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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.

Ordering images
It is possible for our Cultural Heritage Imaging Laboratory to make copies of manuscripts and archives, depending on the physical nature of the material. Details for their services are available on their web pages.  There also is an online order form.

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.  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
Ultraviolet lamps, a cold light source and light sheets for viewing watermarks 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 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. Some reference works are kept in store but can be fetched to the room. Please ask at the Staff Desk if you cannot find the reference works you need.

PCs in the Manuscripts Reading Room give access to numerous resources relating to manuscripts and dissertations, including various online catalogues.  

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

Microfilms and Microfiches
The Manuscripts Department holds many manuscript collections on microfilm and microfiche which can be read on machines in the reading room.

Opening hours

Monday - Friday: 9:30am to 6.50pm (operating in the Manuscripts Room from 5.00pm)

Saturday: 9:30am to 4.30pm, operating in the Manuscripts Reading Room

Sunday: closed

Contact us

Archives and Modern Manuscripts Department
Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR


Phone: 01223 333143