find your secret place

The Central Library Cape Town is situated on the corner of Parade and Darling Streets in the Cape Town City Centre. It is housed in the old Volunteer Drill Hall right next to the City Hall Building on the Grand Parade. It is a beautiful building steeped in history and is well positioned in the centre of the city. It is more than just a lending library and can be described as a community arts, culture and social centre. The Central Library Cape Town is the only library in the city that has books in all 11 official languages.

The Central Library Cape Town was featured on the Top 10 Wonderful Libraries Repurposed from Unused Structures, by Emily Temple on July 15, 2012 (

Library Facilities

  • Computers (90 in total)
  • Cultural Hub
  • Electronic resources
  • Lifelong learning and story telling
  • Magazines and journals
  • Programmes on informational-retrieval skills
  • Venue for community activities and events
  • Wi Fi, free for library members

On Line Library Service

This service provides two functions.

Quick Access

Provides members access to all the city libraries to the following:

  • Books, audio books and large print books
  • Magazines and Newspapers
  • Music and Movies

My Library

Allows the public access to the following:

  • Access to E-Resources
  • Review library material
  • View and change certain personal details of their membership
  • View items and loan
  • View reservations


The activities mentioned are available from time to time as well as other activities. The programme is varied and a visitor is advised to contact the library for current programmes on offer.

  • Art classes
  • Art Exhibition: on-going
  • Beginners Conversational Xhosa classes
  • Beginners singing lessons
  • Book launches
  • Business breakfasts
  • Career Development workshops
  • English prescribed work for school learners on show
  • Fun film show
  • PC courses
  • Poetry Circle: every second Saturday of the month
  • Teen discussion groups
  • Xhosa storytelling sessions

Volunteer Drill Hall

The original function of this hall was to accommodate the volunteer forces of the Western Division as its headquarters and instruction venue, including drilling when the weather was not good. In 1954 the building was transformed to accommodate the Central Library Cape Town.


  • 1884 – Foundation of the Drill Hall laid by Thomas Uppington, the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony
  • 1885 – Building inaugurated
  • 1889 – Building extended by architect Anthony de Witt
  • 1987 - Declared a National monument and a Provincial Heritage Site


  • Monday, 09h00 - 20h00
  • Tuesday to Thursday, 08h00 - 20h00
  • Friday, 09h00 – 18h00.
  • Saturday, 09h00 – 16h00.

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