User Information

Access, Opening Times and Resources


The library is accessed via the Margaret Wileman building. If you come in through the main entrance and go down the corridor to your right, the library is at the far end on the left, off the pavilion foyer area.

If you have a disability or injury that affects your use of the library, please ask library staff for any assistance you require.  We are always happy to help.

Opening Times

The library office is open Monday-Friday:

Term Time: 9.30 am to 1.00 pm, and 1.30 pm – at least 2.30 pm (often later)

Vacations: 9.30 am to 1.00 pm

Any changes to these opening hours are posted on the library notice boards.

Locker keys are available for loan to students living off-site.  Please ask library staff if you wish to borrow one.

Resources and Searching

Cambridge LibGuides has links to information on iDiscover, all academic subject areas, referencing guides for all subjects, and links to relevant databases. Information about access to electronic resources and ejournals is available online, as is further information about ebooks.

CamGuides is a free online resource introducing some academic, digital and research practices you may need to use. It was originally created for Master’s students on courses with a taught element. This year a version for undergraduates has also been released.

Book requests: Undergraduates and students on taught postgraduate courses: do you need core course books?    Please email the library here or complete the online book request form.

Self-help books: there is a list of available titles.  You can borrow the books from the library in the usual way, or let library staff know if you would like us to put them in your pigeonhole.

Information about the Ohtake special collection is available here.

IT and Printing

Information about IT and printing facilities in the library and elsewhere in the College is available here.

Finding books

To locate a particular book within the library, please use iDiscover to find the classmark of the book. The classmark is based on the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme, and will be a three-digit number, possibly followed by a decimal point and some further numbers, and three letters, e.g 320.54 HOB. The record for the book will also indicate whether the book is on loan.

Books are arranged by classmark in the library. The library also holds a small number of journals.

If you have trouble finding a book, please contact library staff and we will do our best to help.

Borrowing and requesting

Borrowing and renewing

Borrowing: You may borrow up to five items at a time from the Hughes Hall library, plus a locker key if you live off site. The loan period is one week during Term, and Vacation loans last until the beginning of the next Term. Books may currently be borrowed by following the instructions on the screen of the self-circulation terminal.

Renewing: Books may be renewed either by logging into your library account on iDiscover, or by selecting “Borrow” and then “Account” from the options on the self-circulation terminal in the library, and following the instructions.

Returning: Please return books by selecting “Return” on the self-circulation terminal in the library, and then place them in the book drop box.

Other borrowable items
The library has anatomical models which are available to medical students. Please ask library staff.

Some books are labelled to show that there is an accompanying CD-ROM. Most CD-ROMS are with the relevant book.  A few CD-ROMS are stored in the library office, and can be issued to you by library staff.

Requesting books

The library gives priority to core course books for undergraduate (particularly Part 1) and taught postgraduate courses, and also to books for those courses where we have more students. Further details are in the collection policy.

Please let the librarian know of books you need for your course which the library does not currently have, or where the edition we have is out of date. Giving full details of the book, e.g which edition is required and the ISBN, will enable us to get the correct book for you.

You can make requests using the online book request form. Alternatively, you can email, or come in to the library office.

The librarian may consult your Director of Studies for their opinion of the book. If purchase is approved and the budget permits, we will try to obtain a copy.

Other libraries and study spaces

In addition to the Hughes Hall library, you may use your Faculty or Departmental library and the University Library.  Some Faculty and Departmental libraries allow access to students in other subjects, but please note that you cannot use other college libraries.  A directory of Cambridge libraries is available online, and you can check access arrangements on libraries’ websites.  If in doubt, please contact a library to check your eligibility before visiting.

SpaceFinder will help you to find alternative study spaces.  Whether you prefer to work alone or in a group, silently or with background noise, in a public space or a modern or historic library, SpaceFinder will show you matching spaces nearby.  Libraries, coffee shops and common areas are included.

Online bookshop

If you are planning to buy anything online from Amazon, please use the link below to get to the Amazon website. Amazon will then donate a proportion of the value of your order to the library, at no extra cost to you. If the link below is not visible, please turn off your ad blocker and refresh the page.

Please use this link whenever you shop from Amazon.

Frequently asked questions

When is the library open?

The library is open 24 hours a day, with card key access.

How do I borrow books?

Please follow the instructions on the self-circulation terminal in the library.

How many items can I take out at a time?

You can borrow up to five items plus one locker key.

The library does not have the book I want. How can I recommend it?

You can complete an online book request form. The librarian may consult with your Director of Studies. Priority is given to core texts for undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses; see the collection policy.

The book I want is not on the shelf. How can I find it?

First, check iDiscover to see whether the book has been issued to somebody else. If it is shown as “Available”, check along the shelf in case the book has been incorrectly shelved. Then contact library staff, and we’ll do our best to track it down for you.

Where can I get my dissertation or thesis bound?

Soft binding is offered by the CUSU print shop in the Old Examination Hall, New Museums Site, and Reprographics in the Old Schools.

Thesis binding and dissertation binding is offered by J.S. Wilson & Son.

Help! The library alarm just went off. Why?

If the alarm went off as you entered or left the library, the most likely cause was security tags in books. If you have books from Hughes Hall library with you, then the security tags may have been improperly deactivated when you borrowed the books. Please contact library staff, and we can deactivate the Hughes Hall security tags for you. Sometimes books from other libraries can also set off the alarm. In any case, if the alarm goes off please write details in the book by the self-issue terminal.

How can I find out about the College archives?

There is information on the archives page. The College archives are overseen by the College Archivist.  All queries about the archives should be directed to her at