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Using other libraries

Other libraries in Cambridge

Details and contacts for all the libraries associated with the University are to be found in the Cambridge Libraries Directory and the Map of Libraries.

All University members may use their own College Library and Faculty/Departmental Library, as well as the University Library. Using the University's iDiscover and Newton catalogues it is possible to locate materials held by other libraries in Cambridge. Students must, however, apply to these other libraries individually to arrange to use the materials, as each library has its own rules. Joining one Cambridge library does not automatically make you a member of all of them. In particular, students may not visit another college library unless they have permission to do so in advance from that college's librarian. You will not normally be allowed to borrow material from any other college library, but may be permitted to consult works under supervision, and /or make photocopies within normal legal limits. 

Cambridge University Library

The University Library provides access to a vast array of resources.  It is a legal deposit library, meaning that it is entitled to claim a copy of every publication in printed form published in the UK and Ireland. It also holds extensive collections of overseas books, journals, maps, photographs and music and has extensive special collections of rare books, manuscripts, and other materials. It also subscribes, and provides access, to a vast array of electronic resources for all members of the University, although users may need a Raven password to access these, particularly if they are connecting from outside Cambridge.

Libraries beyond Cambridge

Students who wish to use another university library in or near their home town during the Summer Vacation should first consult the SCONUL Summer Vacation Access web page for details on which libraries provide access. Read that page carefully, since although Cambridge is a member of SCONUL [checked with UL 18 July 2016], it does not participate in the year-round "SCONUL Access Scheme", and if your host believes you are applying for that, you will almost certainly be turned away. Please contact Sidney or departmental library staff, or your DoS or Tutor, for a note confirming that you are studying here and take that note, along with something official with your name and your home address on it, to the library where you want to study. Check with that library exactly what identification documents they require. Please do not expect borrowing rights.

Remember that your local public library should have access to a fully-fledged inter-library-loan scheme, including academic titles, even if it has hardly any such titles on the shelves. The larger the library, the more likely they are to be familiar with the scheme, and there will almost certainly be a charge per request. Do consult us if you are thinking of making such requests, as we may just possibly still be able to help you, even if you are far from Cambridge.