See below for some basic information to get you started: opening hours and admissions policy; registration; fire and first aid.

Opening hours and admissions policy

The main entrance to the Richard Powell Library is via the foyer of Garden Court, entering the Library on the Ground Floor. The floor above, one storey higher than the Ground Floor, is the First Floor.

Members of College are allowed access at all times in both full term and vacation, using their University ID card.
Readers are reminded not to admit non-members of Sidney to the Library. Surveillance cameras operate at all times.

Alumni, members of other Colleges within the University, and all external visitors, should apply for admission by contacting Library staff in advance.

The Library is staffed 8.30am - 1.00pm and 1.30pm - 5.00pm, Monday to Friday throughout term and vacation. The Library closes completely for three days over the Christmas period, and again over the New Year, when the College is closed, and access is not allowed. At any time, staffing may be affected by meetings, training courses, annual leave, sickness absence and other factors, so users who need to be certain of staff help, eg students with a crucial deadline or visitors making a special journey, are recommended to contact Library staff in advance.

Parts of the Library are accessible to wheelchair users at all times, and there is ramped access into the building. Users with special access needs are recommended to contact the Librarian in advance of their first visit. It may be possible to arrange full independent access to both floors of the Library for users with disabilities, but again this should be discussed in advance.


If you are not currently studying or working at Sidney, please contact the Librarian in advance. To borrow books from the Library you will normally need a University ID card or University Library card. New first-year undergraduate and postgraduate members of Sidney should find that their ID cards have been registered for borrowing before they arrive. Other Sidney members should present their card to a member of the Library staff for registration before borrowing books, send in their details by email to, or fill in a paper issue slip at the self-issue desk outside of staffed hours.

Fire and first aid

When the fire alarm sounds, please leave the Library immediately. The emergency exits are clearly marked and readers are asked to familiarise themselves with evacuation procedures. The fire muster point is the lawn in the angle between the Chapel and the Mong Hall.

A first aid kit is available in the Library Office during staffed hours for the treatment of minor injuries. Please take care when using ladders, steps and other equipment and report any accident which occurs in the Library to a member of staff.


The Library Regulations agreed by Council can be found here: Library Regulations.

We allow all forms of non-alcoholic drink in the Library as long as they are in a robust, firmly-lidded container which cannot possibly be spilled. As a thought experiment, imagine that someone else, while you are away from your study place for a moment, accidentally knocks over your drink and puts their bag down on it. If your drink container passes this virtual test, it is suitable for the Library.

Library guidelines

  • If you leave your belongings in the Library, whether clothing, books, papers, folders, binders or anything else, please mark them with your name or CRSid. If they get misplaced, it will then be much easier for us to reunite you with them.
  • Please do not take books, DVDs etc out of Cambridge during term, unless you have consulted Library staff. If you are leaving Cambridge during term, please do not lock books etc in your accommodation.
  • If you are using a laptop in the Computer Suite, please do not sit at a workstation, unless you are using that as well.