Using the Library
Students generally use material from the College's Working Library for their studies, but can also consult (and, in some cases, borrow) materials from the Music Hire Library, Law Library, Lower Old Library, Old Library, and Archives.
Before visiting the library
Working Library is the term we use for our main library (consists of 3 floors) that houses our 21st century material. The first floor is a Reading Room that also serves as a study area. Most of the material you will be needing for your course can be found in the Working Library.
Our Library aims to provide all books needed for undergraduate Tripos Part I papers, and as many as possible for Part II papers. Some material may also support postgraduate studies. Self issue machines, to borrow books without staff assistance, are to the left of the first floor in the Working Library.
Most students belong to three libraries during their studies at Cambridge University: College Library, Faculty/Departmental Library and the University Library. Each library has their own rules, opening hours and borrowing rights.
Christ's Library: Our Library aims to provide all books needed for undergraduate Tripos Part I papers, and as many as possible for Part II papers. We are a 24/7 library that offer study space for our members and a book recommendation service. We are on Christ's grounds and located right in the city centre of Cambridge.
Faculty/Departmental Library: Faculty and departmental libraries are designed to accommodate their subject and serve their own faculty or department. They are particularly useful when looking for physical or online resources specific to your subject. These libraries also have subject specific librarians.
University Library: With registration all members of Cambridge University can access and borrow at the University Library. Holding more than 9 million materials including specialized collections, this library is great for further research. The University Library is a copyright library, which means that it receives a copy of every book published in the UK as a legal deposit, either in print or digitally. Core materials can be borrowed or consulted in the University Library but do keep in mind the popularity of some of the materials.
Please have a look at this video that introduces Cambridge Libraries to prospective and current students.
Finding the Library is very easy. It is close to the main entrance of college as it is situated in First Court, making it easy to access at all times.
The Library is situated on First Court. First Court is where the Porters, The Buttery and the Chapel are situated. Next to "The Buttery", on the right hand side, there is a narrow corridor that leads to a patio and the Ground Floor of the Library. Follow the Library Corridor on the Ground floor up the stairs to the First Floor where the Reading room is situated. Please check out our visual aid video on how to get to our library and our College map.
Members of College are allowed access 24 hours a day, in both full term and vacation, using their University ID card. Readers are reminded not to admit non-members of Chrirst's to the Library. Surveillance cameras operate at all times.
Staff operating hours:
The Library is usually staffed 9am - 5.00pm, Monday to Friday throughout term and vacation. The library office is located on the first floor opposite the library entrance. At any time, staffing may be affected by meetings, training courses, annual leave, sickness absence and other factors, so users who need to be certain of staff help, eg students with a crucial deadline or visitors making a special journey, are recommended to contact Library staff in advance.
Alumni, members of other Colleges within the University, and all external visitors, should apply for admission by contacting Library staff in advance. Regrettably, during the pandemic, permission to visit is very unlikely to be granted.
The Library is accessible to wheelchair users at all times, and there is ramped access into the building. Users with special access needs are recommended to contact the Librarian and or Porters in advance of their first visit. For further information on disability services please visit our disability/assistive resources website (https://www.christs.cam.ac.uk/assist)
24/7 access using your library card
We have a number of resources to help you with your library visit in person or remotely
Quiet study zone:
The first floor is the Reading room and the only place for quiet zone studying in the Library. We have 60 seats of non adjustable two and four seater desks, with adjustable and non adjustable chairs. Each desk has a felt board to pin whatever materials you need. There are six MCS (Managed Cluster Service) computers in the Reading Room and two further terminals on the landing outside the Library entrance. You can use your own laptop and printing room (Mezzanine) in all areas of the Library. Make sure you register and set up with IT services.
Non Quiet zone:
You can book the Group study room in the Mezzanine by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also have the library corridor that is situated on the Ground Floor of the Library, the Library Corridor is a non quiet zone space/study space that has a number of armchairs and coffee tables where you can enjoy your food and socialize.
Additional study equipment:
We offer ergonomic/ accessibility equipment and stationery to help with your study experience in the library. We also have a section for visual stress such as colored overlays, printing paper and notepads especially useful for those suffering with dyslexia. They are located on the first floor, adjacent to the right of the library door. Additional stationery can be found throughout the library.
We offer remote services for our users (subject to staff availability). Please visit our Additional Resources website on further information. If you have any requirements, concerns or general questions you can contact staff at email@example.com or book an appointment to talk to library staff.
Please contact us for any questions or concerns. Library staff can access your account remotely or in person, Monday- Friday, 9-5 in the library office opposite the library entrance on the First Floor.
- Hot and cold drinks are allowed but please do not eat in the Library. We encourage students to take regular breaks away from the Library. The Library Corridor seating (corridor before entering the library) provides space for breaks and for eating.
- The books are for everyone so please don’t write in, use sticky notes or mark them.
- To keep the Reading Room a quiet environment, please have mobile phones on silent and take any calls in the Library Corridor.
- You are responsible for the health and safety of yourself and others.
Reserving a seat:
We have a limited number of spaces so we ask that students do not reserve the space for more than they need to, especially in Easter Term! Items left without an 'I Need a Break!' slip (or time-stamped more than 90 minutes ago) will be removed. We also have "Book reservation" slips that reserve books within the library for 3 days. Both slips can be found throughout the Reading Room on Floor 1.
You may leave your belongings at your library desk but they are your responsibility. Any items left for long periods of time will be placed in the "Lost Property" area opposite the self-issue machines on the First Floor. Lockers can be reserved for the storage of personal belongings. Please ask library staff for a key.
Situated on the Ground Floor of the Library, the Library Corridor is a non quiet zone space/study space that has a number of armchairs and coffee tables where you can enjoy your food and socialize.
The first floor Reading Room provides study space for library users. It is considered a quiet zone but sometimes can reach medium noise levels. It has a combination non adjustable two and four seater desks. A variety of adjustable and non adjustable chairs are available in the Reading Room. There are six MCS (Managed Cluster Service) computers in the Reading Room and two further terminals on the landing outside the Library entrance. The left side wall of floor 1 is windows. There are also individual fans available for extra ventilation if needed.
The library office is situated opposite the library entrance on the first floor. Library staff are usually available from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday. You can contact them in person, via phone (01223-334905) or email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Floor 2 and 3 (down the stairs !) :
Floor 2 and 3 are bookcases. You will need to go down the stairs (end of the corridor in Floor 1) to get to Floor 2 and 3.
Mezzanine (top floor):
Consists of the Printing Room, IT Consultation Room and Group Study Room. These rooms are situated on the top floor of the library (so up the stairs at the end of the corridor in Floor 1). Please visit our page for more information on Printing and IT services .
COVID-19 means that this is a strange new academic year for everyone in College, including the library. We work with Christ's College and Government guidelines to bring you the safest study environment possible.
Key facts for Library Use during COVID-19:
We are still open 24/7 , you simply need to use your university card.
Library staff will continue to wear face coverings when at work.
We have sanitizing stations around the library.
We ask our users to wipe all surfaces before and after use.
We encourage users to wear masks. We have created a "masks only" space in the library's group study room for users that feel uncomfortable sitting among others who are not wearing masks
If you have questions about any aspect of the library and its operations, please either come to the library (library staff are there from 9 a.m. until 5.15 p.m. on Mondays-Fridays), or send us a message at email@example.com.
Books can be borrowed and returned via the self-issue terminals in the Reading Room (instructions are provided next to the terminals) in the Working Library, First Floor. Please place returned books on the 'Returned Books' trolleys to the left of the self-issue terminals. Alternatively you can ask a member of staff
We follow a NO FINES policy at Christ's Library but do fine for lost books.
- Borrowing rights are available to all Christ's members. Non members can consult material in the Working Library but cannot borrow. Please check your own College, Faculty or Departmental Library and the University Library for their borrowing rights.
- For more information and visual guides on Finding, Borrowing, Returning and Renewing Books.
Part of your study experience is finding the right resources for you. You will be using iDiscover, our online catalogue, to search for books and online resources. Please visit our pages:
- For help on your iDiscover search
- To Learn more about Online Resources .
- For additional information such as Referencing or Subject specific Resources.
There are six MCS (Managed Cluster Service) computers in the Reading Room, two further terminals on the landing outside the Library entrance, and a Quick Print MCS computer in the Print Room. The "Christs" wireless network is available throughout the College, including the Library. You can also bring your own laptop.
Our library also consists of the:
Law Library : Accessible to Law students, it is a small study space with law textbooks for borrowing. Additional law material can be found in the Working Library.
Lower Old Library : Material can be borrowed from the 20th and 19th century sections. Material needs to be fetched by staff.
One of the many features of your library account is showing you how many books you have on loan from all libraries you have access to across the University, and whether you need to renew or return them.
- Contact library staff if you have any questions on the books on your library account. You can find us in person Monday- Friday, 9-5 or we can access your account remotely by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on iDiscover features please visit our iDiscover page.
What is a classmark?
A code (letters and numbers) indicating the subject of a book and its location in the Library by subject. Each Library has their own classmark system.
The example shows typical book information you can find from iDiscover such as availability, floor location of the book and its classmark. Can you find the classmark in the example picture?
(PDF To download the image)
We have a Poster on Classmarks and Book Locations to help you understand more about how the library is organised.
For further information on finding resources on iDiscover please have a look at our iDiscover page.
Answer: Gen Study Hop 2018
You can find books and online resources using iDiscover (https://idiscover.lib.cam.ac.uk). Enter the information in the search bar and then filter on the right hand side of the screen.
- Use key distinct words from your book information
- Use the filters to filter availability at Christ's Library
- Make sure you have the right book and edition
- Write down the information you need to find the book in the library e.g classmark an floor number
Questions to ask when searching on iDiscover:
- Do I have the right book or edition?
- Is it actually available at Christ's?
- What is the format of the book?
- Have I checked the information of the book with my reference?
For additional information on iDiscover and Online resources . We encourage our users to have a look at these pages as they provide visual aids and explain additional features and a more productive process in looking for resources.
Step 1: iDiscover search
- Enter few distinct key words from your title
- Author's surname
- Any distinctive additional information like year of publication or ISBN
Filters can be found on the side bar on the right of the screen or use the "Advanced search" on the top right of the search engine.
Step 2 : Getting your book/eresource
- Physical items: Go to the individual library book information on iDiscover. You will need a few clicks to get there. From there write down the "classmark" (letter-number code next to the library name) and the floor number. Come physically into the library and find your book on the library shelf by classmark and floor. For further information have a look at our page on Finding, Borrowing and Returning books.
- Eresources: Click on the link given on iDiscover to be directed to the host website. From there you will need to have a look what sort of access you have e.g can I have this as a PDF? Further information can be found on our page Online Resources
Step 3: Borrowing
- Go to the self-issue machines on Floor 1 of the library. Follow the instructions on the self-issue machines so you can place the book on your library account. You can borrow up to 15 items for 14 days.
You can also ask a member of staff to place it on your account in person or remotely. You will still need to pick up the book from the library.
You can manage your borrowed books by logging in to your library account
- For eresources you can simply access it online without coming into the library.
Step 4: Returning the book
You will need to physically bring the book back to the library if you are finished with it and wish to return it. Return the book at the self- issue machines on the First floor or ask a member of staff in person or remotely for help.
To finish place the book on the "return books trolley" next to the self- issue machines.
Ask a member of staff in person or remotely in any step of the above process. Email: email@example.com
- Floor 1,2,3 houses our 21st century material. The first floor is a Reading Room that also serves as a study area. Our Library aims to provide all books needed for undergraduate Tripos Part I papers, and as many as possible for Part II papers. Some material may also support postgraduate studies.
- The Reference section of the library includes Cambridge University examination papers from previous years, plus encyclopaedias and dictionaries.
- The library also has a “General Interest” collection of non-academic books and DVDs. The collection includes a Wellbeing and Academic Skills Collection.
- We provide the latest issues of a limited number of periodicals found in our display stands on the First Floor.
Accessible to Law students, it is a small study space with law textbooks for borrowing. Additional law material can be found in the Working Library.
Houses our 20th and 19th century material. The library team is working on a project to create records for previously unrecorded 19th century material in the Lower Old Library. These records are slowly becoming accessible on iDiscover.
Online cataloguing of our holdings is ongoing; if you have come across a reference to an item that does not appear in the University of Cambridge Libraries' online catalogue, iDiscover, please contact us.
We try our best to be as inclusive as possible to all our users. Please visit our dedicated page on Disability/ Assistive Resources for information on our accessibility and disability resources in Christ's and Cambridge Libraries.
If you for whatever reason cannot come to the library we offer limited remote services for our users. These services are subject to staff availability and some require for you to be registered with the Disability Resource Center. Please visit our page for our Assistive Resources.
- If you do not find the information you are looking for please contact the library team at:
Tel: 01223 334905/ 01223 33495
- Alternatively you can contact the Library Accessibility Service for Cambridge Libraries.
In our library we also encourage our students to take regular breaks. You can either use the Library corridor with comfortable sofas and armchairs or take a stroll at our college gardens. The city center is also a step away. Please visit our wellbeing page for information of library, College and Cambridge support for our users.
- Please also have a look at our page on Library Anxiety for tips on how to deal with it.
- You can also visit the Welfare and Support Christ's page for further information on services available to you. You will need your Raven password for access to that website.
- Have a look at our General Interest Collection on the First Floor that includes fiction and non fiction. It is also part of our wellbeing and academic skills collection on topics suggested by our own College Nurse such as sleeping, mindfulness, good nutrition, anxiety, exam preparation etc.
- You can pair that up with a number of apps available for meditation and mindfulness like "Headspace".
- The Internet Archive is also a fount of archived material, including books, films and music.
- And you are all eligible to join Cambridgeshire County Library service through studying in Cambridge - why not find your home library and join there too to access even more?
- The university also offers a number of resources and websites for its users such as the University Counselling Service and Student Wellbeing.
- For further information on exercise please visit the NHS page on exercise information and tips. Why not check out these NHS 10-minute workouts you can do at home?
The University has also collated a page of advice and resources specifically linked to coronavirus, which may prove helpful. Also you may find helpful reading about how the pandemic affects you mentally; Esther Perel blog post on "What is this Feeling? Anticipatory Grief and Other New Pandemic-Related Emotions"
We have an ever growing academic skills book collection for those who need some additional material in helping them tackle academic practices. The collection is situated opposite the self- issue machines on the first floor. It is part of the General Interest collection.
Have a look at the PFD Quick Academic skills Collection Guide that divides some of the many books in the collection under their relevant academic skill.