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A to Z guide - resources and procedures

The Unisa Library

As a registered Unisa student, you have access to the largest academic library in Africa. This is a privilege and there is a code of conduct that you need to adhere to to ensure that you may continue using these facilities.

What material is available in the Unisa libraries?

  • The Muckleneuk library provides access to an extensive collection of books, audiovisual material, and electronic databases and journals.
  • The book stock at the other branch libraries is determined by the number of students registered for a course in the area covered by the branch library and by the physical facilities at the branch library.
  • No additional reading material and periodicals are available at the branch libraries.

Recommended reading

  • Students are not expected to purchase recommended books - these books may be borrowed from your nearest Unisa library.
  • If these books are not available, they may be requested electronically via myUnisa.

General/research collection

  • The reference collection in a branch is indicated by the letters REF in front of the classification number.
  • The reference collection may consist of dictionaries, abstracts, directories, encyclopaedias, indexes, statutes or law reports.
  • The items in the reference collection may only be used in the library.

Journal collection

  • Journals and newspapers are available for use in the library only.
  • Photocopies of journal articles are supplied to students, subject to library regulations and the provisions of Copyright Act 98 of 1978.
  • Electronic journals and the databases are available via the library’s website or the library catalogue.
  • Please use the library catalogue to check whether the library has a particular journal title in stock and where it is housed.

Audiovisual collection

  • The audiovisual collection of the Muckleneuk library is an extensive collection of recordings of music, the spoken word (in several languages), language courses, music scores, video recordings, art slides, multimedia sets, music reference works and microtext. All other Unisa libraries have a limited audiovisual collection.
  • All material may be used by students, except for music recordings which may only be used by students who are registered for musicology courses.
  • A workstation with multimedia facilities is available for use by students in the Muckleneuk library.
  • Bookings are essential for all facilities and equipment.
  • The microtext material may be photocopied. All photocopying is subject to the provisions of Copyright Act 98 of 1978.

Archives and Special Collections

  • This material is not issued but may be utilised in the Archives’ reading room. More information about these collections is available from the Archives section.
  • All visits to the Archives should preferably be arranged telephonically in advance (+27 12 429 2560).

How do I access the library electronically?

You can access the library via myUnisa, click on the “library tab”. The following functions are available on the library catalogue:

  • Check the availability of items in the collections
  • Check which items have been issued to you
  • Check loan period of items issued to you
  • Renew (extend) the loan period for items that appear on your loan record
  • Request items (other than prescribed books), including those that are out on loan to another user
  • Make suggestions and read the library’s frequently asked questions (FAQs)
  • Suggest titles the library could acquire
  • Access to subject databases, e-journals and e-books. It is important to note that licence conditions of database vendors restrict access to registered Unisa students only. You may not download and distribute full-text material to non-Unisa students or use it for commercial purposes. Violation of these restrictions may lead to disciplinary action in terms of the Unisa Students’ Disciplinary Code.

How do I borrow material?

  • In person (at the self-service machines or at the lending counter) – please note that all issue slips must be kept with the relevant material. This slip must be produced on request at any time during the loan period.
  • Access the library catalogue on AirPAC or via smartphone
  • By faxing a completed request card to +27 12 429 1828 (not preferred).

The library will notify the student when the request is placed on a waiting list. If the book is no longer required, the student should inform the library immediately. The library will notify students if an item is no longer available. No reservations will be made for prescribed books.

How many items may I borrow at a time?

  • Undergraduate: 8 items including audiovisual items
  • Non-degree purposes, short learning courses and certificates: 4 items (no audiovisual items)
  • Postgraduate: 16 items including audiovisual items
  • Undergraduate music students: 12 items of which 8 may be audiovisual items
  • Postgraduate music students: 20 items of which 8 may be audiovisual items

How long may I keep library material?

You can renew your material in the following ways:

Requests for renewals must reach the library four days before the due date. The library items to be renewed need not be returned to the library with the request.

How do I request library material?

  • To request books and journal articles, please use the request function on the library catalogue.
  • Periodical articles and extracts from books recommended or prescribed for assignments for structured courses are placed on the Electronic Reserves of the library’s catalogue.
  • Please note that periodical articles are posted or e-mailed and not faxed. The requested items can be delivered to your postal address supplied at registration, couriered to the nearest centre with which Unisa has an agreement for you to collect or couriered to the nearest regional office or branch library for you to collect.

Please see the library webpage for a complete list of all delivery points. If no option is indicated, the item will automatically be posted. Please ensure that your postal address is correct.

How do I request audiovisual material?

To request audiovisual material, please use the request function on the library catalogue. Please note that music CDs are only available to students studying the relevant degree. Enquiries regarding the requests for library material may be sent to

How is requested library material sent to me?

  • The library will send requested material free of charge according to your delivery option.
  • Please allow up to three weeks for delivery. If the material is couriered, contact the delivery point regarding collection.
  • Material not claimed within ten working days will be sent back to the library from which it was couriered.

How do I renew library material?

You can renew your material in the following ways:

  • Library catalogue
  • Telephone (+27 12 429 4164) (after hours number: +27 12 429 3560)
  • Postal (letter/card)
  • Requests for renewals must reach the library four days before the due date.
  • The library item that needs to be renewed need not be returned to the library with the request
  • Renewals will not be granted if there is an outstanding account on the student’s loan record.
  • Only two renewals are allowed.
  • Items that cannot be renewed must be returned to the Library immediately.

How do I return my library material?

You may return library material:

In person

  • At any branch library (at the self-service drop box or at the lending counters). Audiovisual material must be returned to the lending counters only. Receipts must be kept at all times as proof of return.
  • At the nearest centre with which Unisa has an agreement. Please note, students in Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia will be responsible for the cost of sending library material back to South Africa through these centres.

By post

  • Students should return library material to the library where it was originally issued.
  • Students are liable for the cost of returning material.
  • Library material must be returned in sturdy packages. The Post Office parcel slip should be kept as proof that the books have been returned. If a parcel is lost in the post, the sender will be held liable for the replacement cost which is payable to the library. Students are advised to insure their parcels, because the Post Office only compensates clients for the loss of insured parcels.
  • All audiovisual material should be returned in separate parcels.
  • Please do not include any other correspondence when returning your library material.

When should I return my library material?

  • All material should be returned on or before the due date.
  • All library material must be returned immediately after the examinations, regardless of further study plans and/or registration expiry dates.
  • Examination results of students who fail to return library material by the due date will be withheld until the material has been received or until the replacement cost of each item as well as all outstanding administrative costs have been paid in full. Re-registration will also not be possible.
  • Students who cancel or suspend their studies must return all library material for the relevant courses without delay.

Library material not returned on time

  • Failure to return library material on time could lead to the rendering of an account. The library will send an account for the standard price per item plus R1,00 per item per day for library material that is not returned by the due date.
  • If a borrowed item is returned to the library after an account has been rendered, the student remains liable for the administrative costs of R1,00 per item per day for the late return. The administrative cost will not be cancelled.
  • Students may not borrow other material until this amount has been paid in full. Please note that prices are subject to change. For the latest prices, please go to, click on “services” and click on “tariffs”.

Damaged or lost library material

  • If library material is damaged or lost by you, an account for the standard item price will be rendered.
  • The student has to pay the replacement cost or supply the library with a new copy if library material is damaged or lost.
  • The student may not borrow any other library material until this account has been paid or the item has been replaced.
  • Please note that prices are subject to change. For the latest prices, please go to, click on “services” and click on “tarrifs”.

How do I make payments to the library?

  • Payment for services rendered may be made by means of a postal order (which must be made out to Unisa), credit card and debit card (if you pay in person at Unisa in Pretoria/Florida or at one of the Regional offices) or electronic transfer (Unisa is a pre-approved beneficiary).
  • Standard Bank deposit (South African based students only); bank deposits can only be done:
    • for outstanding fines or lost/damaged items
    • if you have already received an account and have a student number
  • Please complete the deposit slip as follows:
    • Credit – Unisa Student deposits
    • The account number to be used is 096R
    • Dep ref. – the first eight blocks are for the student number. If the student number consists of 7 digits, then a 0 must be filled in for the first digit of the student number. Leave one block open and then fill in the following reference number: 5400374225 (student number + open block + reference number).
    • Fax the completed deposit slip to 086 659 8821.
  • Overseas students must use the following account details:
    • Branch code: 010645
    • Swift code: SBZAZAJJ
    • Account number: 011554622
    • Dep ref. – the first eight blocks are for the student number. If the student number consists of 7 digits, then a 0 must be filled in for the first digit of the student number. Leave one block open and then fill in the following reference number: 5400374225 (student number + open block + reference number).

Library training

  • The various Unisa library branches offer training sessions. Each branch may be contacted for further details on library training.
  • Click here for library training schedules.
  • Self-help photocopying and printing
  • Students are expected to pay for all printing and photocopying made when visiting any branch in person.
  • All photocopying and printing is subject to the provisions of Copyright Act 98 of 1978 and the relevant library regulations.
  • The Copyright Act states that material required for study or research purposes may be photocopied, subject to the following conditions:
    • No more than one copy may be made of no more than one article or other contribution appearing in a journal issue or other collection.
    • From other works, only a reasonable portion may be photocopied (it is accepted that a ‘‘reasonable portion’’ means not more than 10% of the whole work, having regard for the totality and meaning of the work).
    • No work may be photocopied in its entirety without prior authorisation by the copyright owner.
  • Users disregarding the above-mentioned conditions are liable to prosecution.

Students with disabilities

The following equipment is available:

  • Classmate Reader
  • Dolphin Pen
  • BookSense
  • Merlin desktop video magnifier
  • BookCourier portable reading
  • E-books and audio books
  • Wheelchairs

The following services are available:

  • Special parking
  • Entrance fees are not charged for the library member with a disability or person who accompanies him or her
  • Guide dogs are welcome in the library
  • Requested library materials will be supplied in appropriate formats where possible
  • Special assistance available in the library on request
  • For additional information regarding our services, please contact the Information Desk at the Muckleneuk library (012 429 3206; or your nearest branch library

Literature search service

  • This service provides a reading list on your research topic.
  • It is important to submit your request well in advance of your due date.
  • Click here for a literature search request form.

Ask a short question

The Library provides a web-based information service, which students may use for short reference queries.

Code of conduct

  • Students may not conduct any business in the library.
  • Cellphones disturb people studying and doing research. Please do not make or receive calls in the library.
  • Eating, drinking or smoking is not permitted in the library.
  • Student notices and posters may only be placed on the notice boards supplied for this purpose. Enquiries may be made at the lending desks.
  • Please avoid disturbing other library users by keeping noise levels down.
  • Unfortunately no children are allowed in the library.
  • Library computers are intended for accessing library material and research/study related information only.

Security in the library

  • Students are urged to familiarise themselves with emergency procedures when visiting a Unisa library.
  • The students should take care of their personal property, since the university cannot be held responsible for loss, theft or damage to private property.
  • Any attempts to remove unissued library material can lead to the suspension of library membership and possible further disciplinary measures, which may include a charge of theft and cancellation of university registration.

Library tariffs

  • Please note that all tariffs are subject to change. Click here for the latest tariffs.
  • Library material not returned will be charged at the standard price per item.