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Cambridge University Library


The following rules apply in general to the main University Library, West Road. 

The Cambridge University Libraries Code of Conduct further outlines what you can expect from Cambridge University Libraries and what Cambridge University Libraries expect from you in return. 

References in these rules to `Regulations' are references to the regulations made by the General Board for the use of the University Library (Statutes and Ordinances).

Opening and closing 



Use of Library materials

Behaviour in the Library

Opening and closing

1. Except on the days when it is closed under Regulations 2 and 3 (Ordinances) the Library shall normally be open as follows:

  • Monday to Friday, 9am to 7:15pm (10pm during Full Easter Term).
  • Saturday, 9am to 5pm

No person shall enter the Library less than fifteen minutes before the time of closing.

The opening hours of reading rooms are determined from time to time by the Syndicate. Details are given on the University Library's website (


2. In addition to members of the University, the following persons may be granted a Reader's Card and admitted to the Library, but may not borrow volumes:

(a) Any persons aged 18 and over who are engaged in private study or research, if supported by appropriate evidence of proof of identity. Young people aged 16 and 17 are also welcome to apply for admission, if supported by a letter from a parent or guardian. The Library reserves the right to withdraw this privilege at any time or to impose restrictions during certain periods. There is an administrative charge of £5 for 1 month, £15 for 6 months or £30 for 1 year or £90 for 3 years.

No charge is made for the single issue within any twelve-month period of a Card valid for up to seven consecutive days, or for the issue of a Card to a current member of the academic staff or a registered research student of any other university funded by one of the higher education funding councils in the United Kingdom.

(b) Undergraduates of other universities in the British Isles normally resident in the Cambridge area, if supported by appropriate recommendations.

Cards issued under this section shall be free of charge and shall normally be valid only during the vacations of this University.

3. Readers' Cards are not transferable. Every person to whom a Card is issued under Rule 2 shall sign an undertaking to observe the Regulations for the use of the Library and the Rules made by the Library Syndicate.

Holders of Readers' Cards issued under Rule 2 shall comply with any special conditions laid down by the Syndicate. The whole or part of the administrative charge may be waived at the discretion of the Librarian.

Readers must inform the library of any changes to their current address.

4. The Syndicate reserve the right to cancel at any time, without assigning cause for the cancellation, any Reader's Card issued under Rule 2.

5. Persons over the age of 16 not holding a Reader's Card may be admitted to the Library for the sole purpose of viewing the building, provided that they are accompanied throughout the visit either by a member of the University or by a member of the Library staff.  Members of the University may introduce up to four visitors at one time. Visitors admitted to the Library under this rule are welcome to use the Tea Room.

6. The Milstein Exhibition Centre is open to all members of the University and the public.


7. No volume shall be borrowed from the Library on any day less than fifteen minutes before the time of closing.

8. All volumes are subject to request at any point during the loan. A requested volume is required to be returned to the Library within three days. Requests are suspended over the Easter and Christmas vacations. Requests are not suspended over the summer vacation; if an item is requested over the summer vacation, it must be returned within three days. Vacation dates can be found here:

Late returns of overdue items and overdue recalled items will be fined £1 per day for those of Camb.MA and Visitor Borrowing status. If a fine amounts to £20 or over, it is important to pay the fine or speak to staff, as entry to the Library will be restricted.

9. Works of reference, unbound works, or parts of works may not be borrowed except by the special permission of the Librarian or a person appointed by him/her, but may be consulted in a reading room of the Library. Printed volumes not kept on the 'open' shelves may be borrowed unless this is prohibited by special restrictions.

10. No volume borrowed from the Library may be taken or sent outside the British Isles except with written permission of the Library Syndicate.

11. Personal details of borrowers of Library materials may not be disclosed to other readers, nor shall any person use the computerized facilities of the Library to obtain or process data except in accordance with the provisions of the data protection law.

Use of Library materials

12. The marking of any Library materials is forbidden; readers may be prohibited from using ink and may be asked to use pencils instead while consulting certain volumes in any of the reading rooms.

13. All persons borrowing Library materials, or ordering materials for use within the Library, shall produce evidence of identity at the time of borrowing or ordering if requested to do so.

13. Use of University Library’s IT facilities is governed by the rules made by the University Information Services  ( and shall be only in accordance with the terms of the JANET Acceptable Use Policy (

15. All retired staff members who have access to the libraries of the University may make use of licensed electronic resources such as ejournals, ebooks and databases, while on library premises, as "walk-in users". Retired academic or research staff who remain research active with a faculty or departmental association, and who qualify for Raven Ids and passwords, may be granted remote access to licensed resources with the support of the relevant faculty or department, who should confirm their continuing research status by emailing when requesting access.

16. Students who are intermitting do not have access to library services, on the grounds that they are not studying.  This policy was developed by the Applications Committee in consultation with the Colleges and is designed to support students in using their time away to address the issues which led to intermission.  Further information can be found at

17. The terms of licences for ejournals, ebooks, and online databases (eresources) permit full access only to current staff and students of the University and to those retired staff who are demonstrably research-active within a faculty or department.  A student no longer included on the Register of Graduate Students is not entitled to access to University facilities. This also applies to any student working full-time whilst completing a revision of their thesis or writing up their thesis. This means access to eresources is no longer permitted.  See   This applies to anyone who has been deregistered, as a result of overrunning either the four-year or seven-year deadline, or has chosen to withdraw from the University. See  Any application to be reinstated to the register should be made the Board of Graduate Studies  Should the application be successful, please contact to have eresources access reinstated.  Please also ask the Board of Graduate Students to contact this email address to confirm reinstatement.

18. Use of personal data of living persons in Library collections is either for i) research purposes, in which case readers must not use personal data to support decisions about the person who is the subject of the data, or in a way that causes substantial damage or distress to them or ii) for the purposes of academic expression, in which case it must be in the public interest.

Behaviour in the Library  

19. Silence shall be maintained as far as possible in the Library.

20. Readers must present their Reader’s Card or University Card for inspection if requested by a member of the Library staff in the course of their duties.

21. The use of portable computers and mobile devices is permitted in the Library provided that they are quiet in operation. Users of such equipment may be required to work in specified areas or to stop using a computer if it constitutes a distraction to other readers.

22. The use of equipment likely to disturb or distract other readers or to damage Library materials is not permitted in the Library. Mobile telephones must be set to ‘silent’ mode in the Library; the use of mobile telephones is only permitted in the Tea Room, the Locker Room and the courtyards of the Library. General photography of the building is permitted, provided this excludes people (staff and readers) and PC screens with Non Print Legal Deposit material.

23. Overcoats, raincoats, and other kinds of outdoor clothing, umbrellas, bags larger than 25cm x 20cm x 5cm, cases, photocopying devices, and similar personal belongings shall normally be deposited in the locker room adjacent to the entrance hall during each visit to the Library.

24. The Library reserves the right to inspect anything brought into the building. Laptops, mobile devices, bags, files, folders, coats and any other items allowed into the Library shall be subject to examination on exit.

25. Hot and cold drinks in covered containers and water in bottles with a sealable top may be consumed in designated areas of the Library.  These are the stacks, the North and South Reading Rooms, corridors and courtyards. No drink of any sort is allowed in the Main Reading Room, the Milstein Exhibition Centre, nor in the Special Collections reading rooms: the Anderson (Music), Aoi (East Asian), Manuscripts, Maps and Rare Books rooms.  Food can be eaten in the Tea Room and the courtyards only.

26. Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the premises, or near the entrances. This includes the use of e-cigarettes. A smoking area is available on the lawn at the front of the Library.

27. Library staff are empowered to stop any activity in the Library which they consider prejudicial to the safety, well-being, or security of readers or Library staff or to the preservation of the collections.

28. Library staff, readers and visitors are requested to demonstrate values of mutual respect and courtesy in all interactions.


Revised: September 2022