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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 22 April 2021

  • Recalls will be switched on for Easter Term.

  • During vacation periods there will be no recalls so items which you take home for the vacation will not be recalled by someone else. If your books normally auto renew they will continue to do that throughout the vacation period.

  • For more information on all our services see our information about faculties and departments and the Main UL. 

  • Fines will be waived for Faculty, Departmental and University Library items  - this will happen automatically on a daily basis. If you have a query about a fine please contact the relevant library.

  • What if I can't get to the Library to collect books?  if you cannot collect material you need from a library you can appoint a proxy to do this for you. You must give the proxy consent to do this and the easiest way to do this is to write an email which they can show the library staff. See the UL's Click and Collect page for more information about how to do this.

  • For questions and uncertainties about borrowing please check the libraries FAQ page or the LibAnswers page. Alternatively contact

  • The monthly 'borrowing' statement will next be sent out on May 2nd 2021. Note that this statement is 'for information only'

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.

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