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Cambridge University Library and the Faculty and Departmental Libraries are now closed to the public. Please check our FAQs for information on how to access Library services during this time.

Cambridge University Library



Cambridge University Library and all our Departmental and Faculty Libraries are closed until further notice - but we are open to users online

We will update users about future developments via these pages, library websites, and social media accounts.

Q. Are the Libraries' electronic resources still available for registered University of Cambridge staff and students?

Although our physical buildings are closed until further notice, the University has access to 800,000 e-books, 120,000 e-journal titles and 400 databases. We have created this webpage which lists all the electronic services and support available to staff and students of the University.

In addition, the Cambridge Digital Library has more than 500,000 images of more than 35,000 objects from our world-class collections freely available to everyone.

If you need further help, please email: We will be making additional funds available to support teaching and learning, and working to make more of our resources available digitally where possible.

Q. Is the Medical Library open?

The Medical Library is on the Biomedical Campus. From March 23rd 2020, the Medical Library is open, though unstaffed, for clinical staff of the CUH only, 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. A virtual service, including answering enquiries and arranging virtual one-to-one or group training is still available, by emailing 

Q. Are the Library’s public events still taking place?

No. In the light of the Government's COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, we have cancelled events in our public programme until mid-April at the earliest (see We will continue to review the situation.

Q. I can’t visit the library but I need to return an overdue book. What should I do?

Most books now auto-renew. But if this is not the case, please renew the book online in the usual way if you can, or email We will help you. You will not face fines for late return of overdue books caused by the Libraries being closed, illness, caring responsibilities, or self-isolation. Please don't try to return books to the Library during the closed period. You will be able to return them once we reopen. For those who need to return books (for example you are leaving the country) and who are able, Cambridge University Libraries currently have a drop-off box on the Sidgwick Site where books can be returned during the Libraries' closure. This will be emptied regularly, but the books will not be processed until the libraries have reopened. The books will remain on your account until the libraries reopen; there will be no fines on these books, but you may receive reminder notices, which you can ignore. If the libraries have reopened and you still see the book on your account, please get in touch with the library

Q. I can’t visit the library but need help with a library enquiry. What should I do?

Please email your query to We will do our best to help you. Information on how to book a call or video chat with a librarian can be found here:

Q. How will I find out if the level of library services has to change in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The central point of information for staff and students will be the University's website: We will also update the library website and these FAQs as the situation changes and use social media to circulate messages.

Q. Will I get an answer to my online enquiry outside of normal library opening hours?

During this period of closure, our core hours of operation will be 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. We ask for users' understanding and patience as we move to new methods and systems of working remotely, with the possibility of fluctuating staff levels moving forward. We cannot guarantee to answer your question outside of these core operating hours, but we will reply to you as soon as we are able.

Q. How can I get help with Open Access, managing research data and/or the library’s support for the REF?

The Office of Scholarly Communication teams will continue to respond to emails.  Contact details are available at

Q. I’m a disabled library user and have a question or request, what should I do?

Please get in touch using the email address If you are a library user who needs resources in an accessible format we will do our best to continue to provide these wherever possible. We will prioritise services to support readers with disabilities.

Q. I have a document in a format that is not accessible to me, what should I do?

The SensusAccess service is designed to allow disabled students and staff at Cambridge (or those supporting them) to create accessible alternative formats of inaccessible digital documents. It is a free self-service facility. Click here to use SensusAccess to create an alternative format document.  

SensusAccess is easy to use, however an e-learning module is available that covers aspects such as converting tricky documents with SensusAccess and producing documents in DAISY and Braille:

Q. I am an external reader who paid for membership before the Libraries had to close. What happens to my membership?

When the Libraries open again, we will extend your membership free of charge to reflect the time lost to closure. You will need to visit the Registration Office in the University Library to have a new card printed. When the University Library is open again, we encourage you to make an appointment with Registration. When open, appointments can be made on +44 (0)1223 333030, and can be booked for the following times: 09:10-12:30 and 14:10-16:30 Monday-Friday, 9:10-12:30 and 14:00-15:30 on Saturdays.

The subscription terms we hold with eresource pulishers means that only current members of the University have access to them from home. Access to the Cambridge Digital Library and Apollo Repository are freely available to everyone.

Q. How do I keep track of all the books/AV material that I have borrowed?

Usually you would be able to do this in two ways:

1. Use your Library account which you will find in iDiscover - login at the top right of the screen. You can see when your items are due back. Remember you are highly likely to have auto renewals so books will just automatically renew for you, but if you ever get worried just contact your local library or ask via our Chat service which is available by pressing the orange help button on most pages.

2. The monthly 'borrowing' statement is sent out on the first day of every month. You will have had one on April 1st, 2020. However, at the moment these statements are probably not very helpful and so the next due on 1 May 2020 has been canceled. Once we are open we will reinstate this statement asap.