The Library is open during office hours for reference use only to all members of the University with a current University card and to holders of valid BirdLife South Africa membership cards. Members of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute are entitled to 24 hour access. Members of the Animal Demography Unit may apply for 24 hour access.
External visitors are welcome to visit but should contact the library to make an appointment in advance of visiting.
The collection of ornithological books and journals, which belong to the South African Ornithological Society (SAOS now BirdLife SA), arrived on the UCT campus in 1954 and were housed in the Jagger Library. The collection remained at Jagger Library until the establishment of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology in 1960.
From 1960 to 1971 the collection was housed in the Director's Office, but by 1973 the collection had been moved into its own space - the library cum meeting room of the Fitztitute. In 1981 the Library was named the Niven Library in recognition of the contribution made by the Niven family - Cecily, her husband Jack and her family - to the FitzPatrick Institute. In 1986 the Niven Library moved to its present location in the south wing of the John Day Building on University Avenue, upper UCT campus.
The collection is made up of the BirdLife South Africa collection, the Percy FitzPatrick Memorial Trust (donations) collection, the Richard Brooke Memorial Reprint collection, the John Cooper Antarctic collection, the Animal Demography Unit/Afring collection, Zoology Department book and journal donations and a small collection of books and journals donated by UCT Library.
For a campus map please click here.
The Niven Library is based on the Ground Floor within the John Day Zoology Building, south entrance, on the mountain side of University Avenue, north of the Jameson Hall.
Visitors should stop at the Visitors Reception and Information Centre to arrange for visitor parking permission (consult upper campus map). You can then drive through the traffic boom and search for a visitor's parking bay on the ring road as close as possible to University Avenue.