skip to content

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 catalogue 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 many books published outside that area, journals, maps, photographs and music and has extensive special collections of rare books, manuscripts, and other materials. In addition it 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, 8 June 2018], it does not participate in the year-round "SCONUL Access Scheme", and if your target library believes you are applying for that, you will almost certainly be turned away.

Check in advance with your target library exactly what identification documents they require, and what access it is their policy to grant. Please do not expect borrowing rights. They may require more evidence than your University card, so you may need to contact Sidney or departmental library staff, or your DoS or Tutor, for a letter confirming that you are studying here. You may also need to present other identification documents - do please check in advance to avoid disappointment and a wasted journey.

Remember that your local public library should have access to a fully-fledged inter-library loan service, 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 service, 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.