Cambridge University Library


The staff at the desk will be happy to help readers with any enquiries or information concerning the services that are available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Photocopying and Reprographics
Photocopying can be carried out by Library staff, provided the material is of a suitable condition and is not covered by restrictions.  We are able to photocopy up to 20 pages. Orders of greater quantity will have to be scanned by the Library's Digital Content Unit department. Completed orders can be collected and paid for in the Manuscripts Reading Room.  Certain kinds of material, such as medieval manuscripts and most bound volumes, are not acceptable for such copying because of the risk of damage to the original. In such cases our staff can advise on an alternative method of reproduction which can be carried out by the Library’s Digital Content Unit department.

Self-service photography in Maps, Manuscripts and Rare Books Reading Rooms.
Readers may use their own cameras to take still photographs of material in the Manuscripts, Maps and Rare Books Reading Rooms. If you wish to take your own photographs you must first speak to staff on the desk and read the information sheets on self-service photography and copyright provided. Photographs may be taken for non-commercial research or private study only. Photography in other areas of the Library is not permitted.

Cameras and camera phones must be hand-held, and must be capable of being set to 'silent'. SLRs, tripods, 'mini-pods', hand-held scanners and flash photography are not permitted. Please note also that some collections are subject to restrictions and may not be photographed; staff will provide guidance on this.

Please see our full guidelines for further information.

Ultraviolet Light
An ultraviolet lamp and a cold light source are available. Anyone wishing to use this equipment should apply at the Staff Desk. The staff will advise on correct operation.

Reference Books
The shelves in the Manuscripts Reading Room contain published reference works (classes A100-A328, A350-A 356, A420-A434, A460-A480 and A542-A690) relating to manuscripts in Cambridge and elsewhere. They are not to be removed from the room, though they can be transferred to other reading rooms for use with material which can only be consulted there. Please note that CD ROMs from catalogues are accessed in the Microform Reading Room.

PCs in the Manuscripts Reading Room give access to numerous online and CD resources relating to manuscripts and dissertations, including the National Inventory of Documentary Sources, Dissertations Abstracts International and Index to Theses Online. They also provide links to useful homepages, such as those of the Historical Manuscripts Commission (including the National Register of Archives), the National Archives (including the Access to Archives initiative) and the Archives Hub. The online catalogue to Cambridge dissertations from 1970 up to the present is also available on a terminal in the Room.

The Lapwing wireless network is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.  Please see the Library’s IT pages for further details.