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Cambridge University Library is now open for ‘zero contact’ services from Monday-Friday. Please read more about our phased reopening of the UL and Faculty and Departmental Libraries.

Cambridge University Library


Visitors are welcome in the Milstein Exhibition Centre, which is open to the public. Details of the current exhibition can be found on our Exhibitions page.

Visitors aged 16 or over are also admitted to the Library to view the building if accompanied by a current member of the University. Visiting hours: 9.00 a.m. - 6.15 p.m. (Mondays to Fridays) and 9.00 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Saturdays).

Please note that visitors must stay with the University member throughout the visit and cannot use the Library’s collections, study facilities or IT resources.

General photography of people is not permitted within the Library. 

Places to explore in the UL

  • The Reading Room holds around 17,000 reference titles, from dictionaries and encyclopaedias to telephone books and travel guides.  Look up and you’ll see the beautiful original 1934 ceiling.
  • There are often displays of interesting items from our collections in the cases in the Entrance Hall. 
  • The book cases which line the North and South Galleries used to house the Royal Library. Can you see the ‘R’ for Regent in the stunning wood carvings?
  • Why not visit the Tea Room together?  Our Library scones are famous throughout the University!

Using the University Library

Visitors, who would like to use the Library for research or require use of our IT facilities, can register with the Library Reader Registration Office. This requires photo ID and proof of address (e.g. a utility bill or driver’s licence), please see here for further details.

General policy concerning young people in Cambridge University Library. 

Please note that the policy on allowing children and young people into the Library has been suspended until further notice.

Young people of any age are welcome to the Milstein Exhibition Centre and to view displays in the Entrance Hall of the University Library. Parts of the building may also open to this age group for selected special events.

Readers and visitors are admitted to the University Library with children aged 15 and under for short visits, such as making an enquiry, retrieving books, or for pre-arranged appointments with a member of staff. Please note children are not admitted to any of the reading rooms.

Young people aged 16 and 17 may apply for a reader’s ticket, written consent to use the library must be given by a parent or guardian.  Further information can be found here.

Guidelines for readers who wish to use the University Library and are accompanied by young people aged 15 and under.

In fairness to all readers, parents/guardians will recognise that the silent working environment in the reading rooms is one that is unsuitable for many children. Conditions of access:

  • The Library is responsible for cultural treasures of global significance, and children are not admitted to any of its reading rooms. These are the main Reading Room, the West Room, the Manuscripts Room, the Rare Books Room, the Map Room and the Aoi Pavilion reading rooms (Music and East Asian collections). This means in practical terms that access to the Aoi stacks is not possible. In case of doubt, staff will be pleased to advise.
  • The Alpha and Beta staircases are out of bounds for this age group.
  • The Tea Room can be used.
  • Except for pre-booked appointments with staff, visits with children should not be of excessive length. Longer visits for extended study are not permitted.
  • On entry, adults accompanied by children should sign in and complete the form at the Reader Services Desk in the Entrance Hall. They are asked to sign out again on exit.
  • By signing in, the parent/guardian accepts responsibility for accompanying children, including their safety, good behaviour, and observance of relevant Library regulations.
  • The responsible adult must keep children under continual and close supervision, and the child should be at the adult’s side for the duration of the visit. For their own safety and wellbeing, children should not be left unattended in any part of the building in any circumstances.
  • Library staff are not trained or insured to look after children, and are specifically not allowed to do so.
  • Children should not remove books from shelves.
  • Children are not allowed to use any Library equipment, including computer equipment, and should not use any electronic device on the University wireless networks. Any personal electronic device used by a child must be switched to silent mode.
  • Pushchairs and buggies should be left in the Locker Room, where possible.
  • The Library reserves the right to ask readers to leave if, in the opinion of staff on duty, a child’s behaviour is disturbing other users. In certain circumstances, permission to bring a child into the University Library may be revoked, subject to written appeal to senior staff.
  • This policy applies only to the University Library on West Road. Other Cambridge libraries may have different rules, and readers should refer to staff for advice.
  • The University Library reserves the right to withdraw this privilege at any time or to impose restrictiions during certain periods.