Explore the Historic Cape Town Library

Book lovers, if you are looking for an escape filled with books, old school movies and art, then you should plan a visit to the City of Cape Town’s Central Library.

Located at Parade Street, a short walk away from the Cape Town City Hall, this one-of-a-kind library has everything you need for a day of exploration and learning. The library forms part of the City of Cape Town Library and Information Services, which features over 100 branches in the Mother City.

What to Expect

Browse Award-winning Books

Expect rows of books, ranging from children, adult, local history, art, LGBTQ+ and teen titles. Books are nicely categorised, with a space for new fiction and non-fiction titles. You could find titles in one of our 11 official South African languages, and if visiting, there are many foreign books to borrow.

Free Internet and Computer Use

Visitors have access to complimentary internet and wifi. To use the computers, you’ll need a library card, and when utilising the printing services, identification is required. There are also digital literacy resources available in the computer section.

Children’s Library

The youngsters have their own dedicated area, furnished with small, colourful tables and chairs and murals. In addition to the wide selection of titles, children can participate in holiday programmes, games, access the internet, and can visit the reference collection for in-library use.

Cape Town Library

Music and Blockbusters

Music and movie enthusiasts can borrow a range of music, tv series and movie titles at the Performing Arts and Music section. You can find everything from romance, suspense, drama, and kiddies titles.


The library has local artwork and an art exhibition section showing the works of local artists. These exhibitions are regularly updated.

FOCAL (Friends of Central Library)

The Friends of Central Library operates a bookstore where you can buy second-hand books starting from as little as R1. These books are donated, and the proceeds contribute to library initiatives such as workshops, regular poetry circles, and other events.

The American Corner

This section, situated at the entrance, helps students who wish to study in the US with the necessary information. They also host regular programmes, film shows and lectures.

Libby App

If you have a card, you can access a catalogue of books and audio books to read anytime and anywhere. Download the app here:

How Tourists Can Apply for a Library Card

If you are visiting Cape Town and would like a library card, you can apply for one when you visit the library for a non-refundable fee. You will need to show your passport and provide proof of your accommodation in Cape Town. Tourists have the option to request an orientation tour of the library.


The library hosts regular events, ranging from book launches, book talks and art exhibitions. Details are posted on their Facebook page:

Opening Hours

Monday – Thursday: 9am-6pm
Friday: 9am-5pm
Saturdays: 9am-1pm

Contact Details

Call 021 444 0983 or email

Cape Town Library

About Us

Cape Town Tourism is the city of Cape Town's official Regional Tourism Organisation, responsible for tourism marketing, visitor and industry services.

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