skip to content
Student in main reading room

You can use most study space in the University Library without booking.

Please make sure you have registered or renewed your library card before coming to the Library. There is no in-person, on the day, registration.

Main Reading Room

  • 09:00-18:55 Monday-Friday.  
  • 09:00-16:45 on Saturdays. 

Commonwealth Room 

  • 09.00-18:45 Monday-Friday
  • 09:00-16:30 Saturday


During your visit you are welcome to:

  • use the reference collections in the Main Reading Room
  • consult material on the electronic legal deposit terminals
  • access material ordered through Inter-library loan
  • visit the open stacks
  • borrow items, if your membership permits.
  • use our Study Hub


If you need to consult non-borrowable material in the UL collections you will need to order the items ahead of time. 'Non-borrowable material' includes:

  • Special Collections (request in advance the items you want to consult as you won't be able to order this material on the day of your visit)
  • modern material that appears on iDiscover with the instruction 'Order to Main Reading Room Modern Collections Desk' (this material is not borrowable, and will take a few hours to arrive once you've requested it).


Who can use a study space?  

Any user can use the Main Reading Room, the Commonwealth Room or the desks in the open stacks to study. The number of seats available is limited to safeguard users and library staff.


South Wing 3 Study Hub

The Study Hub on South Wing 3 comprises:

  • the Assistive Technology Room
  • a Group and Single Study Room
  • Commonwealth Room
  • Commonwealth Room - Postgraduate Study Space

Some of these rooms need to be booked - visit our Study Hub page for all the details. 


What do I need to know before I arrive? 

If you require assistance with any aspect of your visit, let us know and we will be pleased to help you.  

Please read our current guidance on Staying safe ahead of your trip. 


What services will be available?  

You will be able to: 

  • ask staff for help.  
  • browse the Library's collections on the open shelves and select material to borrow (if your membership permits borrowing).
  • browse the reference collection on the Main Reading Room shelves.
  • use photocopiers or printers. Scanning is free, if you wish to photocopy please make sure your account is credited before you arrive (top up your account here). It is not possible to credit your account at the Reader Services Desk. You may prefer to place a digital imaging request or use personal cameras.
  • use NPLD computers.  
  • use the toilets. Washroom facilities are open with enhanced cleaning procedures. 
  • use the cloakroom to store bags and coats. We ask that you bring only the essentials needed for study into the Library.
  • bring water in a bottle to drink into the study spaces. 
  • 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.

You will not be able to:  

  • eat while studying. 
  • consult non-borrowable items without making an advance booking.
  • use public computers. 


Image by @AlicetheCamera for Cambridge University Libraries