University of Calabar was one of the seven universities established in 1975 by the Federal Military Government of Nigeria, as part of its 3rd National Development Plan.
The university grew out of the Calabar Campus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) which began functioning as such in the 1973/74 session. In October, 1976, when the newly established university became autonomous, it inherited over 3,000 volumes of books and skeletal staff from the defunct Calabar Campus of the UNN.
These formed the nucleus of the university of Calabar Library which assumed full status as a University Library and has been operating in that capacity ever since. As a central element in the university's educational role, the library supports and facilitates the achievement of programmes offered in the faculties, institutes and colleges through the provision of books, journals and other information resources for teaching, learning and research.
With a starting collection of 3000 volumes, including 756 volumes of reference and monographic holdings in 1976, the university of Calabar library has been developing over the years. By 1986, the library had acquired a total of 90,917 volumes with over 2,912 journal titles on subscription.
As at December 2011, the library's total holdings compromised of 150,000 volumes of books, over 9000 volumes of bound and 14,322 current journals as well as 4,400 titles of monographic and other serials holdings to support the academic and research work in the university.
The internal governance of the University Of Calabar library revolves around the current University Liberian, while the departmental governance of the library is largely along functional lines. It includes such divisions as General Administration, Resources Development, Processing, Readers' Services, Reference and Bibliographic Services, Research Services, Africana and Government Publications as well as Systems Development Division.
The total staff strength of the library as at December, 2011 is two hundred and thirteen (213), comprising of the following:
- Academic Liberians - 12
- Library Officers - 56
- Administrative Staff - 58
- Junior Staff - 87
The library's skilled and dedicated staff members continue to acquire, catalog, preserves and provide access to the institutions' collection. Services rendered by the library includes: lending, reference, user education, current awareness/selective dissemination of information, display of newly acquired materials and information technology (IT) services.