the quality of the service being rendered to its clients.
During the middle of the 1990’s it was evident that increased use of the Theology Library and its growing collection would necessitate the re-planning of the library. Alterations to the library commenced in 1997 and were completed during 1998. The available space was modified to include a new entrance with a detector system, a separate study room for students, space for photocopying facilities in the library and a new staff room.
The teaching of music in Stellenbosch made great strides in the latter part of the nineteenth century and in 1900 it was felt that a central school of music should be founded. This led to the establishment of the “South African Conservatorium of Music”, the first of its kind in South Africa, in 1905.
The initial small collection of books only became a library when the Conservatorium was incorporated into the Stellenbosch University and became a department of the Faculty of Arts in 1934. In the beginning the library merely occupied a few shelves in the office of the then head of the Conservatorium, Prof Maria Fismer. Later a separate room was made available to house the growing collection consisting of a number of 78-speed records, a book catalogue and about 200 books donated to the University by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Between 1961 and 1964 the first two staff members were appointed and the task of creating order in the existing collection as well as in the numerous bequests commenced. Since then the Music Library has developed into one of the largest academic music libraries in the country with a well-appointed collection of various printed and audio-visual media in the subject field.
The old Conservatorium building, still situated in Van Riebeeck Street, was used by the Department of Music until the end of 1977. In 1978 the Department and the Music Library moved to the new building in Victoria Street.
In 1999, after 21 years in its new premises, the ever-increasing use of the library, its growing collection and changes in its functions and client services necessitated the re-planning of the library. Structural changes, including, inter alia, additional offices for staff members and a new location for the library’s special collections, were completed early in 2000.
Medicine and Health Sciences Library
The Medicine & Health Sciences Library, previously known as the Medical Library and Tygerberg Campus Library, came into existence in 1957 with a humble collection of about 3 000 volumes of books and bound periodicals and 200 current periodical titles and was situated in a few small back rooms of the Karl Bremer Hospital in Bellville.
With the establishment of the Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry (now known as the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences), as well as the University’s teaching hospital in Tygerberg, the library was also moved to the Tygerberg campus. Over the years the library underwent various transformations and moved several times.
Since 1987 re-planning of the available space has resulted in maximum utilisation of users’ and office areas, information services to teaching staff and students have been considerably extended and the library collection currently consists of more than 53 000 print volumes, 700 current journal titles and a large variety of audio-visual and electronic resources.
In 2005, the Dentistry faculties of Stellenbosch University and the University of Western Cape (UWC)
have amalgamated, and all dentistry resources have been moved to the UWC Dentistry Faculty Library on the Tygerberg campus.
USBI (Bellville Park Campus Information Centre)
Since its very beginning a library was seen as a priority for the Graduate School of Business. As early as 1964 a number of books were purchased with funds made available by donations.
The first actual library was, however, only established in 1972 when the Business School occupied premises in Skuilhoek, Victoria Street, on the Stellenbosch campus. In the same year it was decided to move the Business School to Bellville. Some old pre-fabricated buildings which had been vacated by the Medical Faculty and were situated behind the Karl Bremer Hospital became the new home of the Business School and its library.
In 1975 the library officially became a satellite library of the then University Library and a substantial number of books on business management was transferred to Bellville.
In 1986 the Business School moved to its present premises and in 1992 the Graduate School of Business Library, as it was known at the time, became a full branch library of the University of Stellenbosch Library Service.
In 1996 the library of the then Extramural Division of the University consolidated with the Graduate School of Business Library and this combined library is now known as USBI (University of Stellenbosch Bellville Park Campus Information Centre).
Since the inauguration of the new facility, USBI, in May 2002, clients have access to the services of a state-of-the-art learning and information centre benchmarked against the highest international standards in information services.
USBI was created as a multi-functional one-stop information and services facility where clients can hire laptops, arrange courier services, make photocopies, send faxes, scan articles to disks, obtain prescribed textbooks and consult their librarians. USBI has been designed and cabled for full digital delivery in the future.
Engineering and Forestry Library
The Engineering and Forestry libraries formerly functioned as separate libraries, each at its own premises on the Stellenbosch campus. These two libraries only amalgamated as one library, the Engineering and Forestry Library, in the Civil Engineering building in 2006.
The Faculty of Engineering was established in 1944 and was the first of its kind at an Afrikaans university.
The construction of the present building complex of the Faculty commenced in the 1960’s but was only completed in 1979 and, due to financial constraints, did not make provision for a library. The engineering collection was therefore at the time still housed in the central library. However, the need for library facilities on the premises occupied by the Faculty became urgent and in 1976 it was decided to provide a library service for the exclusive use of engineering lecturers and students on the third floor of the Computer Centre of the Faculty.
From 1980 the Engineering Library grew rapidly. In 1981 it ran out of space and a room was provided in the Civil Engineering building. In 1992 the library was further extended to accommodate the rapidly growing collection and the increasing use of its facilities. Through the years various structural expansions took place.
In 1950 Prof CL Wicht, then head of the Institute of Forestry and Timber Technology, made a request to the University authorities that the collection of books dealing with forestry in the University Library be transferred to the Institute. In the same year a sum of money was voted to be used toward the acquisition of a number of valuable books from the library of the late Prof EJ Neethling (head of the Institute from 1932 to 1949), after whom the library was named.
1960 saw the founding of the Faculty of Forestry. Since its inception the large pamphlet collection of about 60 000 items (the largest in Africa, and probably in the southern hemisphere) has been acquired and is constantly being expanded.
In 1989 a well-known timber firm, Hunt, Leuchars and Hepburn, voted a considerable sum of money toward buying computer equipment and for an additional staff member whose task it was to enter the pamphlet collection in a database.
In 1992 the Forestry Library became a satellite library of the University of Stellenbosch Library Service and for the first time since its inception its staff became full members of the Library Service staff. In the early part of 1999 the library was largely expanded with the addition of a second floor.
In 2002 the Departments Forestry, Wood Science and Conservation Ecology became part of the Faculty of AgriSciences. The Department of Conservation Ecology moved to another building and student numbers dropped. All these factors contributed to the decision to amalgamate the Forestry Library with the Engineering Library. Two adjacent classrooms were added to the existing Engineering library. In March 2006 the combined Engineering and Forestry Library was inaugurated.
On the 23rd of July 2012 the library opened its doors in the newly built Knowledge Centre of the Faculty of Engineering.