Betty and Gordon Moore Library

Historical and background information


Opened in October 2001, the Moore Library is part of Cambridge University Library. Its construction was made possible by the gift of £7.5 million by Dr Gordon E. Moore (the founder and chairman emeritus of Intel Corporation) and his wife Betty.

The Moore Library holds the University Library's working collections in mathematics, physics, astronomy, computer science, materials science, and engineering, including relevant material received under Legal Deposit Legislation. Around 9,000 metres of open access shelving on four floors provide capacity for approximately 190,000 volumes.

The Library is governed by the Science Libraries Sub-syndicate of the Library Syndicate.


Betty and Gordon Moore Library

The building was designed by Edward Cullinan Architects, an income sharing co-operative of architects who design within the developing formal tradition of modern architecture whilst responding to the demands of site, sustainability and environment. Although the Library is a freestanding building with its own character, it is also an element within the architect's plan for the Centre for Mathematical Sciences site as a whole.

The circular design is reminiscent of the library designed by Thomas Jefferson at the University of Virginia in 1817. Jefferson believed the layout liberating and conducive to both private study and the cross fertilization of ideas. Revisited for the 21st century, the design provides space, light, flexibility in use, and environmentally sensitive natural ventilation and cooling.

The colour scheme of the library was inspired by the painting Cantus Firmus by Bridget Riley (b. 1931). Chairs in the new acquisitions area, the curved sofas, and folding tables in study rooms and offices are designed by Eileen Gray (1878-1976).

Facts and figures

Gross internal floor area 3320 square metres
Length of shelving 9000 linear metres
Reader spaces 265
Computer workstations 16 (plus wireless access)
Current periodicals 1,100 titles
Current stock 51,000 monographs, 72,000 journal volumes
Book budget c. £18,000
Designed by Edward Cullinan Architects
Main construction contractors     Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd
Construction timescale February 2000 - July 2001