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The Jan Smuts House Library of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) is a special research reference information centre that houses material on international relations, politics, economics and other related global issues. It has an extensive collection of journals and well-stocked reference and bibliographical shelves. The library came into being in 1934 when SAIIA was established, and serves researchers, academics, business people, SAIIA members, students and the general public. It is a unique depository library of the United Nations, and the World Bank’s Development Information Centre (the only one of its kind in South Africa). The Centre is a one-stop access point to the latest knowledge and information on development worldwide.

An in-house database comprises information from periodical articles, searchable by subject. This reference tool, compiled over many years, has proved invaluable to students, researchers and librarians. As one of the few libraries in South Africa enjoying UN depository status, the Jan Smuts House Library has been able to build up a collection of United Nations periodicals, official records, conference proceedings, books and treaties.

The library also houses directories and indexes to facilitate information retrieval of United Nations documentation and reference works such as the United Nations Yearbooks, and a host of statistical data contained in the various specialised statistical yearbooks and periodicals. A separate but smaller collection is the documentation of the League of Nations, which, although not complete, contains useful information on the activities and decisions of the League during the period 1919 to the late 1930s.

In addition, the library has housed the Martin Edmonds Collection since 2004, which has more than 2,500 books on security-related issues. This collection was donated to SAIIA by Professor Martin Edmonds, Director of the Centre for Defence and International Security Studies at Lancaster University, on his retirement.

The Jan Smuts House Library is a Reference Library, and its material can only be consulted in the library and is not available on loan.

Africa Portal

The Africa e-Portal (  is an undertaking by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Canada and SAIIA. It offers open access to a suite of features aimed to equip users with research and information on Africa’s current policy issues. The Africa Portal’s online library is made up of more than 5 000 policy briefs, discussion papers and reports. A unique aspect of the Africa Portal is that a number of its documents have been digitized for the first time.

Library hours:
Monday - Friday: 09:00 - 13:00; 14:00 - 17:00

Contact Information:
Tel.:  +27 11 339 2021 (Ext. 157, 167 or 129)
Fax: +27 11 339 2154