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Welcome to the University Library. Emma Coonan Research Skills Librarian, Cambridge University Library. Orientation. This presentation should help you: Find your way around the UL building Learn about the catalogues and classmark system for our printed resources

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welcome to the university library

Welcome to the University Library

Emma Coonan

Research Skills Librarian, Cambridge University Library


This presentation should help you:

  • Find your way around the UL building
  • Learn about the catalogues and classmark system for our printed resources
  • Find out about our other facilities and services
about us
About us
  • Major research collection: c.8m items
  • National, Legal Deposit collection and academic library
  • Single-copy collection
  • Part of Cambridge library network: college, departmental, faculty libraries
  • Some idiosyncrasies!
  • Newton online catalogue: 5 million items – all academic material, plus everything from 1977 onwards
  • Supplementary catalogues: non-academic material 1800-1977 – ongoing re-cataloguing project
  • Specialist Reading Room catalogues
  • Start with www.lib.cam.ac.uk/newton
open shelf and closed access material
Open shelf and closed access material

Open Access:

over 2m items

depends on physical format and content

arranged by size

Closed Stacks:

about 5.5m items

specialist, rare, fragile or valuable holdings

security and conservation

open shelf material
Open shelf material
  • Broadly classified by subject
  • Distributed across 23 floors of the Library
criminology classmarks
Criminology classmarks
  • Criminology (general): 236 – South Wing 6
  • Psychology: 196 – South Wing 4
  • Law: 250 onwards – South Front 2

Our major holdings in Law are housed in the Squire Law Library (Sidgwick Site)

floor layout
Floor layout

Looking for a Periodical in the Book section (or vice versa) is the most common reason for not finding what you want!

size matters
Size matters
  • We arrange open shelf material according to size to make as much as possible open-access
  • Books on each floor are grouped in blocks according to their ‘size letter’: a (very big), b (big), c (standard), or d (small)
  • So 200-250.a precedes 200-250.b, which is followed by 200-250.c, and 200-250.d comes at the end
mind the gap
Mind the gap

The catalogue showed ‘Available’ but the book is not on the shelf!

It might be:

  • In process of being reshelved
  • Being read, or reserved, in any of 900 seats in 7 reading rooms, 23 open floors, 2 photocopying rooms …
  • Find a different edition in the UL’s collection
  • Search for another copy in a Cambridge library
  • Check to see if there’s an eBook version
  • Keep an eye on the catalogue and recall the book if borrowed
ordering closed stack items
Ordering closed-stack items
  • Items in the closed stacks have to be ordered
  • Fetch time is 30-120 mins – sometimes less
  • All reading rooms have order slips (not interchangeable between rooms)
  • West Room and Reading Room material can also be ordered via the Newton catalogue: save time by ordering before you come in
ordering closed stack items14
Ordering closed-stack items

Books fetched to the West Room must be read there -

books fetched to the Reading Room may be borrowed!


Open-shelf material (including bound periodicals) and items fetched to the Reading Room may be borrowed

  • Take your books to the Entrance Hall to borrow
  • You can have 10 items for 8 weeks
  • Renew online (via Newton) once
  • You can return books by post (best to register them)
it services
IT services
  • Digital Resources Area: 64 online PCs with Word, Access, Excel etc.
  • Registration required (one-off)
  • Printing in the DRA @ 10p/sheet
  • Wireless available in Reading Rooms and Tea Room (with Raven password)
other services
Other services


  • Self-service (requires DRA account and credit)
  • Imaging Services: advice and staffed service

Inter-Library Loans (Commonwealth Room):

  • £3 charge to university members - pay in advance in person

Tea Room:

  • Meals, snacks, hot and cold drinks
  • No books!
  • Please leave bags in locker room (£1 coin)
  • Please keep food or drink, including bottled water, for the Tea Room or courtyards
  • Mobile phones OK on silent mode. Please don’t talk! (except in Tea Room and courtyards)
  • Please don’t use scanners, cameras, MP3 players
  • Never mark a book: fine + replacement cost
  • Overdue charges - no upper limit
research skills programme
Research Skills Programme

At www.lib.cam.ac.uk/Courses/you can …

  • Find our timetable of subject-based sessions
  • Book for hands-on information skills classes
  • Request one-to-one training
  • Download these slides and other handouts

E-mail us at research-skills@lib.cam.ac.uk

thanks for coming
Thanks for coming!

Please let us know what you think …

Hand in your completed evaluation forms at the Tea Room to receive a free cup of tea or coffee