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Picture credit: Kullar Bridge, Nilgiri Railway, 1897. Photographer: Philip Boesinger (Y3022TTTT/7)


New readers, and those needing to renew their Cambridge University Library card, should contact the Library’s Reader Registration Office

Email: or phone: +44 1223 333030 in advance of a planned visit for information about admission to the Library and to book an appointment to obtain a card. Further details and an online application form are available on the joining the library pages.


  • Researchers wishing to consult photographs, manuscripts or archival collections within the RCS Library, should request library tickets allowing them access to the Manuscripts Reading Room, and will need to specify the collections they wish to consult when applying online for Library membership.
  • Those wishing to consult printed books, pamphlets, official publications or periodicals should request a ticket that gives access to the Rare Books Room.
  • If in doubt, please contact the Smuts Librarian (email: before contacting Reader Registration.

In addition, to avoid disappointment, readers wishing to consult a particular archive or manuscript are advised to contact the Smuts Librarian in writing or by email (, giving as much notice as possible. Some collections have yet to be catalogued online, or in any detail, and it can therefore be difficult for a reading room to ascertain quickly the location of items within some collections.