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Cambridge University Library

Thursday, 18 August, 2022

We have introduced new arrangements for consulting printed items from the modern collections that aren’t suitable for borrowing.

If you request non-borrowable modern material, it may now be available for consultation in new locations in the UL building.

Key changes you may notice:

  • Many books and journals you may have previously consulted only in the Main Reading Room can now be collected from the Main Reading Room then taken to your study spot of choice in the UL building.
  • In a small number of cases – for instance, if the book you have ordered is particularly fragile – you’ll need to remain in the Main Reading Room to use an item; our Reader Services Team will help you with this.
  • Modern printed material published before 1950 is now available for consultation in the Munby Rare Books Reading Room, along with some later printed material.

These changes give you greater flexibility in where you can use some material in our library spaces, whilst ensuring our older, rarer, and more fragile modern printed material receives additional care and protection.

Find full guidance on finding and using modern printed items that aren’t accessed on the open shelves on our page Use the modern collections


We continue to fetch borrowable items from the modern collections from the closed shelves on your behalf; you can collect these from the Reader services Desk in the Entrance Hall, use them in the library building, and borrow them if your membership allows for this.


For further help with requesting items that aren’t accessed on the open shelves, please speak to our Reader Services team or email


If you have used the library for several years, you may have previously consulted non-borrowable Modern Collections in the West Room. The West Room is an ideal space for our staff to manage the processing of material for the UL and our Ely store, and closed to readers in 2020. Services for fetching and consulting non-borrowable material now run flexibly across the library, and our Reading Rooms, open stacks and the South Wing 3 Study Hub provide abundant study space, with facilities for copying and accessing non-print legal deposit as well as bookable work areas for individuals and groups.