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Accessing Resources

Borrowing from Cambridge Libraries

Welcome to Cambridge Libraries

There are over one hundred libraries within the University. If you are a student you will have access to many subject libraries as well as the main University Library. You will also be a member of your college library, which is for college members only.

Students and staff will usually need their blue University card to access and borrow items from libraries.  Contact the relevant library directly to check whether you are eligible to register to borrow from a library. 

COVID 19 NEWS: Update APRIL 23rd, 2020

  • For questions and uncertainties about borrowing please check the libraries FAQ page or the LibAnswers page. Alternatively contact library@lib.cam.ac.uk. or use the Chat facility on the LibAnswers page

  • You will not face fines for late return of overdue books caused by illness, caring responsibilities, or self-isolation, or because you cannot get to a Post Office at this time

  • Requests have been turned off in iDiscover, and will remain off for the foreseeable future

  • Active requests are now canceled. If you still need the book when libraries re-open, please re-submit your request in iDiscover. If the book that you had requested is urgently required, check iDiscover to see if there is an ebook, and if not, you can find details of how to request an ebook on the main University Library page

  • If the items you have on loan were due back on the first Tuesday of Full Term (21st April), they should be automatically renewed for the usual term-time loan period. Check with the library you have loans with if they do not renew.

  • If you need to return books please check the FAQ page for information

  • The monthly 'borrowing' statement next due on 1 May 2020 has been suspended

Key messages about borrowing from Cambridge Libraries

  • Most loans (not short loans) will auto renew, and it'll be done for you by the system. No need to worry about doing it yourself. Note that some colleges have unique borrowing policies.
  • If someone requests the item you have borrowed please bring it back within three days.
  • If you need an item that's on loan to someone else, you can use the 'request' option in iDiscover to ask for it to be returned. Not sure how to do that? Help available here.
  • Some items (usually these are in the University Library) need to be fetched from a closed store before you may be able to borrow them - use the 'request' option in iDiscover.
  • Check your library account via iDiscover regularly.
  • Follow @CamLibsUpdates for important messages about borrowing from Cambridge Libraries.
  • You will receive a statement on the second day of every month which shows a snapshot of what items you have on your account, including overdue items and fines.
  • Fines can be paid through the online fines payment system accessed from your library account. 
  • Ensure that you use check your Cambridge email account for notices which will tell you if you need to return books or if they are overdue.

Sometimes you may be blocked from borrowing. Find out more about possible blocks here.

Borrowing may be affected between 10.00 pm (Saturday) to 4.00 am (Sunday) due to maintenance.