Conference Proceeding: The End of an Era: The Jewish Studies Library at the University of Cape Town

The protest movements “Rhodes Must Fall” initiated at the University of Cape Town in March 2015 and its outgrowth “Fees Must Fall” caused widespread unrest at universities throughout South Africa. With the resultant introduction of austerity measures, the Jewish Studies Library, whose hours of opening had already been reduced in 2006 and the librarian’s post downgraded in 2013, was now threatened with closure and the transfer of the books into the Main Library. Unfortunately, these developments coincided with the resignation of the Jewish Studies Librarian who will not be replaced. This paper will consider the factors leading to this development and the implications of this move for the collection, for the status of the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research, and for the future of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the University of Cape Town.