In September 2011, the Hiddingh Hall Library celebrated its centenary with an Open Day and an exhibit of archival images and documents pertaining to the history of the library. A comprehensive history of the library, compiled by Tanya Barben (Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian) can be found here. Whilst the foundation stone of Hiddingh Hall was laid in 1910, the completion and official opening of the library took place on 29th September 1911. The foundation stone, which can be seen in the foyer of Hiddingh Hall, has recently been restored. The building was funded by the bequest of Dr W. Hiddingh in 1911, and its ground floor became the home of the College Library, at first under the librarianship of Professor Logeman. (1) A selection of digital prints of the original plans of the building will be displayed in the library. Twenty plans in total, from the offices of the famous architect Herbert Baker, are housed by Manuscripts & Archives in the Baker Collection.

The library underwent a number of changes over the years, both to its collections and the building itself. After the appointment of Mr R.F.M. Immelman as University Librarian in 1940, a number of donations allowed for new staff and stock but also necessitated the addition of a wing to the Hiddingh Hall Library. (1) Paul Weinberg (Senior Curator, Visual Archives) and Janine Dunlop (Librarian, Digital Initiatives Unit) have been instrumental in the digitization of these precious archival resources. A set of digitized photographs of the library from the past century will also be on show. Originally housing the entire library collection of the South African College, the library today is a specialist library of Fine Art and Drama related resources (books, journals, theses and portfolios). As well as this rich set of holdings, the Library displays a number of works made by staff members and other Michaelis affiliates for the Curiosity CLXXV exhibition as well other works form the Works of Art and Hans Porer Loan Collections, including photographs by Guy Tillim, prints by Malcolm Payne and Pippa Skotnes and paintings by Marion Arnold.

The Hiddingh Hall library staff is made up, at present, of Caitlin Miller, Kashiefa Shade Lucas, Peter Vries and Solvej Vorster

The Open Day took place on Thursday 29th September 2011.

Reference: (1) Barben, Tanya The Sapling that grew into a Tree: 100 years of the University of Cape Town Libraries (2005).