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7.5 Library


The Library and the materials and services it provides are here to support your studies and benefit all of our college community.

7.5.1 What we will do for you

In the Library you will find space for study where you can work quietly on your own or with others. If you want complete quiet, there is a silent study room upstairs.

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, often 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 form, make a note in the suggestions book, or call in at the library office.

With nearly 40,000 books, reference works, music scores, and DVDs, you will find plenty in Selwyn Library to support your studies. You also have access to thousands of ebooks purchased specifically for Tripos studies, plus a wealth of other online material.

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.

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

7.5.2 What we ask you to do

We ask you to share responsibility for looking after the Library. In practice, this means keeping your library account up to date and taking care of the Library and its materials.

To keep your library account up to date, you will need to monitor your online account and act on any library emails which are sent to your @cam address. If anything in your account looks wrong or you have any concerns, let the library staff know.

Please take care of the Library itself. Leave the aisles clear of books and bags and take your valuables with you when you leave the Library. 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, but please don’t eat in the Library. Noisy and smelly food can distract other library users and crumbs can attract pests.

Conversations can also be a distraction to other library users, so do be considerate: keep conversations to a minimum and take any phone calls outside.

Please also be mindful of the security of the Library and only let in other members of Selwyn. Visitors and students from other colleges are welcome to read books that are held here, but they should make an appointment with library staff to do so. This helps ensure that the books you and other Selwyn students need are available here when you need them.

We hope to see you on your introductory tour. We will show you where your books are shelved and give you a brief explanation of the Library and how to make best and most efficient use of what is available to you here and in other Cambridge libraries.

7.5.3 Special Collections

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

7.5.4 College Archives

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 donate material or to consult the collection by appointment (email: Photographic material in any format, including digital, is especially welcome.