Cambridge University Library

Rare Books

New exhibition: over fifty of the Library's incunabula are on display in a new exhibition on the use and abuse of books 1450-1550, with a virtual exhibition online.

Official Publications move to Rare Books Read more here...

Restricted fetching on 14-20 April Read more here...

The Rare Book collections of Cambridge University Library cover all subjects of study and include material from the first European printing presses in the fifteenth century up to the present day, and publications from all parts of the world. The Department is responsible for most of the older printed material in the Library, as well as more recent publications which require special care or which have interesting provenances. Information on particular rare book collections can be found in the Collections Directory.

The collections are read in the Munby Rare Books Room. For a brief guide to using the room, see our Reader Guidelines. Readers intending to use the Library for the first time should contact the Admissions Office for further information and an appointment.

In addition to our own classes, several other collections within the Library are consulted in the Munby Rare Books Room;

Restricted fetching

Owing to building work taking place on the mornings of 14, 15, 16, 17 and 20 April, there will be a very restricted fetching service between 9am and 2pm. We strongly recommend that you contact the department to request books in advance of your visit on these dates, or request books in person the day before you require them for use the following morning. Please email rarebooks@lib.cam.ac.uk or telephone (01223) 333117 or (01223) 333122 for further information. We apologise for the inconvenience this will cause.

catalogue coverNew publication: Members of the Rare Books department have edited and contributed to a new Library publication, Emprynted in thys manere: Early printed treasures from Cambridge University Library. Published in parallel with the Private lives of print exhibition, it comprises essays by 60 contributors.. Copies can be purchased from the University Library Reader Services Desk, or from the University's online sales service.