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Library user browsing shelves on South Front

You are welcome to access the University Library’s modern collections 09:00-21:45 Monday-Friday and 09:00-16:30 Saturday. 

During Easter Term, the UL remains open until 22:00, Monday-Friday. You can access the open stacks until 19:00. Some fetching of material is available until 21:30 – make sure you check ahead that the items you need can be made available in good time.

Please make sure you are registered and your card is in date before coming to the Library; you will not be able to register in person on the day.

The best way to start exploring our collections is via the iDiscover catalogue, and you can do this ahead of your visit. When you find the item you want to read, the catalogue will give you details of how to access it. You may be directed to the open shelves, or the catalogue may guide you through the process of ordering the book to a particular location in the library.

This page explains more about the different ways to access our modern collections, including what will appear on the iDiscover catalogue.  

 

Browse the open shelves

During your visit you are welcome to explore the following collections on the open stacks: look for books housed in North Front, North Wing, South Front, South Wing, the Anderson Room and Aoi Pavilion (with the exception of the Aoi Basement).

You are welcome to study in the open stacks – why not discover your ideal study space at the UL? 


'Order to the Reader Services Desk': borrow modern material that is not accessible on the open shelves

Some borrowable items in our modern collections are stored at the UL in areas that aren’t open to readers. These items appear on iDiscover with the instruction to ‘Order to Reader Services Desk, main entrance, Ground Floor’  

To access these items:

  1. Log in to iDiscover, and place your order online for this material. Items may take several hours to arrive, although you can place your order on the day. 
  2. When the item is available for you, you will receive an email letting you know you can collect it from the Reader Services Desk in the Entrance Hall.

A small number of borrowable classes aren't orderable online and you won’t see a request link once you have logged in. In this case, submit a paper slip at the Reader Services Desk.


'Order to Main Reading Room Modern Collections Desk': consult non-borrowable modern material in the Main Reading Room

Some items in our modern collections can’t be borrowed - these items appear on iDiscover with the instruction to ‘Order to Main Reading Room Modern Collections Desk’ (you may previously have ordered this type of material to the West Room). 

To access these items:

  1. Log in to iDiscover, and place your order online for this material. Items may take several hours to arrive, although you can place your order on the day.
  2. When the item is available for you, you will receive an email asking you to collect it from the Modern Collections Desk on the south side of the Reading Room.
  3. Once you have picked up your ordered book you can consult it at the desks within the 'Modern Collections' area of the room. 

This material can't be taken out of the Reading Room.

A small number of classes aren't orderable online and you won’t see a request link once you have logged in. In this case, submit a paper slip at the Modern Collections Desk in the Main Reading Room.

There are Reference-only items in several Reading Rooms in the building. iDiscover will direct you to the relevant room, or will instruct you on how to order this material.    

If you would like further information or advice on consulting non-borrowable modern material, please email reference@lib.cam.ac.uk.


Consult electronic legal deposit

Four terminals are available in the Main Reading Room to enable you to access electronic legal deposit material.


Collect inter-library loans

Inter-library loans are ordered through an online form. You will receive an email when your loan is available to consult in the Main Reading Room. Collect the loan from the Modern Collections Desk, Main Reading Room.


Borrow and return books

If your membership allows it, you can borrow books at the Reader Services Desk in the Entrance Hall.

Check how many books you can borrow on our membership pages.

Books can be returned to the drop box outside the University Library.

For further information, please explore the LibGuide, Borrowing from Cambridge Libraries.


 

What do I need to know before I arrive?

If you require assistance with any aspect of your visit, please email readerservices@lib.cam.ac.uk and we will be pleased to help you. 

  • iDiscover terminals to look up the classmarks of the material you are interested in are available, but you may wish to look these up ahead of your visit, or bring a mobile device with you. 
  • You may find it helpful to prepare in advance for your visit; check out this Library floorplan and familiarise yourself with the UL classmark system with this short video.
  • If you are disabled and need assistance in collecting the items you need, please email disability@lib.cam.ac.uk. Please be aware that the open stacks are narrow in places and may be difficult to navigate. In the event of a fire, lifts may not be available.
  • Please read our current guidance on Staying safe ahead of your trip. 

 

What services will be available?

You will be able to:

  • consult items on the open shelves
  • ask staff for help
  • use the toilets. Washroom facilities are open with enhanced cleaning procedures
  • use the photocopiers. Scanning is free, if you wish to photocopy you can use the self-service machines to top-up your credit, or you can add credit to your account remotely. You can also credit your account at the Reader Services Desk. You may prefer to place a digital imaging request or use personal cameras.
  • use the locker room to leave coats and bags. Please bring essential items only into the Library
  • take a break in the courtyards, Tea Room and spaces outside the library. A vending machine and water fountain is available in the Tea Room
  • buy hot drinks and snacks from VG Coffee outside the library entrance, Monday-Friday. Cambridge FoodPark is at the University Library 12pm to 2pm on Fridays. Check the FoodPark website to find out which truck is visiting, place your order and pay.

 

Image by @AlicetheCamera for Cambridge University Libraries