The University of Dar es Salaam was first established in 1961 as an affiliate college of the University of London.  In 1963 it became a constituent college of the University of East Africa and in August 1970, by an Act of Parliament, it became the University of Dar es Salaam.  The Faculty of Law was the first to be established followed later by other faculties until UDSM became a full-fledged university with its own library services and facilities.  The library was designed to carter for teaching and learning information needs and demands of different faculties and institutes.

The UDSM has expanded not only in terms of academic and research programmes but also student enrolments.  For example, student enrolment rose from 2,000 in the 1980’s to almost 10,000 in 2003.  Since then the need for expanded library services, resources and facilities (both print and electronic) as well as space demand for reading, shelving, ICT facilities and peripherals including office space have been felt.

In response to the changes that are taking place, the University Library introduced a number of measures.  These include:  subscription of full text electronic journals and bibliographic databases, creation of Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) for the entire campus resources and reorganization of the library along subject specialization.  Other measures taken are the introduction of a rigorous user training programme in literacy skills, expansion of the physical facilities, computerization of in-house activities, cataloguing, circulation etc.  Just to mention a few.