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CamGuides: Welcome to Cambridge

Finding your libraries

Go to the library, they are wonderful.

- MPhil (Part III) Maths student, 2017-18


an image of the University Library, CambridgeRegardless of your subject, as a University of Cambridge student you will find the resources that you need to complete your course and explore your research topic as well as support, encouragement and guidance from library staff.

There are over a hundred libraries in Cambridge, which normally fall into one of three types:

(1) The University Library (or the UL): an enormous, extraordinary research resource, with reading rooms, study space, extensive special collections, assistive technologies, and more.

(2) Subject libraries: often known as faculty or departmental libraries, these are located within faculties or departments, and tend to relate to a specific subject or set of subjects. They are mostly focused around providing resources and support tailored to what people in your subject need. You can register at, and use, nearly all the subject libraries.

(3) College libraries: if you're a member of a college, you'll have access to its library. College libraries may not have all the resources you need for your course, but they often have extensive opening hours, lots of study space, and take great pride in their welcoming, inclusive atmospheres.


Libraries Online

Cambridge University Libraries are always open online.

With your Raven login and using iDiscover you can access more than 800,000 e-books, 120,000 e-journal titles and 400 databases. In addition, the Cambridge Digital Library has more than 500,000 images of more than 35,000 objects from our world-class collections freely available to everyone.

Lots more information about our services are available on the University Library website and if you have questions you can email

Libraries across Cambridge contribute to a series of online resources to help you find what you are looking for. Cambridge LibGuides are available for different libraries, different subject areas, types of resource (such as e-books, newspapers, or official publications such as parliamentary papers), and skills such as reference management. In addition, many college libraries have dedicated pages on college websites.


With thanks to:

#1 Yolanda Murillo (MPhil Maths)

#2 Tooshan Srivastava (MPhil Education)

#3 and #5 Laura Erel (MPhil Music)

#4 Nicole Tamer (MPhil Linguistics)

Library inductions

Many of our libraries offer inductions to new students but this year most of them will be online. Your college and subject library may contact you with more information about their space and services, but you may also like to watch a short overview video of Cambridge University Libraries which you can find via a link on the libraries website or directly from this link.  Take up all the opportunities that are offered to you.  Not only will it help you to become familiar with the library space, how the books are arranged and the library staff, but you'll also get the chance to find out what support and guidance is available to you through the library. This might be specific training courses to help you with various aspects of your study, sessions on reference management, on literature reviews, on using statistics software, and all sorts of other things too.

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Find your libraries.

A really useful thing that you can do before your course begins is to get to know the different libraries that you might use, and even make contact with the staff who work there.

Look up the websites of the University Library, your college library, and at least two faculty and departmental libraries that you might intend to use regularly.‚Äč Make sure you find their opening hours, the names of one or two members of staff, some of the services they offer, and see if you can find images of the space itself. (Spacefinder might help with this too).

If you're not sure where to begin, you can explore the directory of libraries here.

Image credits

CC-BY-NC by @camdiary via University of Cambridge