Finding your way around the University of Cape Town (UCT) libraries and computer labs can be very daunting for a 1st Year – especially for that first assignment! There are many student support systems on campus, from faculty mentors to lecturers and tutors, as well as the student Writing Centre that all offer help for 1st year students.
If students can’t afford textbooks, there are usually copies available to take out in the department-specific libraries. Sometimes, there is only one copy of the textbook, so if you need to make photocopies it is best to book or put in a request for it in advance.
Consult the library assistants at the Short Loans desk area and they will assist you. You may borrow 3 items at a time from Short Loans. Most items are loaned for 3 hours, but for items in very high demand, the loan period is 1 hour. Short Loan items may also be issued on an overnight loan from 15h00 onwards, and must be returned by 09h30 the following morning. Weekend loans are issued from 15h00 on a Friday and must be returned by 09h30 the following Monday.
How to book a study session?
In the Knowledge Commons, there are no individual study rooms but there are enclosed group study rooms. You can book a room in advance if you would like to arrange a group study session. A lab administrator will hold on to your student card as a ‘deposit’ until you and your group members are finished.
Student Jobs at UCT Library
For 3 years during my university career I worked part-time at the medical campus computer labs, also known as Healthlab at the New Learning Centre and Wolfson lab on Level 6 of the Health Sciences Library. This part-time job opportunity is only applicable to full-time registered UCT students. Students eligible for the position are required to have good working knowledge of computers (Windows 7, Windows XP, MS Office, Email, the Web, and Vula). Other responsibilities include resetting student and staff access passwords, booking tutorial rooms for lectures and ensuring all printers and projectors throughout the labs are in working order.
If it is your first working year you will get paid approximately R42.00/hour. If you have been working for more than 1 year, your payment will increase to about R48.00/hour.
UCT libraries also seek senior and postgraduate student library assistants. For both the lab and library assistant positions, you can get allocated to varying shifts. If you are unable to work the shift that was allocated to you, you are responsible for finding another assistant to cover for you – in which case they will get paid for that shift. If you work a weekend shift, the labs and libraries are quieter, which makes it quite easy and convenient to have a student job while studying at the same time.
For more information see the attached example of an advert for SCS lab assistants here.
Make optimal use of your time. If you can have a decent paying student job in the library while being allowed to study at the same time, then go for it. This will be especially handy during exam time on weekends when you would have been studying at home anyway, now you have the added benefit of earning some cash while doing it. And it will look great on your CV.
* Prices/wages are subject to change year by year.