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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;
- Books from the Near and Middle Eastern and South Asian, Tibetan and Southeast Asian collections printed before 1900
- Pre-1900 Bible Society books are ordered in the Anderson Room but read in Rare Books.
- Books, pamphlets and periodicals from the Royal Commonwealth Society (but not official publications)
New 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.
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