Skip to main content

7.5 Library


7.5 Library


The Bartlam Library provides books and other library materials, study space and services to support your studies and benefit all of our college community.

New students are invited to join scheduled library tours and inductions. If you cannot attend, please do contact the Librarian to seek alternative arrangements. The inductions will highlight where materials are shelved and explain briefly how the library functions as well as how to make best and most efficient use of what is available in Selwyn and in other Cambridge libraries.

7.5.1 Books and other library materials

With more than 35,000 books and DVDs, the Bartlam Library provides plenty of material to support your studies. You also have access to thousands of ebooks purchased specifically to support Tripos reading lists, a wealth of other online material suitable for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies, and, of course, access to departmental libraries and the University Library.

We aim to have at least one copy of the key books for Part I of the Tripos, with a reference copy for those books which are most in demand. If we don’t have a book you need, please suggest it as a purchase; we can usually provide a copy within a week, sometimes sooner. This is the best way to keep our stock up to date and ensure that what you need is easily available. Use our online purchase suggestion form or send us an email.

If a book you need is on loan to another student, you can request it on the University’s iDiscover or contact the library office and we will try to arrange a share for you. You can also keep track of your library account on iDiscover and you will receive a monthly email from the integrated libraries system to remind you of what you currently have borrowed. You may also receive mails asking you to return books that have been requested by others and including a due date for you to return them.

7.5.2 Study space and facilities

In the Bartlam Library you will find space for study where you can work on your own or with others. Quiet conversation is permitted on the lower floor and in the two bookable study rooms on the top floor. The main reading room on the top floor is reserved for silent study. No phone calls should be made or taken in the Bartlam Library.

Please take care of the library when you use it. Leave the aisles clear of books and bags and take your valuables with you when you leave. If you are only leaving for a short time, gather your belongings together on the desktop with a completed Book(s) in Use slip. You may bring in drinks in lidded cups and bottles. If you wish to eat, please only do so in the library common room. 

There is a self-service kiosk for borrowing books and DVDs on the first floor, outside the library office, and a kiosk and returns box on the ground floor at the entrance. A printer/scanner/copier is available in the computer room along with some stationery and supplies and computing equipment.

7.5.3 Further information and help

The guidance found on the dedicated library web page gives you more information about using the library and finding the resources you need. It also includes information on other Cambridge libraries to which you have access. Our web pages provide more detailed information about the library, its resources, and the resources and help available to you across Cambridge. Library staff are available during weekday working hours to give you extra guidance. You will usually find us in the library office between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm on weekdays. You can also get in touch by phone on (3)35880 or by email at

7.5.4  Archives and Special Collections

The library holds a further 6,000 old and rare books in its special collections, which are housed alongside the Archives in the Old Library. Records for these books can be found on iDiscover. Students are welcome to consult these books by appointment with the Librarian.

The Archives hold material relating to all aspects of the College and its history. The Archivist would be pleased to hear from any student wishing to make an appointment to consult the collection or who may wish to donate material (email: Photographic material in any format is especially welcome.