Welcome to Selwyn Library

For Michaelmas Term, here are some hints and tips to get started using Cambridge libraries efficiently and effectively.

Selwyn Library

This is effectively your home library; our resources and study space are for the use of members of Selwyn. We have long opening hours and the study space is generally quiet or silent – you’ll know if that’s the type of study environment you like to work in.

We aim to have the books you need for Part 1 of the Tripos. That said, we don’t see every reading list that’s handed out to you. If we don’t have a book you need, let us know and we can often have it available for you in a day or two.

You can borrow up to 20 items from us and you borrow and return them using the self-issue machine near the entrance.

For a little more information on finding and borrowing books and on facilities in the library, have a look at Getting started at Selwyn College Library.

Your faculty or departmental library

This library will have a clear subject focus and should have the variety of books you’ll need to support you throughout your studies. The staff will have knowledge of the resources that will be most useful to you, particularly as you specialise more as you progress through the Tripos. Many will run information sessions tailored to different elements of your studies.

You can find more information at your faculty or departmental library website or have a look at the subject guides that have been created. These LibGuides help you find the online and print materials you need. Most also have information about referencing as recommended by your faculty or department.

You can find out more about libraries across Cambridge and also the ebooks and eresources you can access from anywhere at Cambridge Libraries.

The University Library (UL)

The UL holds about 8 million books and also provides access to thousands of journals, ejournals, and now electronic legal deposit items too. All members of the University can borrow from the UL, so don’t discount it. It will often contain the only copy of a book available in Cambridge – or it might be the last one available to borrow or read within the library. If you think you might like to work in or borrow from the UL, go on one of their orientation tours (some subject librarians organize specific tours for their students).

If you’d like to find out more about the different types of library you can use and how you might decide between them, have a look at The Perfect Desk:

You might also want to have a look at Spacefinder – a service to help you identify potential work spaces across Cambridge according to location, noise level, style and feel, permissiveness with food and drink, etc. It covers lots of University libraries and some cafés and other social spaces (although not college libraries as they tend to be only for the use of members of college).


Decoding your reading list

Save time hunting down the books and articles you need by working out the best strategy for you. Treat your reading list like a shopping list – work out before you set off which items are in the different libraries you can use.

These slides should help you unpick the different types of reference on your reading list, prioritise your reading, and make useful notes:


If there’s a puzzling reference on your list, or you can’t track down a book or journal article, check with a librarian. We’re experts in bibliographic problem solving.


Keep track of your reading

… and make referencing easier from your first piece of work onwards. Use a reference manager such as Zotero and you can save references straight from your browser as you search iDiscover, Google Scholar, etc. – and avoid the pain of having half an idea of that ideal article you read a while back without being able to recall what it was called or who wrote it.

You can use a reference manager to format references in your written work, too. Have a look at the guide to referencing tools for more information.


Here for the Wifi? Need to print something?

All you need to know about getting connected at Selwyn.

And this is where you’ll find more information about printing, copying, and scanning in College.



All you need to know about using the Library

Opening hours, studying here, visitors

Term time: 7.00 am – 1.45 am : Vacation 7.00 am – midnight.

Closed during Christmas & New Year, the College Snowball, and similar events.

The Library is for the use of members of Selwyn College.
Visitors, including members of other colleges, may be allowed to consult our collection between 9 am and 5 pm on weekdays but must request permission from the Librarian first (phone or email). This applies to both the undergraduate and special collections.

We provide a quiet and scholarly environment where Selwyn members feel welcome to study. Readers are requested to observe the health and safety and other notices displayed in the building. Students with disabilities are welcome and staff are always happy to discuss individual requirements.  Please note that access to the first floor (History) is not possible for wheelchair users.

Borrowing, reminders and returning

January 2018 update – new library system for Cambridge

As part of the implementation of a new library system in Cambridge, certain aspects of policy have been brought into alignment across Cambridge libraries. Selwyn Library amended its policies at the start of the 2017/18 academic year, so no changes should be apparent in your day-to-day use of the library (policies as detailed below).

One change you may notice, however, is that certain limits and blocks will now operate across all the Cambridge libraries you use. This includes the maximum number of items (and overdue items) you can have out at any one time and also the maximum level of fines. If you exceed these limits, your library account will be blocked in all libraries. These blocks can be overridden by library staff, and you will also be able to continue borrowing using paper loan slips when the library is unstaffed, but fines and blocks can only be cleared in the relevant library.

If you have any questions or concerns about this or about any aspect of your library use or account, please get in touch.

Limits across all Cambridge libraries:

  • Maximum number of loans: 200
  • Maximum number of requests: 100
  • Maximum number of overdue items: 50
  • Maximum number of overdue recalled items: 2
  • Maximum fine amount owed before blocking: £100
    NB Fines will continue to accrue over the block limit

Selwyn College Library borrowing information:

What can I borrow?

Books and DVDs, other than those marked “For reference only” or “Not to be taken away”.
During the Christmas vacation reference books can be borrowed at the office.

How many items and for how long?

All College library users may borrow up to 20 items.

Undergraduates and Fellows for 4 weeks.
Postgraduates for 8 weeks.
DVDs are loaned for 2 weeks and GUS books for a term (or a vacation) to all readers.
Please contact the Librarian if you need to exceed these limits for your study.

To borrow:

Use the self-issue machine on the desk by the entrance. You will need to present your University card, followed by the items, which can be placed in groups of 3-4 at a time. Check all items are correctly displayed and note the return date.

If the security alarm sounds as you leave the building, come back, put the details in the Incident Book on the desk and try again.  If the problem persists please use a paper loan slip and leave it in the tray provided.  Staff will add the items to your account and email confirmation.

To transfer items from one person’s account to another there is no need for them to be returned first.  The second borrower should login and issue the books to him/herself, they will be automatically taken off the previous borrower’s account.

The Library entrance is monitored by a CCTV camera, and alarm incidents will be followed up.  No item may be removed from the Library without registering the loan.

Problems with borrowing:

Forgotten or lost your card? During office hours (9 am – 5 pm weekdays) please come to the office.
Issue machine not working? Outside staffed hours fill in one of the paper loan slips, and note you have done so in the Incident Book as the alarm will sound when you leave.
University card not working ? Your account may have expired, or you may have changed your registration details at another Cambridge library.  Call in at the office or email us and we will fix it.

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Reminders and returning items to the Library

3-4 days before the return date you will receive a courtesy email reminding you that loans must be returned or renewed.  The email service is a reminder only, you are responsible for ensuring loans are renewed or returned on time.

Return items using the self-issue machine. Once you have done this, place them on the trolley to the left of the machine. If your books have been recalled, you’ll be instructed to put them on the “Requested books” shelf to the right of the machine.

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Renewing loans and checking your account

Go to your library account and log in with Raven. Go to the loans tab and choose which items you wish to renew by clicking on the renew icon for each one.

The renewal won’t work if

  • items have been recalled by another reader (please return any such books as soon as possible)
  • items have been renewed 3 times already, in which case please return and re-borrow them using the self-issue machine or bring them to the Library Office for re-issue.

Renewal and request policies are different for other libraries, see details here[/su_column][/su_row]

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What to do if a book or DVD you need is on loan

1.   If you need the item quickly, call in at the office, or phone/email us to Request a Share. We will contact the current borrower and ask them to get in touch with you.  This is usually the quickest method.

2.   You can place a recall for any book which is on loan. From your iDiscover results, click through to the full details for the item. You’ll need to be logged in to iDiscover with Raven to recall a book.  Select “Request options” from the link by the details of the Selwyn copy.  Follow the onscreen prompts. This generates an email to the current borrower, who will have 7 days to return the book, so it usually takes longer to get the book back than via the office. You can recall up to 100 items across all Cambridge libraries; once you exceed this limit, you won’t be able to borrow.

Either way, you will receive an email when the item has been returned and is ready for collection. If you don’t need the book anymore, please let us know so we can put it back on the shelves for others. Please note that if you receive an email informing you that a book has been recalled from you, you must return the book to the Library by the date given. Check the date, as the loan may have been shortened. Fines will accrue at £1.50 per item per day for overdue recalls.

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Overdues, fines and losses

You will receive an email warning a few days before your books are due back, so check your messages regularly and act within 3 days of receipt by returning or renewing the items.

Items returned after the due date are fined as follows:
Overdue : no fine
Recalled : £1.50 per item per working day

You will receive an email notification if you have a fine outstanding. You can either pay the fine at the office or leave it to be added to your College bill at the end of the academic year. Please contact the library office if you have any queries or concerns. 

If you think you have lost a Library book or DVD, don’t panic. First, make sure you keep renewing the loan to avoid incurring fines and then make a thorough check; it’s surprising where books get to – under the bed, in a friend’s room, returned to another library in error, etc.  If you still can’t find it, contact the Office so staff can look out for it as well. If you are certain it is lost you will have to pay for a replacement.  Alternatively, a replacement copy of the same edition in good condition (ie no pencil or pen marks inside) will be accepted.

Damaged items must also be paid for, the amount charged will depend on the level of damage and condition of the item. In some cases the item may have to be replaced.

Don’t feel anxious about speaking to staff about overdues, fines and losses.  Our approach is to resolve the problem quickly and painlessly, and to help you make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

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Computing, printing and copying

Computers in the Library
  • 5 PCs on the Bridge upstairs. Desktop Services password required to log on.
  • 2 kiosk PCs outside the Office for web & MS Office. Login instructions on the desk.
Charges are: A4 B&W  4p per side, Colour 15p per side; A3 B&W  8p per side, Colour 25p per side; Scanning 1p per side.
To print:

Use a PC in the library or the Computer Room in Ann’s Court. Send print command to the Selwyn_FindMe or _FollowMe queue.

The default settings are A4, double sided, black and white; any changes must be made when sending the print from the computer to the print queue.  To do this, select  Print, Printer Properties, and before you click on OK:

  • Change paper size to A3 use the Basic tab.
  • Change to single sided and to specify number of pages printed on a sheet (e.g. 2 A4 pages printed at A5 size on one A4 sheet) use the Layout tab.
  • Change to colour, use the Quality tab to change to Autocolor.  All pages will be printed in colour (and charged at colour rates) including those with small bits of colour (eg URLs in Word).  Take care because even a single dot in colour will cause the page to be treated as colour.

After you click on Print you will receive a message onscreen advising you that the print job has been sent to the queue.  If you don’t get the message try sending the print job again. Taking your University card, go to the MFD at the foot of the stairs in the Library and follow the instructions stuck to the bannisters. Essentially, once logged in, Release the document for printing and Start. There may be a delay of up to 45 seconds before the print starts, usually when PDFs are printed.

To photocopy:

Login in as above and select Copy. Make any necessary changes by tapping on the screen.

To scan:

Login as above and select Fax/Scan. You can send scanned material to your own email address only. If you have any problems or queries please contact helpdesk@sel.cam.ac.uk (01223 3)35850. See also information about IT Facilities at Selwyn, and about University Desktop Services printing.

 Anatomical Models

Half-skeletons and skulls can be borrowed by medical students. We also have a model of the brain and a set of dog bones. Please ask at the Library Office.

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Library rules

Approved by College Council on 9 June 2015

  1. The Library is for use by Selwyn College members only. Visitors may be admitted only by prior permission from the Librarian.
  2. Doors must be closed securely on exit.
  3. All loans must be registered following the procedures displayed in the library. Items marked “For Reference only” or “Not to be taken away” must remain in the Library.
  4. The number of items that may be borrowed and current loan periods are displayed in the library. Extended borrowing may be permitted on application to the Librarian.
  5. All loans are subject to recall, and items which have been recalled must be returned within the period stated.
  6. Returned items must be placed in the designated places in the library.
  7. Items retained for longer than the permitted loan period, or which are damaged or defaced, will be subject to fines.
  8. Lost items must be replaced or paid for.
  9. Members are responsible for any item borrowed in their name until it is safely returned.
  10. Items held in closed collections, such as rare books, may only be consulted in the Library during supervised hours.
  11. Smoking is not permitted in the Library.
  12. Drinks in bottles or lidded cups are permitted in the Library; food is not permitted.
  13. Conversations should be kept to a minimum and not disturb other library users.
  14. Mobile phones, laptops, and other devices should be put into silent mode as appropriate and should be used in a manner that will not disturb other library users.
  15. Library materials may only be copied as permitted by the current CLA regulations (on display by the photocopier / MFD).

These regulations have been designed in order to promote equal access to resources for all students. Failure to comply with them may result in fines being imposed and persistent offenders may be subject to further disciplinary action. If you require clarification, or would like any advice in using the Library, please contact Library staff.

Staff and contact details

College Librarian:
College Archivist (part-time):
Assistant Librarian (part-time):
Library Assistant (part-time):
Ms Sonya Adams
Ms Elizabeth Stratton
Mr Michael Wilson
Ms Katie Turner

Selwyn College Library, Grange Road, Cambridge CB3 9DQ
tel: +1223-335880
fax: +1223-335837
e-mail: lib@sel.cam.ac.uk

The Library & Archives committee meets each Term and is chaired by the Senior Tutor.  It comprises 4 Fellows, representatives from the MCR and JCR, the Librarian and the Archivist.  College members are encouraged to bring suggestions and concerns to the committee via the appropriate representative.

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