Since its beginnings as a few dozen books kept in a chest, Cambridge University Library has grown over six centuries into a monumental collection of international importance.

This venerable institution is home to over eight million books, maps, manuscripts and journals that cover innumerable subjects and span 3,000 years of history in 2,000 languages.

Housed since 1934 in a building designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the library also now has a digital home, opening itself up to readers throughout the world. You can see a digital version of a beautiful Japanese manuscript teaching the art of flower-arranging, acquired in 2017 with Art Fund support, here.

The library continues to add to its physical collections, recently acquiring the literary archives of Dame Margaret Drabble and the war poet, Siegfried Sassoon, the Montaigne library of Gilbert de Botton, and the Codex Zacynthius, an important manuscript of St Luke’s Gospel.

With such rich treasures in its care, the library curates exhibitions and holds talks and special events, making its invaluable collections accessible to the general public as well as the world’s scholars.

Please note there is a charge to use the library (details here), but the entrance hall displays, exhibition centre and the digital library are free to all.

Cambridge University Library

Free to all

West Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB3 9DR

01223 333000


Opening times

Mon - Fri, 9am - 7pm Mon - Fri in Full Easter Term, 9am - 9.45pm Sat, 9am - 4.45pm Closed Sun

For holiday closures, please see Cambridge University Library website.

Exhibitions nearby

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