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Libraries and information services
Johannesburg's public libraries are hubs of education, giving residents access to books, magazines and audio-visual materials.
Besides lending out material, the City’s libraries offer a wide-range of other services including literacy classes, storytelling
sessions for youngsters, classroom support, gatherings for older residents and literary competitions.
They are also the venues for lectures, exhibitions, and talks. Libraries can be found across the City’s seven regions, and mobile satellite centres also travel to far-flung areas.

The main library – the Johannesburg Public Library – is based in the city centre, in Market Street. It has over 1.5-million books in its collection and more than 250 000 members. 

Also on the premises are a number of specialist libraries:
  • Central Reference Library
  • Children’s Library
  • Michaelis Art Library
  • Multimedia Library
  • Music Library
  • Harold Strange Library of African Studies
  • Newspaper Reading Room
Cybase centre Young Adults' Reference Library The Central Lending Library is open from Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm, and on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm

The Reference Library's hours are from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, and from
9am to 1pm on Saturdays. Apart from the main library in the centre of the city, there are many other libraries in the suburbs. There is also an Urban Resource Centre (previously the  Local Government Library) located on the 12th floor of the Metro Centre in Braamfontein. 

Joining a library
All residents are welcome to join their local library. You need to present your identity book, with proof of residence. Children will also need to show their birth certificates.
Cards will be issued by the libraries. Those applying for the first time will have to wait for five working days for their documents to be processed. For those wishing to take four or less books at any one time, membership is free. For those wanting to take more than four books, it will cost R30 per year for membership. Find out more about the City’s library and information services

Library and information
The core business of library and information services includes:​​
  • Collection ,development and management (including bibliographic management)
  • Provision of safe and free library facilities for reading and learning
  • Provision of free and guided access to knowledge and information (including online access to library and other information resources)
  • Development, promotion and maintenance of a reading culture through the delivering of programmes
Ongoing research, planning, monitoring and evaluation to improve service delivery
The library and information services also offer a satellite library service to those communities with no access to a library service. The aim of the service is to increase and promote access to library services by providing suitable loan collections of books at designated areas. While the emphasis is on the elderly and the youth, this is not exclusive and other communities, for example, prisons are also serviced by satellite services. 
  • Strategic outcomes
  • Strategic objective
  • Programmes and projects
  • Ready to Read: early childhood reading development programme
  • Battle of the Books: primary schools’ reading development programme
  • The Story Skirmish
  • Joburg Libraries Psyched for Science
  • JoLife – the Johannesburg Literary Festival
​​Strategic Outcome 
Library and information services
is responsible for delivering library and information services to the residents of the City of Johannesburg. It plays a key-role in conforming to the developmental role of the City and contributes to the reading, learning and skills development of all its residents and has positioned itself to address the social, economic and cultural challenges facing the City’s communities.

In this regard, library and information services have​ identified the following medium to long-term outcomes:

  • Library resources and services which include the provision of relevant information, lending and reference services, collection and facilities development and management and electronic information services
  • Provision of literacy/numeracy
  • facilities and services with computer-based training programmes
  • Early Childhood Development facilities and services where reading promotion programmes (Ready to Read) and family literacy programmes are prioritised.
  • Educational support services, such as science and technology awareness projects and campaigns (Psyched for Science) and school project support services and facilities as well as reading development programmes (Battle of the Books and Story Skirmish)
  • Youth empowerment and life skills facilities through the development and implementation of career guidance services, reading development programmes and projects that support livelihood efforts (Business Information Centres)​
​​Strategic objective
The aim of libraries and information services is to provide access and exposure so that a culture of reading and learning is promoted. Literacy is something that has a positive effect throughout South African society and has been identified as being of particular importance. Children have been earmarked for special attention. The aim is to have comprehensive children’s services in all libraries in disadvantaged areas ​
​​Libraries and information s​ervices