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Cambridge University Library


Ordering items in the West Room

Items which have the direction 'Order in West Room' in the catalogue or on the Finding List are fetched to the room by a member of staff upon completion of either an online Stack Request or a Fetching Slip.

We do not generally accept requests made by phone, letter or email. Occasional exceptions can be made for readers from outside Cambridge coming a long distance for a short time. Email requests should be sent to


Items will be fetched as quickly as possible, but delays may occur at certain times of day (especially 12:30–14:15 and 17:15–18:20). Generally fetching times fluctuate between 30 and 120 minutes, depending on demand. Orders submitted after 18:20 (16:00 on Saturdays) will be fetched on the next working day.

Once fetched, all items (other than newspapers in class NPR) are held under the reader's surname for collection at the staff desk. Items are held for the remainder of the day they are fetched and one full working day thereafter before being returned to the shelves. Newspapers in class NPR are fetched directly to the Newspaper Tables at the north end of the West Room where they will be available to consult for the remainder of the day they are fetched.

If you wish to order more than ten non-consecutive items at one time, please consult staff before placing your order.

Books and periodicals may not be removed from the West Room without permission.

Online ordering ('Stack Requests')

West Room books, but NOT periodicals, may be ordered via the catalogue. Please note that each volume in a multi-volume set must be ordered separately. The book, if available, will be held at the West Room desk for the remainder of the day on which it was fetched and the whole of the following working day.

If you have registered your e-mail with the Library, the system will automatically e-mail you when your request has been processed.

Order forms ('Fetching Slips')

Completed two-part West Room order forms should be left at the desk where an estimate of the current delivery time is displayed. (Only one item or consecutive items from a set or series may be ordered on a single form.) Please write clearly. No orders can be accepted after 18.20 (Saturdays, 16.15).

Books with the status 'Ask at Enquiry Desk' or 'At Bindery'

If the status of a book is ‘Ask at Enquiry Desk’, please see staff at the West Room desk. These books are awaiting repair but can be made available for consultation - they cannot be borrowed due to their damaged nature.

If the status of a book is ‘At Bindery', the book is in the process of being repaired and therefore not available.

Handling books and periodicals

Readers are reminded that all Library material should be handled with care. The use of a book-rest may be advisable, particularly with larger volumes. The marking of Library material, in any way, is strictly forbidden.


Readers wishing to reserve items for future use should complete a red Reservation Slip, available on all the tables, and leave the slip clearly visible in the item(s) to be reserved. The items will then be held on reserve for three working days.

Material fetched to and requested from the staff desk (other than newspapers in class NPR) must be returned to the desk, where it will be held on reserve behind the counter. Newspapers in class NPR may be reserved on the newspaper tables at the north end of the room; books from open areas of the Library can be reserved on any of the tables.

Items shelved in the West Room, including current issues of periodicals, may not be reserved


Generally speaking, items fetched to the West Room are not borrowable. However, we can make some exceptions for certain classes of reader with particular types of material. Please consult the West Room Superintendent to discuss any borrowing questions.

Transfer of material

Books and periodicals fetched to the West Room should be read in the West Room. However it is sometimes possible for the West Room Superintendent to arrange for the temporary transfer of West Room items to another specialist reading room (with the exception of the main Reading Room) for use in conjunction with material available only in that room.

Returning items to the shelves

Material fetched to and requested from the staff desk must be returned to the desk for reshelving.

Items from other locations in the Library that have been read in the West Room can be left in the Reading Room on the table marked 'Returned Books', adjacent to the 'Books Fetched Today' stand.

Photocopying, etc.

No item fetched to the West Room may be photocopied without first consulting staff. Permission to photocopy may be refused if the item is considered to be at risk of damage.

The West Room has two self-service photocopiers which are primarily for photocopying West Room material and may only be used with the permission of the staff.

Information and advice concerning reproductions from all types of material can be obtained at the staff desk, particularly in relation to fragile, large or elderly items. Details of all reproduction services offered by the Library are available on the Imaging and licensing services webpages.

Copying of copyright material is subject to the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Self-service photography

Readers may use their own cameras to take still photographs of authorised material at designated tables in the West Room.

To obtain permission, you must ask staff at the desk to assess the condition of all items and their suitability for self-service photography; some materials may be unsuitable for copying because of their format or fragility.

Photographs may be taken for non-commercial research or private study only.

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 see our full guidelines for further information.

IT Provision

The West Room is equipped with Managed Cluster Service PC's located on the first and second tables to the left of the staff desk. These PCs provide access to electronic resources, the internet, Microsoft Office applications and printing. A Desktop Services Account is required to access these computers.

Wireless internet access

The West Room is a wireless hotspot. Members of the University of Cambridge can log in with their Raven password, issued by University Information Services. Visitors will need to apply for a UniOfCam wifi ticket at the staff desk in the main Reading Room.

Neither West Room staff nor members of the Library's Digital Services Department are able to assist with wireless configuration issues.


Laptops may be used on any of the tables equipped with sockets mounted in wooden blocks on the table surface. The two tables at the far south end of the West Room are a laptop-free zone.


Enquiries concerning books or periodicals fetched to the West Room and other aspects of the Library's work, policy and procedures relating to West Room material may be made at any time. If the question cannot be answered immediately, an appropriate specialist can often be found to provide further assistance.

Enquiries are welcome in person, by telephone or by email.

Inter-Library Loans

Requests for material on Inter-Library Loan should be made in the West Room. Once available, requested materials can be collected from the West Room desk and must be consulted in the West Room.

For further information, see Inter-Library Loans.

Microform Reading Room

The Microform Reading Room is located at the south end of the West Room.

For further information, see Microform Reading Room.