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Cambridge University Library


Cambridge University Library (the UL) is one of the world’s oldest university libraries – and home to one of the world’s great collections of cultural treasures and research materials.

Since its first recorded beginnings in 1416, as a small chest of manuscripts for Cambridge scholars, the Library is now home to a physical collection of nearly ten million books, maps, manuscripts, photographs and priceless objects, spanning thousands of years of human thought and discovery – in more than 2,000 languages.

Across 17 floors of books and more than 130 miles of shelving, as well as a purpose-built store in nearby Ely, we curate and care for a globally important collection which illuminates the immortal power of storytelling, and humankind’s unending quest to better understand our place in the universe.

Cambridge University Library preserves and shares the world’s knowledge in physical and digital forms: from a 4,200-year-old Sumerian clay tablet, to 19th and 20th century posters demanding suffrage and equal rights for women. Alongside the archives of Newton, Darwin and Hawking – and some of the world’s earliest fragments of the Quran – is one of the most comprehensive collections of British books anywhere in the world.

As one of the UK and Ireland’s six Legal Deposit Libraries, Cambridge University Library has been entitled to request every publication in both the UK and Ireland since 1710. In addition to its physical collections, the UL allows access to tens of millions of electronic articles, books, journals, scores and other e-resources.

In this section you will find information about the governance of the Library.  Further information is available on ways of supporting the Library. You will also find links to the scholarships and prizes associated with the Library.

Friends of the Library. Do you love the Library? Become a Friend for exclusive access and help safeguard the Library’s past, present and future.

Library Governance. Here you find information on the way the Library’s governance is organised, its role and responsibilities.  Annual reports are made publically available here, and minutes of the Library Syndicate (these are only accessible to members of the University of Cambridge with a Raven account).