skip to content


This page provides further information on using and accessing the collections within the Map Department, including the processes for ordering, fetching, reserving and handling the material.

Information on the imaging and copying of map material can be found here. To find out more about the material we hold please see our collections page.

Before visiting the Map Room please note our opening times and Saturday closure.

Map Room

All items held within the Map Department are consulted in the Map Room (find us on the Library Floorplan). The Room has specially designed tables and benches upon which it is possible to view even our largest items. It also houses our card catalogue and Ordnance Survey Map Data PC. Staff are always on hand to help access our collections for both first time and experienced users.

The Map Room has been in the same location in the University Library since the building was opened in 1934 although it underwent significant renovation and improvement during 2007-2008. 

Map Catalogues

For a comprehensive search of the Map Department's holdings it is necessary to search both the Map Department's card catalogueiDiscover (the Library's online catalogue) and ArchiveSearch (the University's archive catalogue). For more information also see our Finding Maps page.

Ordering and Fetching

Aside from a small reference collection in the Map Room all material has to be fetched on request from closed stacks. To order material a form must be completed for each item required and handed to a member of staff in the Map Room. Orders may be submitted at any time, however, those submitted within 20 minutes of the time of closing will not usually be available until the following day. 

Readers must show a valid Reader’s Card or University Card when submitting order forms.

All items can normally be fetched in under 10 minutes (remember that we are closed between 12:45 and 14:00, in the evenings and on Saturdays). If not immediately consulted fetched items are kept for three days before being sent back to the shelf.

When collecting their order, readers must sign a receipt for each item on the appropriate part of the order form. Readers are held responsible for all items fetched until they have been returned to a member of staff. On return the member of staff will check the items against the signed receipts, which will then be given back to the reader.

Readers who wish to reserve items for their further use must hand them to a member of the Map Department staff with a completed reservation slip validly dated. Unless prior arrangement is made, items may not be reserved for more than three days.

Imaging and Copying

See more details.

Laptops and wireless networking

Readers may use laptops and other connected devices in the Map Room at any desk. Plug sockets are provided in all the desks and benches.

Access to the wireless networks UniOfCam-Guest and eduroam are available in the Room. 

Transfer of material

Items may not be removed from the Map Room without permission. It is possible to make arrangements, on application to a member of the staff in the Map Room at least 20 minutes prior to the time of closing, for the transfer of most material to the Munby Rare Books Room for use there after the Map Room closes. Please note that it may not be possible to consult some of the largest items in the collection outside of the Map Room due to their size.


Borrowing of certain books and atlases is permitted by readers with existing borrowing rights subject to special procedures. Applications to borrow must be made to a member of staff in the Map Room at least 20 minutes prior to the time of closing. Sheet maps may not be borrowed.


Readers are very welcome to recommend items they think we should acquire. Please contact us directly providing as much information as possible. For some categories of material there are also online recommendation forms 

Handling of items

Readers are reminded that all Map Department items should be handled with the greatest of care. Book-rests are available and should be used, particularly with large volumes. Open volumes should not be placed on top of one another and should not be leant upon. Maps must be laid flat on work surfaces and should not be folded or creased. Transparent acetate sheets are available to be placed over maps and atlas pages if intensive examination is anticipated. Staff will advise on the appropriate handling of some items. 

See also the handling guidelines

For hand written note making only pencils may be used in the Map Room.

Items for Sale

The Department has a small collection of locally produced maps that are available to buy in the Map Room. Please note that the maps are only available for sale during normal opening times and to access the Map Room you will need a valid Library card for the University Library.


Map Room Refurbishment

The Map Room - the Map Department's reading room - was refurbished in 2007-2008.

Image credit: extract from Maps.c.72.93.10

Opening Times

Map Room Opening Times

Monday to Thursday 9am to 12:45pm and 2pm to 5:10pm
Friday 9am to 12:45pm and 2pm to 4:50pm 

i.e., we are closed lunch time, in the evenings and on Saturdays. However, given sufficient notice, we may be able to transfer Map Department items to the Rare Books Reading Room for consultation during these closed periods. 

Remember: Pencils only in the Map Room and No food or drink!

Where to Find Us

Library Floorplan

The Map Room - the Map Department's Reading Room - is on the first floor of the Library at the far end of the North Gallery. At the top of the stairs from the Library's Entrance Hall, turn right and the Map Room is at the end of the corridor. 

We are very close to the Tea Room.

Contact us

Map Department 
Cambridge University Library 
West Road 
CB3 9DR 


+44 (0) 1223 333041
+44 (0) 1223 333042
Our LibGuide may help with some enquiries