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Cambridge University Library is open for limited services from Monday-Friday. Online registration is now available. Book a visit to view material in the Main reading room or a Special Collections reading room. Please read more about our phased reopening of the UL and Faculty and Departmental Libraries.

Cambridge University Library


Please note that access to the Library is currently suspended. You can find more information here:

Read Cambridge University Libraries Code of Conduct

Q. Who can use the Library?

All members of the University of Cambridge are welcome to use the Library.
Academic staff, postgraduate and research students from other universities can apply to use the Library for reference. Undergraduate students from other UK universities can apply to access the Library for reference during Cambridge vacations.
Private and business researchers may apply to use the Library for reference if their research requires access to materials held at the University Library. Please note that researchers wishing to access the University Library must be aged 16 years or over. 16 and 17 year old will need their parent or guardian to sign a permission form.
An administration charge applies to applicants from non-UK universities and the public.
Please refer to our 'Registration webpages' for full details.

Q. Where is the Library?

The University Library is on West Road. It can also be reached by foot or bicycle from Burrell's Walk [Map].

Q. When is the Library open?

The Library is open Monday to Friday 9.00-19.15, and 9.00-17.00 on Saturdays. The bookstacks close at 19.00 on weekdays and 16.30 on Saturdays, so you'll need to arrive before this time if you want to find a book or journal. The Library is closed on Sundays and for holiday periods: click here for further details.

During the University's Easter Term the Library stays open till 22.00.

Q. How do I contact the Library?

For general enquiries, telephone (01223) 333000 or e-mail We are also on Facebook,Twitter (@theUL) and Instagram (cambridgeuniversitylibrary). The postal address is Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR. The fax number is 01223 333160.

Q. What material does the Library hold?

Cambridge University Library is a legal deposit library, meaning that it is entitled to claim a copy of every publication in printed form published in the UK and Ireland. Almost all of this material is claimed and can be consulted in the Library.  Following legislation on legal deposit in recent years the Library receives considerable material in electronic format, which can be consulted in the Library.

The Library also holds extensive collections of books, journals, maps, microfilms, photographs and sound recordings published overseas and has extensive special collections of rare books, manuscripts, and other materials, and a large and expanding collection of electronic resources.

Q. How do I use the catalogues to search for resources in the Library?

You can check for materials in the Library using our online catalogue iDiscover, which offers a quick way to search library collections across the University from a single place and is ideal for quickly locating a copy of a book, article or online resource, see


Q. The catalogue says I need to 'order' a book. What does that mean?

Around 60% of books and journals in the UL are stored in closed access areas. These items need to be requested in advance and are then fetched for you by staff members. Don't worry: it usually only takes between 15-45 minutes to fetch a book. 
If the item you want has the message 'Order in Reading Room' or 'Order in West Room', you should normally be able to place an online stack request in advance.  
Go to for more details about requesting books online via your account - or, if you're in the UL, visit the Reading Room or West Room enquiry desk to place a request in person.

Q. The Library is a big place. How do I find my way around the building?

Introductory tours are available during term-time, explaining the catalogues, shelving arrangements, closed access collections and book-fetching. There is an online Library floorplan to help you find your way around. The Library staff will also be pleased to help you.

Q. Can I return books by post?

Books can be returned by post, please address them to:

Book Returns, Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DR

We recommend using a recorded postal delivery service.

Q. Can I request an item from the open shelves?

Yes. You can to order items from the open shelves at the main University Library building.

Any items requested before 2pm will be made available for you to collect by 11am the next day Monday - Friday. If you order a book after 2pm on Friday, the book will be available after 11am on the following Monday. Items can be collected at the Reader Services Desk in the Entrance Hall of the University Library.

To request an item, please use the form at