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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. Please do not bring friends from other Colleges in to the Library, or partners who are not registered as Emmanuel College students. This is not permitted. Spot checks will be made throughout the academic year. If 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 Emmanuel College Library Homepage (accessible via the link 'Emmanuel College Library Catalogue' on the library website).

When is the Library staffed?

  • Weekdays (Monday–Friday): the Library is staffed between 0900 and 1700
  • Weekends (term time only): Student Library Assistants are on duty 1430–1700

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

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

Graduates can also borrow up to 10 books at a time for a period of 28 days. a maximum of 2 only can be borrowed from the Short Loan Collection.

What is the Short Loan Collection?

The short loan collection consists mainly of multiple copies of clinical/medical science textbooks which are in high demand. These books can be borrowed for 24 hours only. Only two short loan books can be taken out on loan at any one time.

24 hour loan books have RED labels on their spines. They 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.

Clinical Sciences Long Loan period

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 ‘ISSUE’ on the touch screen, then scan your Library card, i.e. holding the barcode upwards where the red line shows on the white desktop. This will take you to your College Library account. Then place the books you wish to borrow (up to five at a time) in a pile on the white desktop. Do not remove the books too quickly from the desktop. Wait for the details of each book you are borrowing to appear on the screen. Each book entry should be shaded green. To complete the transaction either press FINISH or to obtain a receipt press PRINT RECEIPT. 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. The paper receipt prints out behind the computer screen. There are small plastic 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 NEXT, followed by 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 in the Book Returns Bin. DVDS should be returned the same way using the self-service machine but placed through the slot of the DVD drop box in the left-hand side of the self-service desk.

Help ! The Self-service machine is not working, or my books are not scanning !

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 have a choice of two options:

  1. Complete an on-line loan form. The form can be located in the Library section of the College website. Click on ‘Borrowing’ and beneath ‘Borrowing’ will appear ‘Online loan form’. Click on this wording to access the form. Five books can be borrowed via one on-line form. If you want to borrow more than 5 books you will need to fill in a second form. Fill in the data boxes on the form to borrow books.
  2. Fill in a manual loan form for each book borrowed. The most important information to provide is the barcode number of each book borrowed (the barcode can be found at the bottom of one of the front pages of the book), your name, plus the barcode number from your Emmanuel College Library card.The forms are on the trolley near the self-service machine. All books borrowed via manual loan forms should be returned to the Book Returns Bin.

How do I renew my books?

Self Service Machine

Books can be renewed THREE TIMES only using the Self-service machine. To renew a book or books press RENEW, and scan your Emmanuel College Library card. Then place the book/s you wish to renew on the white desktop.

If you wish to renew a book or books more than three times 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 on-line (THREE times only) go to the Emmanuel College Library Library catalogue link on the library website under ‘How to find books’.

Log in to your Library Account by clicking on Login. You will need your CRSid and your College Library password. Once you have logged in you can either click on Current Loans or MY PORTAL and Loans to display 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.


If you are unable to renew your books any other way please contact the library using library@emma.cam.ac.uk and ask for a member of staff to renew the books remotely for you.


Library books must be returned or renewed after 14 days (undergraduates), and after 28 days (graduates). 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. Junior Members alone are responsible for returning their books on time. If they exceed the time limit they are then fined.The overdue book alerts include information about fines.


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


All Emmanuel College library books are listed in the College’s own Catalogue (Emmanuel College Library Catalogue). Many of the books, but not all, are listed in the main University Library catalogue and can be searched for using i-Discover. For the most up to date information and to check whether a book is on order for the College Library use the College’s own catalogue.The College Library catalogue is accessible via the link ‘Emmanuel College Library Catalogue’ on the library website.

I cannot find the book I am looking for on the library shelves !

First check the College Library 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. Alternatively you can reserve/recall book/s on-line using your Emmanuel College Library account.

If the book you are looking for is not out on loan to another reader first check the library shelving 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 and needed it will be replaced.

Books I need 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 urgently are out on loan. Is there an e-book available?

Check to see whether there is an e-book available of the title you require.

e- books are not listed in the Emmanuel College Library catalogue. For e-books check the University’s e-book site ebooks@cambridge at https://libguides.cam.ac.uk/ebookscam

NB. A Raven username and password are required to access e-books off campus.

What is the Cloke Film Collection?

This is a collection of film DVDs available for loan from the library. The DVDS are shelved in the Main Reading Room (upon entering the Main Reading Room they are located approximately half way along the right hand side). To borrow a DVD 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, then put returned DVDS through the DVD drop slot in the left-hand side of the self-service desk.

Please note:

  • 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 and drnk are not permitted in the Library with the exception of water. Water can be brought into the library in clear containers with secure tops. In addition there is a water fountain in the Readers' Common Room (The Wates Room on the 2nd floor). 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. Water in containers should be kept in bags and not left on desks, shelves or any other Library furniture. Any bottled water left unattended in the library will be disposed of.

Self-care and Welfare, and Advice on academic writing and study skills and career advice

Books on these subjects are to be found on the 3rd floor on the shelves adjacent to the standing desk.

The Liberation Book Shelf

Liberation themed books are on one of the curvy shelves on the 4th floor. The books are labelled with the floor number ‘4’ on the spines. This selection was chosen by the ECSU Liberation Officer in 2021.

Popular Fiction Section

There is a small collection of popular fiction on the curvy shelves on the 4th floor. Two books from this collection can be borrowed at any one time.These books can be issued and returned in the usual way using 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 like a book 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 use in the library only. The loan period is 24 hours. These can be collected from the shelf above the Book Returns Bin near the self-service machine. These must be issued and returned like books via the self-service machine.

Library Games Cupboard

There is a small collection of board and card games kept in one of the cupboards in the Wates Room (2nd floor). These can either be used in the Wates Room or borrowed for 72 hours using the self-service machine. They cannot be renewed.

Essential On-line Guides


CamGuides is a set of resources for students beginning undergraduate, or taught Master's, degrees at the University of Cambridge. There are three separate versions:

  • CamGuides for Phds
  • CamGuides for Master's
  • CamGuides for Undergraduates

For more information see the CamGuides site.

Also see Cambridge LibGuides for guides to Cambridge library resources.