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Reader Services Desk in the Entrance Hall

Welcome to the University Library! This page provides practical information to help you prepare for your first visit.



Located on West Road, Cambridge (CB3 9DR), we are about a 12 minute walk from the town centre and about a 40 minute walk from the train station. To learn more about how to get to the University Library, including using our car park, visit our Contact page.

Any person over the age of 16 is welcome to use the University Library. You can either register online before your visit or book an in-person appointment to register on the day. If you register online, please bring photo ID to the Reader Services Desk to collect your card. If you have an in-person appointment, please bring two forms of ID: photo ID and a separate proof of home address.

If you wish to consult material held in closed access areas, you can request it in advance of your visit. Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with your library username (which will be in the form of a code on the front of your card, followed by '') , and one-time password. Use this to set up your login and request books using iDiscover. If you would like to consult special collections, we recommend contacting the relevant reading room in advance to check the availability of material.


Arriving at the University Library

When you arrive at the University Library, you can collect your library card from the Reader Services Desk in the Entrance Hall if you registered online. If you are registering in-person, please let the staff know and we will call Reader Registration for someone to assist you.

Using the lockers

Before entering the Library, you must store any bags, rucksacks, or tote bags in the locker room, located to the left of the Entrance Hall. Lockers are free to use. Just enter a four-digit code twice to lock and once to unlock. Remember to make a note of your locker number! You can bring most items you need to study into the Library, except for non-transparent bags. This is for security purposes. Study materials, laptops, pens, pencils, personal and library books can all be carried in. Transparent plastic bags are available free of charge at the Reader Services Desk. You can also bring your own transparent bag if you prefer.

Food and Drink in the Library

You can have lidded drinks and bottled water at desks throughout the Library. Food and drinks are not allowed in staffed reading rooms, such as the Main Reading Room and Special Collections reading rooms. Food can only be consumed in the Tea Room and courtyards. Please make sure to cover food and drinks if you are carrying them through the Library to these areas to avoid spillages.



Using the University Library

If you are looking for a study space, the University Library has lots of places for you to explore. There are over 800 study spaces in the building.

  • Main Reading Room: The biggest reading room in the Library, a useful vantage point if you are ordering material to the Modern Collections Desk.
  • North Reading Room: A smaller space located off the catalogue hall. You are allowed to bring lidded drinks and bottled water into this room. It has 12 study spaces, 2 of which have desks with adjustable height. There are also 4 PCs available for use.
  • South Reading Room: A cosy study space with sofas and low tables. The south reading room also has two acoustic booths.
  • South Wing Study Hub: The Group and Single Study Rooms are bookable spaces on the third floor, signposted from the nearby Beta staircase. There are two single study rooms.
  • Commonwealth Room: A bright and spacious reading room with large study tables equipped with power outlets for you to use with your own devices. You can access iDiscover and electronic resources through the public PCs here. There is also a self-service copier and scanner located in the annex to the Commonwealth Room.
  • Open Stacks: There are 24 floors of open bookshelves across the University Library. Each floor has individual study spaces.
  • Special Collections: There are a number of special collections reading rooms in the Library. You can find the location of each room on this map.