At the centre of the University is the Library system comprising of the Main Library, which is situated at Makerere University Main Campus. It was constructed in 1959 with a total area of 4,000 square metres and was extended in 1962, 1972 and 2006. The extensions increased the area to 12,000 square metres with a seating capacity of over 2,800. The Main Library currently has nine sections namely: Technical Services, Periodicals/Serials, Reference and Circulation (including the Law collection and IDA/Basic textbook Reserve collection), Africana Section, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Microfilming and Digitisation, Book Bank and Bindery.
There are Nine (9) College Libraries and 1 School Library with a total area of over 2, 000 square metres. Seven (7) of the College Libraries are situated at the Main Campus, namely: College of Business and Management Sciences; College of Computing and Information Sciences; College of Education and External Studies; College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; College of Natural Sciences; and College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security. The rest are located away from the Main Campus and serve College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Kabanyolo; and College of Health Sciences at Albert Cook Medical Library at Mulago.
As per the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act (2001), the overall administration of the Library is vested in the office of the University Librarian who reports to the Vice-Chancellor through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs (DVC-AA). The University Librarian is a member of Makerere University Top Management and Senate. Within the Library, the University Librarian and deputies form the Library’s Management team, which works with Heads of Sections and College Librarians to implement University Library policies and programmes, and enforce Library rules and regulations.
The policy making body of the University Library is the Academic Programmes and Library Committee, which is a Senate Committee chaired by the DVC-AA. It is composed of members of Senate representing the Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Library, Students and other relevant stakeholders. The Library conducts most of its business through the following Committees: Finance, Appointments, Heads of Sections/College Libraries, Professional Staff, ICTs/Projects, Research and Staff Development, Preservation and Conservation and Staff Welfare.
The library collection consists of over 600,000 monographs with an annual addition of about 2,500 print books and 100 electronic books excluding donations and exchange, over 12,000 titles of bound Serials/ Periodicals and an annual subscription of about 200 titles of print Serials/ Periodicals and over 27,000 titles of electronic journals. There is a Book Bank System that came into existence in 1990. It comprises basic prescribed text books which are kept and accessed from the academic departments. Currently, the Book Bank collection has over 250,000 copies of books.
The Library has ICT facilities in the Main Library and all its College Libraries. A relatively well equipped Training unit was set up in the Main Library where information literacy sessions are conducted for university staff, students and library staff. A computer laboratory for library users with disabilities was also set up. The ICT facilities are planned to grow and to cater for the Library users’ growing and changing needs in an information age with its corresponding opportunities and challenges. The Library also offers a specialized space, Research Commons offering a differentiated service. The Research Commons is a new type of learning space that exemplifies technology and space design working to encourage and enhance research and collaboration. It’s a place for knowledge creation and research.
The Library also provides the following services: binding, microfilming and photography, photocopying, secretarial, computer training and various reference services.
National Reference Library
Although Makerere University Library is an academic unit with programmes, services and functions primarily designed to meet the study, teaching and research information needs of Makerere University community, it also serves as a National Reference Library. In that capacity, it is a Legal Depository for all works published in Uganda including government publications. It is also the depository of the United Nations’ publications and related bodies. These, together with archival materials and dissertations, are housed in the Africana section of the Main Library, while the medical and health related materials are housed at the Medical Library.
The University Main Library opens Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 23:00 hours; on Saturdays from 8:00 to 21:00 hours, and Sundays from 9:00 to 18:00 hours (during examination period, it opens up to 21:00 hours). It is open on all public holidays except Christmas and Easter. The University Library is therefore; open when other academic and administrative units, including Students’ Internet Kiosks are closed. When the staffing situation improves, the Library plans to extend the opening hours according to the demand.