Members of the RLUK community share a profound sense of sadness at the impact of the terrible fire this weekend at the University of Cape Town, which has affected the Jagger Reading Room, which housed the African Studies Library and Special Collections.

We understand from statements issued by UCT that the library and campus teams continue to assess the damage. We have written on behalf of RLUK to Ujala Satgoor, Executive Librarian of UCT Libraries, to express our solidarity and to offer help, whether through direct or indirect mechanisms to help the library rebuild and recover.

A fire is what many of us fear most in our buildings, and the scenes were truly heart-breaking. RLUK members know what it means to be stewards and custodians of national heritage, and how devastating this is for the staff and students of UCT and for world scholarship.

While we wait to hear back from UCT, there is opportunity to help use our own archive and academic network to respond to the following call to recover digitised versions of documents from UCT. The report advises that the results of documents and information gathered will be collated by Dr Maha Rafi Atal, Copenhagen Business School, and passed to UCT.

We’ll share more when we know it, and stand ready to help in any way we can.