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Library A-Z Guide


Access.  The Library is for resident members of the College only. If you wish to show visitors around please check with the Library staff first in case anything else is going on. If you are permitted to bring visitors in you are responsible for them – please ask them to be very quiet. If you wish to work with a friend from another College please use your Faculty Library instead – we need every seat for our own students.


Borrowing. You may borrow up to 10 items (books or DVDs) at one time for a term and for the whole of the vacation. Please remember to return your books on the borrowing machine before putting them on the book return shelves or on the green trolley.  There are set times for the return of books at the beginning and end of each term. If someone recalls a book out in your name please return it within a week to avoid fines.  


Computers.  There are three computers in the Library, one on each floor. The Computer Room in CC has 30 computers, a scanner, and printing facilities. It is open 24 hours. Please direct all IT enquiries to


Displays.  There are five showcases containing displays of College holdings: Upper Reading Room, the Library Catalogue Hall, J staircase, the Chapel and Thomas Gray Room. If any student society would like to use the J staircase showcase for a particular exhibition please contact the Librarian.


Electronic Resources.  Ebooks, ejournals, databases… a multitude of electronic resources are available through the UL.  Off campus you will need a Raven password. The College Library contributes to the cost of these so they are all free to you. If you find a resource through Google or another search engine your IP address will not be recognised and you may be asked to subscribe. Try looking on iDiscover first – if it is not available there then recommend it to the UL and it will be considered.


Facebook.  The Library has a Facebook page for topical news and useful information.


Group-working.  There is nowhere suitable in this Library for working as a group. Pembroke College Library is intended for silent individual study and is highly valued as such by Fellows and students. If you wish to work with friends you can book a room through the Porters or use Café Pembroke.


Holds.  If a book you need is out on loan you can request its return (during term-time). The borrower will be asked to return the book as quickly as possible because someone else needs it and you will be informed when the book is returned. It will be kept on hold for you in the Library Office. No-one else can borrow it in the meantime.


iDiscover.  This is the University’s search engine for finding books and eresources anywhere in Cambridge. It is easy to use but you may need to use filters to narrow down your search. The Library staff are very happy to help you with iDiscover.


Journals.  The Library does not hold many journals but those we do have are listed on a sign outside the Library Office with the bay number to help you find them. Journals are for Reference Only. Many journals are now available online but if you want to see a print copy you can find it in the UL. Past issues are on the open shelves in the UL, but new parts that have not yet been bound are kept on the shelves in the West Room.


Knowledge.  The Library contains approximately 42,000 books on the open shelves and roughly 30,000 rare books in secure air-conditioned rooms.  We also have access to a growing resource of e-materials. The Library staff are here to help you and Information Skills Sessions are held at the UL. See the Libraries Gateway for details.


Library Rules. The Library rules are set by the Library Committee which is made up of the Master, the Fellow Librarian, the College Librarian, the Senior Tutor, the Bursar, 2 other Fellows of the College, and representatives of the Junior Parlour and Graduate Parlour. If you have any items you would like to bring up contact your rep. The Library rules are designed to keep the Library a perfect environment for quiet study.


Mobile Phones.  Mobile phone conversations in the Library can be very distracting. We do not permit conversations anywhere inside the building because of the poor acoustics.


Noise. Most students appreciate the College Library as a quiet space for individual study so we ask you to have conversations outside the Library. There are alternative study spaces in College for students who prefer some noise around them.


Opening Hours.  The Library opening hours are 8.00am – midnight daily except for times such as Easter and Christmas when the Library is closed.


Printing/Scanning/Photocopying can be done in the Computer Room in CC. Scanning is free but the cost of copying and printing will be added to your College bill. For Library users a small amount of printing is possible on one of the 3 MCS computers. There is a cap of 15 pages.


Questions. We are here to help you so please don’t hesitate to ask if you are unsure about anything.


Recommendations. There is a book recommendation form on the Library webpage. Your DoS will be asked for approval then the book(s) will be ordered as soon as possible.


Scanner. The Book2Net Scanner, opposite the Library Office, is a green and silent alternative to photocopying and is free.  All you need is a memory stick.


‘Television’ Screen.  The digiboard in the Library entrance displays useful information about the Library and reminders about significant dates to note. 


University Library.  The UL is one of 6 copyright Libraries. That means it is entitled to claim a copy of every book published in the United Kingdom. The UL also buys material from other countries as well as all types of eresources. Yes, it is running out of space and less consulted material is now stored near Ely in the Library Storage Facility.


Value.  Everything in the Library is valuable and has to be paid for out of the Library’s annual budget. Books are expensive and should be available for generations of students so please do not mark books in any way, not even with post-it notes which can damage the paper.


WiFi.  The Library has wifi throughout. If you experience a loss of signal please let the IT Department know by emailing


Exams.  Cheating, I know, but it is worth pointing out that the Library is full in the Easter Term and space is at a premium. Readers are asked to be especially considerate and take up only one reader space to be fair to everyone.


Yamada Room. This is a Fellows’ teaching room. It contains striking stained glass windows inspired by Ted Hughes’s animal poems. It is sometimes used for College Meetings and Displays (and occasionally book sales).


Zero-tolerance.  Talking and bringing food and drinks (other than bottled water) into the Library will not be tolerated. It is possible that the Library Committee will decide to operate a fine system if this becomes a problem.