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Who can use the College Library?

The College Library is only open to current members of Emmanuel College. Members of other Colleges are not as a rule permitted to use the Library. If, however, a student or academic from another College wishes to consult a book in Emmanuel College Library which is not available elsewhere in Cambridge, then an appointment can be made by contacting the Librarian on library@emma.cam.ac.uk.

When is the College Library open?

The Library is normally open 24/7 (24 hours per day) with the exception of the period between Christmas and the New Year when the College is closed. If the Library has to close at any other time, notices will be posted in the Library and the Porters’ Lodge, and on the Library Catalogue and website.

When is the Library staffed?

  • Weekdays (Monday–Friday): the Library is staffed between 0900 and 1700.
  • Weekday evenings (Monday–Friday, term time only): Student Library Assistants are on duty from 19:30–22:00.
  • Weekends (term time only): Student Library Assistants are on duty 1430–1700.

How do I apply to be a Student Library Assistant?

Student Library Assistants work evening and weekend shifts and most years there is in addition an active reserve workers’ list, i.e. a list of workers who can be contacted if someone is unable to work their shift.

To apply for either type of work please e-mail the Librarian on library@emma.cam.ac.uk.

You will need a National Insurance number and passport to establish your right to work, proof of home address (e.g. bank statement, utility or mobile bill) and to provide your bank account details. The rate of pay is the minimum wage hourly rate.

How many books can I borrow from the College Library and for how long?


Up to 10 books at a time can be borrowed for a period of 14 days. A maximum of 2 can be borrowed from the Short Loan Collection.


Up to 10 books at a time can be borrowed for a period of 28 days. A maximum of 2 can be borrowed from the Short Loan Collection.

What is the Short Loan Collection?

The short loan collection consists mainly of multiple clinical/medical science textbooks which are in high demand.

  • 24-Hour Loan (RED label on spine): 24 hour loan books must be scanned and returned and put on the returned book shelves or in the book bin by 2:30 p.m. the day after they have been borrowed.
  • 72-Hour Loan/3 Days (YELLOW label on spine): Both categories of short-loan books can be borrowed over the weekend. They must be borrowed after 12 p.m. on a Friday and returned before 2.30 p.m. the following Monday.

Only two short loan books in total can be taken out on loan at any one time.

Clinical Sciences Long Loan period CS [56]

There is a special 56 day loan period of core books for Clinical Science students. These books are shelved in a separate sequence and can be identified by green labels on the spine and the classmark CS [56]. The loan allowance is limited to FIVE books at a time.

How do I borrow a book?

There is a self-service machine near the entrance of the Library close to the Library Reception Desk.

  • To borrow a book Press ‘BORROWING’ on the touch screen, then scan your Emmanuel College Library card, i.e. holding the barcode upwards where the red line shows to the right of the desktop.
  • Place the books you wish to borrow (up to five at a time) in a pile on the desk where indicated. Do not remove the books too quickly from the desktop. As a guide count up to 10 slowly and then follow the next steps.
  • To complete the transaction either press FINISH or to obtain a receipt press PRINT.
  • The receipt will record the details of the books you have issued to your library account with their due date for return to the College Library. There are small corner pockets in the front of most books which can be used to store the receipt.

How do I return my books or DVDs?

Books can be returned using the self-service terminal near the entrance to the library. There is no need to use your library card.

  • Press RETURN on the touch screen.
  • Place up to five books in a pile on the desk where indicated.
  • Wait for the machine to record the details of each book.
  • Either press FINISH to complete the transaction or PRINT to obtain a receipt confirming the return of your books.
  • Place your books as instructed either on the Returned Books Shelves behind you or the Returned Books Bin.
  • DVDS should be returned to the DVD drop box in the left-hand side of the self-service desk.

If the Self-Service machine is not working, or the barcode will not scan

If this happens on a week-day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. please take your books to the Reception Desk and a member of the library staff will issue or return them for you.

At other times if the self-service machine does not work you will need to complete a Manual Loan Form for each book borrowed. The forms are on the trolley near the self-service machine. Please put a Manual Loan Bookmark in each book borrowed via a Manual Loan Form so that staff can identify them on their return.

All books borrowed via manual loan forms should be returned to the Returned books’ bin.

How do I renew my books?

Self Service Machine

Books can be renewed twice only using the Self-service machine. To renew a book or books press BORROW & ACCOUNT, and scan your Library card. Then press ACCOUNT, and then press either RENEW SELECTED or RENEW ALL depending on which books you wish to renew. If there is a cross against any of the books listed against your account this means that they are not available to renew.

If you wish to renew a book or books more than twice you will need to take them, plus your Emmanuel College Library card to a member of the Library Staff at the Reception Desk. Books can be renewed as long as another reader has not requested that particular title.


To renew your books online (twice only) use the Library catalogue:

  • Log in to your Library Account by clicking on Login (you will need your CRSid and your Library password).
  • Once you have logged in you can either click on Current Loans or MY PORTAL and Loans to show which books you have out on loan from the College Library.
  • Any titles which are renewable can be renewed by selecting RENEW SELECTED or RENEW ALL.

Fines for Late Return

Library books must be returned or renewed after 14 days (undergraduates) and after 28 days (graduates). Reminders are not sent by Library staff. Some reminder and overdue book e-mail alerts are generated by the automated library management system, not sent by Library staff, and must not be relied upon. Students are responsible for returning their books on time. If they exceed the time limit they are then fined.

Replacement Library Cards

A charge of £5 is made for replacing College Library cards. This amount is added to an individual's end of term bill.

The Library Catalogue

Emmanuel College Library books are listed in the College’s own Catalogue (Emmanuel College Library Catalogue) and also in the main University Library catalogue (currently Newton). For the most up to date information and to check whether a book is on order for the College Library use Emmanuel College Library Catalogue.

What if the book I am looking for is not on the Library shelves?

Check the catalogue to make sure that the book is not already out on loan to another reader. If it is on loan please either go to Library Reception with the details and the book will be recalled for you so that when the current reader returns it to the Library it is put on one side for you, or e-mail the details with your request to library@emma.cam.ac.uk.

If the book you are looking for is not out on loan to another reader first check the library trolleys and desks to see whether it has been left elsewhere in the Library. If that fails please report the details to Library Reception. The book may be at binding or missing. If it is missing it will be replaced.

Books needed for my course are not listed in the Library Catalogue

If the library does not have the texts you require for your course please complete a Book Suggestion Form and if possible get your Director of Studies to sign the form. Otherwise either contact the Library yourself via library@emma.cam.ac.uk or ask your Director of Studies to contact the Library. If a book is required urgently please note that on the form.

Book suggestion forms are available throughout the library next to the Library OPACS and on the 4th floor. You can also fill in an online book recommendation form.

All the copies of a book I need are out on loan. Is there an e-book available?

What is the Cloke Film Collection?

This is a collection of film DVDs available for loan from the library. The empty cases are shelved in the Main Reading Room. To borrow a DVD, please take the empty case to Library Reception. A member of staff will find the DVD for you and put it in the case. You will then need to take the DVD to the self-service machine and scan it on to your Library account. To return a DVD, please return it via the self-service machine as normal. If the Library is staffed please hand it in to a member of the Library staff or at times when the Library is unstaffed please put returned DVDs into the DVD drop in the left-hand side of the self-service desk.

Please note:

  • These DVDs can only be borrowed during hours when the Library is staffed.
  • A maximum of two can be borrowed at any one time.
  • The loan period for DVDs is 48 hours.

Are there any Library Rules?

Yes there are Library regulations, copies of which are issued to every student when they register to use the Library. The purpose of the rules is to make the Library a congenial place to work and to ensure that everyone has equal access to the Library’s books.

Can I eat and drink in the Library?

Food is not permitted in the Library. Drink is not permitted. There are only two exceptions; water in transparent bottles with sports caps, and the water fountain in the Readers' Common Room (The Wates Room). Conical cups are supplied for use in the Wates Room only, and must not be taken out of that room. Only conical cups can be used with the water fountain. Mugs, other types of bottles, cups and containers must not be brought into the Library. Food and drink (with the exception of water in transparent bottles with sports caps) must not be brought into the Library. Permitted bottled water should be kept in bags and not left on desks, shelves or any other Library furniture. Any bottled water left in the Library will be disposed of.

Popular Fiction Section

There is a small collection of popular fiction in the Wates Room (2nd floor). Two books from this collection can be borrowed at any one time. Issue and return the books in the usual way via the Self-Service machine at the front of the library.

The Library does not have a budget to buy popular fiction. All books in this section have been donated. If you have any works of fiction which are in a good and clean condition and which you no longer require please think of donating them to the College Library. The books will need to be catalogued and put on our library system so please hand them to a member of the library staff or mark them 'For the College Library' and leave them in the Porters' Lodge.

Library Lockers

Library Lockers are intended for use when readers are using the library to store for example a coat, bag or files. Keys are loaned for 24 hours only and cannot be renewed. Keys must be issued to your library account and returned using the self-service machine. If you lose a locker key please inform a member of library staff immediately. Lockers are not to be used for the hoarding of College Library Books. Any books stored in lockers for more than 24 hours will be removed and returned to the shelves. Belongings may not be left in the lockers overnight.

Book Rests & Laptop Stands

Book rests and laptop stands are available for 24 hour loan from the Library Reception desk between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (week days only). These must be issued and returned via the Self-Service machine.