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Afrikaans & Dutch: Books

Books 101

The number of items a user may borrow, and for how long they are issued, are determined by the category of library user.

Undergraduate students (1st – 3rd year students) - 14 days/ 2 weeks 

Honours/4th year students - 20 days

Postgraduate students (Masters and PhD students/researchers) - 30 days

Please see the webpage with borrowing privileges for more information.

Library material may usually be renewed, unless it has been placed on hold by another patron.

After renewing, remember to sign out in the top right-hand corner.

Search for a book in the Department of Library Service's catalogue, which is to be found on our homepage.

Always check the status of the book to see if it's in or not! Remember to note down the location, FULL call number and title/author(s) of the book.

Elsewhere on this page, under How to search for a book there is a link to the Department of Library Services Brochure, which also provides guidance.


The books in the library have been classified into ten main classes, according to the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system:

10 Main Classes

000 Computer science, information & general works

100 Philosophy & psychology

200 Religion

300 Social sciences

400 Language

500 Science

600 Technology

700 Arts & recreation

800 Literature

900 History & geography


Location in the UP libraries

The Main library houses:

Level 1 - Humanities and Social Sciences: Philosophy, Psychology, Theology, Sociology, Social Work, and Communication Pathology (Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and CAAC) books

Level 2 - Economic and Management Sciences books

Level 3 - Study Collection books, the Circulation unit and the Learning Centre

Level 4 - Research Commons (for Masters and Doctoral students, and researchers)

Level 5 - Natural Sciences books

Level 6 - Humanities and Social Sciences: Political Sciences, Anthropology, Archaeology, Languages, Art and Drama, Sport Sciences, Literature, and History books


Branch libraries house books on the following facets:



Medical Sciences

Veterinary Science and



Most books on language and literature are housed on the top floor of the main library (Level 6). Some exceptions are Ancient Languages and the Speech Pathology and CAAC books, which are on Level 1.


Check the location of the book(s) you are looking for before embarking on the journey of a thousand steps!!!

Shelf/call numbers

A book's shelf/call number consists of a classification number + the main entry, which could be the author's surname or the first word(s) of the title. Example: the book Contemporary world history / by William Duiker has been classified in the 900 main class for history, and is kept on Level 6, with shelf/call number 909.82 DUIKER

Shelf/call number = address of an item in the library and on the shelves.

Shelf/call number = [numerals + the word/words following it] - e.g.

       306.44 MCWHORTER, or 401 PINKER, or SP 616.85503 BEUKELMAN.

The first refers to a book written by John H. McWhorter, entitled The language hoax: why the world looks the same in any language. It is on the shelf among various other books on language and culture.

The second shelf number refers to a book written by Steven Pinker, entitled The language instinct: how the mind creates language. It is on the shelf among various other books on language, grammar and linguistics.

The third shelf number refers to a book written by David R Beukelman and Pat Mirenda, entitled Augmentative & alternative communication: supporting children and adults with complex communication needs. The shelf number refers numerically to the subject communcation pathology, and the prefix SP indicates that this is a book purchased for the Department of Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology.

Further identification of this book from others, is possible by looking at its date of publication (2013) and its edition statement (4th ed.). So, since we also have copies of earlier editions which would have the same shelf/call number, you also need to check the date of publication and edition details of the book.

Books in the same genre and by the same author may also have similar shelf numbers, such is the case with Shakespeare’s plays. His comedies are classified at 822.361, tragedies at 822.362, etc., and the shelf number is completed by the first word of the title followed by his surname. The shelf number for Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare is therefore 822.361 TWELFTH SHAKESPEARE, whereas his well-known tragedy Macbeth, is classified at 822.362 MACBETH SHAKESPEARE.

Prefixes to shelf/call numbers

Prefixes added to the shelf number indicate separate collections, for instance:

EDU = books in the Education library at Groenkloof [E.g. EDU 371.2 OWENS]

GV = Gereserveerde Versameling (Study collection or reserved collection) on Level 3 [E.g. GV 418.02 TOURY]

LAW = books in the Law library [E.g. LAW 382.9209 HISTORY]

MAM = books in the Mamelodi library [E.g. MAMRS 823.010896 GRANTA]

MED = books in the Medical sciences library [E.g. MED 610.14 CHABNER]

N = Naslaan (Reference collection - non-circulating collection) [E.g. N 820.8 NORTON]

OUV = Ou Versameling (Old collection) - the prefix is usually not relevant anymore, material having been interfiled in normal sequence [E.g. OUV 839.3625VAN STRATEN]

SP = books purchased for the Department of Communication Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology [E.g. SP 616.8553 KAMARA]. SPN as prefix indicates a reference work bought for this department.

VA, VB, VC, etc… = Volkekunde (Anthropology) collection A, B, C, etc. [E.g. VB 569.90968 HILTON-BARBER]

VET = books in the Veterinary science library [E.g. VET 636.0890014 COLVILLE]

ZA = Africana or Special Collections (separate collection of non-circulating material, on Level 5) [E.g. ZA 364.13230968 WA AFRIKA]

So - note down the entire shelf number, including the word(s) following the numerals, to find the exact location of the book on the shelf.

Reference books = books that may not be borrowed from the Library, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and thesauri. You will know a reference book by its shelf number: the book will have an N as prefix in front of the number. 

For Example:

Any books in the Open Collections may circulate - may be borrowed.

Limited circulation

GV = Gereserveerde Versameling (Study collection or reserved collection) on Level 3 [E.g. GV 418.02 TOURY]. Study collection books may be borrowed for 2 hours at a time, and must be returned on time to avoid hefty fines.

Non-circulating books

Books in certain collections mentioned under Shelf/Call Numbers elsewhere in this guide, do not circulate - may not be borrowed from the library. Examples are:

LAW = books in the Law library [E.g. LAW 382.9209 HISTORY]

N = Naslaan (Reference collection - non-circulating collection) [E.g. N 820.8 NORTON]

ZA = Africana or Special Collections: a separate collection of non-circulating material published in Southern Africa, on Level 5) [E.g. ZA 364.13230968 WA AFRIKA]

Please note: The Information specialist for a specific subject may give permission [to a post-graduate student or staff member] to borrow a reference work, or a hard copy of a journal, should he/she find that the request has merit.

GV / study collection books may only be checked out for 2 hours at a time. (The GV/Study Collection is located opposite the Minolta copy centre on the 3rd floor of the Main library, close to the entrance). Any queries may be directed to the GV staff members.

An example of a GV/Study Collection Book is the following:

If the book you are looking for has been checked out, you have the option of placing a hold on it. This means you choose to be notified via the email address the library has on file for you as soon as the book is checked back into the circulation system.

The following procedure applies: 

  • Find the record of the book you are looking for in the library system.
  • Specifically check Availability. You will see that the record reads "Checked Out. Due...."
  • If it is the only copy of the book available in our system, you will see a dark blue button allowing you to Place Hold. Click on it, log in, select location from which you want to pick up the book - and hold schedule if applicable - indicating by which date the hold request should expire if not yet filled.
  • [If there is more than one copy of the book, you will have to request the assistance of the circulation staff to place a hold on the copy you are looking for.]

If the book you are looking for is not on the shelf, the following procedure applies:

  • Check the shelves by looking back in the numerical sequence a shelf or two, and also looking forward in the numerical sequence...
  • Check that the book is not on the shelves along the wall among the books being reshelved, or on the trolleys by the study area or the reference section
  • Check that the book is not on display, for instance on the information specialist's new books table
  • Ask for assistance, it sometimes helps to have a second pair of eyes!

If you still can’t find the book, the person assisting you will ask you to complete and hand in a missing book form. Please provide us with the following details:

  • Your name and surname;
  • Your student/staff number;
  • Your email address;
  • Your phone number, and
  • Today's date

Fiction in the UP Libraries:

Since academic libraries mainly buy fiction titles as texts for literary study, we don't have an exhaustive collection of popular fiction books, yet there are some.

Fiction books are found at the 800's on the shelves on Level 6 of the Merensky 2 (main) library, classified according to the Dewey number for the original language in which they were originally written:


813 - American and Candian fiction in English [e.g. The fault in our stars / John Green 813.6 GREEN]

823 - English fiction [e.g. Bad seeds / Jassy Mackenzie 823.92 MACKENZIE]

833 - German fiction [e.g. Steppenwolf / Hermann Hesse 833.912 HESSE]

843 - French fiction [e.g. Soumission: roman / Michel Houellebecq 843.914 HOUELLEBECQ]

853 - Italian fiction [e.g. The solitude of prime numbers / Paolo Giordano 853.92 GIORDANO. Translated from Italian to English]

863 - Spanish fiction and Portuguese fiction [e.g. La sombra del viento / Carlos Ruiz Zafón 863.64 RUIZ ZAFóN]

896 - African Languages fiction [e.g. Ga se nna / M. P. Segale 896397753 SEGALE. Setswana fiction]

Some recommended fiction titles in the Merensky 2 Library

Staff favourites

To search for e-books, please search the library catalogue and then filter by 'University of Pretoria Libraries' (Held By Library) and then by 'eBook' (Format) on the left-hand side.

A list of e-book collections held by the University of Pretoria libraries may be found here.

To renew books electronically from anywhere, please follow the steps outlined below:

Go to the library homepage:

On the right under My Library Space, select Renew Library Items.

Type in your student/staff number (with a prefix letter “u”) and your Portal password.

Your library account will appear, showing the books you have out on loan.

Mark and renew items due to expire.

You may renew your books a maximum of six times (if there is no hold on an item).

Contact the Access and Lending unit if you require assistance.

Interlending is a service that can be used to obtain books and articles that are not available at the home library, from national and international libraries. If the item you need to get hold of is not in our library catalogue, available via our A-Z list of databases, to be found on Google or Google Scholaryou can request the item from another South African or international library.
Visit our FAQ section for more information on Interlending.

Please contact Interlending or your Information Specialist with any questions in this regard.

Request to purchase a title

Shelf numbers and Locations

Afrikaans Poetry = 839.361

Afrikaans Drama = 839.362

Afrikaans Fiction = 839.363

Afrikaans Short Stories = 839.363

Afrikaans Essays = 839.364

Dutch Poetry = 839.311

Dutch Drama = 839.312

Dutch Fiction = 839.313

Dutch Short Stories = 839.313

Reference Collection (non-circulating) - see page entitled Reference works


Translations are classified with the original language in which the title was written.

Example: Andre P. Brink's Afrikaans translation of Don Quixote (Don Quijote), originally written in Spanish by Miguel de Cervantes, is classified at 863.3 CERVANTES, for novels by this Spanish author, and not at 839.3635 BRINK for Brink's Afrikaans novels.

Afrikaans Language Grammar (Taalkunde) = 439.36

Dutch Grammar (for foreign language speakers) = 439.3182

How to search for a book