Card catalogue and pen

FAQs

Please consult the list of frequently asked questions below.  For more information about the College Libraries please contact a member of library staff.

May I use the Library in the vacation?

You are welcome to use the Library  during the vacation and to return and borrow books. However, the Library is generally only open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the vacation. Please check the Vacation Timetable first (see opening hours).

Why is the Library not open 24 hours in term?

The Ward Library is open 9 a.m. to midnight seven days a week and is always staffed. The College does not propose to open the Main Library later than this for a number of reasons.

  1. The cost does not justify the low use made of the Library.
  2. It is difficult to recruit staff to work later than midnight.
  3. Surveys have shown that in other libraries, little use is made of them after 1 a.m.
  4. Libraries that are open 24 hours report - because there is no invigilation - book losses, abuse of library regulations, and litter increases during this period. Some libraries have now reverted to having closure periods.
  5. There is no opportunity for desk-clearing and cleaning in 24 hour libraries.

In the Easter Term the Law Library is kept open for an extra hour for study after the Main Library shuts. We have conducted surveys in the past about keeping the Law Library open later, but we have found that there is very little use made of it.

May I bring my bag into the Library?

Clear plastic bags and slim laptop bags may be taken into the library, all other bags must be unpacked and left in the Cloakroom area. Purses may be brought into the Library, provided that they are too small to contain a book. You will find that many libraries in Cambridge apply this rule: it is to prevent books from being removed from the Library, deliberately or inadvertently, without being issued. Were we to allow all kinds of bags into the Library, the staff would have to check every bag on entry and exit.

Why can't I bring bottles of water into the Library?

We provide a water cooler in the Cloakroom for students to use. We ask readers not to bring any food or drink, including water bottles, into the Library, since accidents will happen, and both books, and the mahogany and cherry-wood tables are easily damaged.

Can I leave things in the Library overnight?

We ask students to clear their desks at the end of the day for the following reasons:

  1. To allow the desks to be cleaned each morning before the Library opens.
  2. To ensure un-issued books are returned to the shelves so that other users can find them.
  3. To prevent the "reserving" of desks.
  4. To ensure that by the Easter Term, when all desks will be in use, everyone has a fair chance of finding a free desk.

In Easter Term specific tables will be provided for storing student work in the Library overnight.

Why can't my friend use the Library?

All college libraries forbid access to students from other colleges. Please do not bring other students in to the Library. Library staff have a duty to challenge any user they suspect as not being a member of Peterhouse. By the Easter Term all Library desks are in use by Peterhouse readers and we do not have room for others. If you wish to show a guest around the Library please check with the Library staff first to save the embarrassment caused if they have to challenge you. If you are showing a guest around the Library please respect other students working and do not take photographs of them; photographs may be taken of the building interior if done unobtrusively and sensitively.

Can I be a student Library Assistant?

One Undergraduate Library Assistant (one for each year) and one or two Graduate Library Assistants are generally appointed each year. These posts are very popular and there are always waiting lists. Assistants are required to be responsible, consistent, punctual, be IT-literate, be regular Library users, and to have good inter-personal skills. Please see the Librarian if you would like to be considered.