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Architecture & History of Art: Special Collections

Header panel for the special collections page.




Make a Recommendation

Click here to send us an email. Library email address is

We welcome any book or DVD recommendations so if you feel there is something that would make a good addition to our collection please feel free to drop us an email.

Lending Policy


5 books for 7 days

plus auto-renewals

(excluding short-loan items/overnight loans)


10 books for 28 days

plus auto-renewals

(excluding short-loan items/overnight loans)


10 books for 28 days 

plus auto-renewals

(excluding short-loan items/overnight loans)

Overdues & Fines

 Short-Loan Books         £1 per hour per day

 Recalled Fine Rate        £1 per item per day

Borrowing is limited to staff and students of Cambridge University. Visitors are welcome to consult our collection but must contact the Library beforehand.

Visitor information


All current members of the University are automatically registered to borrow, including staff, affiliated staff, undergraduates, postgraduates and affiliated students. 

Academic visitors to the Architecture & Art History (AHA) Faculty may also register to borrow. They should be introduced by a Member of the Faculty or by the Faculty Administrative Staff. All academic visitors need to be resident in Cambridge for at least a month to be able to register to borrow.

Academic visitors to Colleges and other Departments can use the Library only for reference.


Access for visitors

Throughout the year, the following may use the library for reference by appointment:

  • Graduate students from other UK universities on production of a student card or similar
  • Cambridge alumni who are not attached to a Faculty or College in the University of Cambridge

During the vacations only, the following may use the library for reference by appointment:

  • Undergraduates from other UK universities on production of a student card or similar
  • Graduates and undergraduates from overseas universities. However only on presentation of a letter from their home university addressed to the Faculty Librarian, justifying the need for using the Library
  • Members of public who have applied in writing to the Librarian, justifying the need for using the Library.

Food and drink (other than bottled water) is not permitted in the reading room and large bags or items can be left in the library lockers located in the central Faculty corridor to avoid trip hazards in our narrow spaces.


Using the Rare Books Room

Faculty members are welcome to use the Rare Books collection for research and studies.

Visitors outside the Faculty are welcome. But we have very limited resources to provide access. Thus, if you do want to look at a specific book in our Rare Books collection that is not available elsewhere, please write to us at least 1 day in advance and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

No food or drink is permitted in the Rare Books room. We do ask you to leave the large bags in the library lockers, and to only use pencils when consulting the rare books. Please familiarise yourself with our Rare Books Good Handling Guide before consulting the rare books.


Access to materials

The library holds a mix of open and closed access materials. Some journals may be offsite at the binders, so please contact us in advance to check availability of these. Access to rare materials must be arranged in advance via email, telephone, or in person.


Step-free access is available by lift from the central faculty corridor. Call ahead for more information so you can plan your visit. If you have any accessibility needs, please let the library staff know and we will be happy to help.


Photography, reprographics and Wi-Fi

Photography of books and periodicals is permitted for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study. As a general rule, you are permitted to photocopy or scan up to 10% or 1 chapter of each book or journal. Please bear in mind that some items may be subject to further copyright limitations.

Photocopiers, scanners and free Wi-Fi are available.

Please talk to a member of library staff or email us if you have a photocopying / scanning request for a book in the Rare Books collection.

The AHA Library houses a collection of 39,000 books on art, architecture and related topics. 300 periodical titles. 2000 16th-19th century architectural books. Access to university-wide ebooks.
The Leslie Martin Collection: from the library of Sir Leslie Martin, professor of architecture and head of department, 1956-72. Donated by Sue Mason and Kit Martin. Click here to read more about the Leslie Martin collection.
The Tony Baggs Collection: most of the books are on architecture, history of architecture, art, history of art and places of historical interest in Eastern Europe. The collection covers material that was published during the Soviet era of the history of Eastern Europe from 1960s onwards and it also covers the general history of art and architecture of the region. In many ways it is a very valuable collection for those who would like to learn more about peculiarities of the architecture and history of art of Poland, Russia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Montenegro, and the Czech Republic.

Displays and exhibitions

The Library welcomes proposals for book displays and exhibitions from current students, staff and alumni of the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art, at the University of Cambridge.

The primary aim of the exhibition should be to share the outputs of academic research with a wider non-specialist audience. The content may relate to art and architecture, historical, cultural, and interdisciplinary topics and those topics with a relationship to library collections are encouraged.

Exhibitions may last from 4 weeks to one full term, depending on demand for the space. Your application should state if a particular date is preferable.

The ‘call for proposals’ is now open. Members of the library committee will meet each term to consider proposals, with applicants informed of the outcome shortly after each meeting. Please fill in the exhibition proposal form and send it to .

A book voucher incentive will be awarded to students at the AHA Faculty, to compensate for your time working on the exhibition. There may also be limited funds to buy relevant books and help with printing costs. The library can assist with marketing the exhibition, for example through social media channels, newsletter and faculty mailing lists.

 About the Space

The display can be in different parts of the library, there is natural light. The library basement has limited wall space where posters can be displayed (prior consultation with library staff is needed); access to the library basement is via staircase.

There are two display cases on the ground floor (History of Art Room and Rare Books Room) which can be used to house books or objects, these are not secure, therefore we do not recommend anything of value is included in the exhibition. We recommend that proposers visit the space before submitting their application.

The library is open to members of public by appointment only, and there is card access to the building, so it may be difficult to have the display fully open to members of public.

Please forward any queries to .


The Faculty of Architecture & History of Art’s collections in support of the study of art and architecture at Cambridge are rich, diverse and in many cases extraordinarily deep. Print and electronic materials are collected as broadly as possible for all geographic areas and periods.




Click here to read the Architecture and History of Art Library's Collection Development Policy


All periodicals are for reference only and may not be removed from the Library. Current periodicals are kept in the History of Art Room on the ground floor. Our bound journals can be found in stacks 33-63. 

Dissertations are for reference only and may not be photocopied. The Library houses a collection of mainly architectural essays and MPhils, and a small selection of more recent History of Art MPhils. Please email or ask at the staff issue desk if you wish to consult a dissertation.


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