Adolphus Ward collection

Library induction

Welcome to the Ward Library. Together with the University Library and your Departmental/Faculty Library, we will support your study during your time in Cambridge.

This page provides information for you to familiarise yourself with the Ward Library's services and rules before you come to see us for the first time. 

For detailed information on using the library during COVID-19, please read these guidelines for both your own safety and that of others before using the library for the first time:


Library guide 2020-21

Our online Library Guide for 2020-2021 is available to download here:   

Library Guide 2020-21

This explains borrowing periods, vacation borrowing, IT facilities, and a contains map of the Library complete with subject classes. Be sure to read the library rules before using the library!


Access to the library

Remember that College libraries can only be used by students and members of that College. Members of other Colleges are not permitted to use the Ward Library, even if accompanied by a Peterhouse student. 


Opening hours

Library opening hours will be under constant review and will depend on staff availability, cleaning, and government guidance. Please see our opening hours webpage for current information: opening hours


Booking study spaces

Seating has been reduced to 26 study spaces to allow for social distancing, so we have introduced a booking system. Initially, bookings will become available a day in advance. You do not need to book a space to enter the library to browse, return or pick up books, or to use the printer etc.

Book a study space:

You will need to “check in” at the front desk when you arrive in the Library. If you will no longer be able to make your slot, please cancel so someone else can use it.


Quick visits

You can still enter the library without booking a slot to use the computer and printer, or to return and collect books that you have ordered using our "request and collect" service.

If you do need to browse the shelves in person, please come directly to the Front Desk and the Librarian will indicate whether it is safe for you to do so (depending on the number of people in the library). While browsing, please make sure that you practice good hygiene if returning un-borrowed books to the shelves.


Food and drink

No food or drink is allowed in the library. The exception is water contained in transparent, securely-fastened bottles.


Finding books


You can search for books and resources using both the Peterhouse catalogue and the University’s integrated catalogue, iDiscover.

Peterhouse’s catalogue can be found here: To log into your Peterhouse library account on the online catalogue, type your User ID (the five-character barcode from the back of your university card) into the box in the top right-hand corner and click 'Login to e-Library'. The default PIN setting is blank, so you should not enter anything in the PIN field. From the 'My Account' page accessible via the link on the toolbar you can check which books you have on loan, renew books remotely, recall books on loan, and create a PIN to make your account more secure should you wish.

iDiscover can be found here: For more information on iDiscover: For a good video explaining how to search for books and e-resources on iDiscover, please see this video from the Engineering Library:

(Note that you will not be able to renew Peterhouse books on iDiscover and they will not show up on your iDiscover account. We use a separate system.)


Borrowing books

If you wish to borrow items, we would prefer you to use our “request and collect” service by sending borrowing requests to When using this service, please first check that the items are available by searching our catalogue: (iDiscover will not show you whether Peterhouse books are on loan or not). Up to 5 books may be requested. Please include authors, titles and class-marks. We will notify you by email when your books are ready to collect, and they will be left on the table in the Front Hall of the library during opening hours. If they are not collected within 3 working days they will be returned and re-shelved.

If you do need to browse the shelves in person, please come directly to the front desk and the Librarian will indicate whether it is safe for you to do so (depending on the number of people in the library). While browsing, please make sure that you practice good hygiene if returning un-borrowed books to the shelves.

Here's a quick video showing you how to borrow books using the self-issue machine:


Borrowing allowances

Up to five books and one DVD can be borrowed for up to 2 weeks during term-time, and can be renewed up to 3 times. During the vacation this rises to ten books. All books are due back at the end of term before vacation borrowing begins; likewise, all vacation loans are due back before term borrowing begins. You will be unable to renew books past the end of term or end of vacation due date. If there is an exceptional reason why you need to keep books beyond these dates, please contact a member of library staff in advance.


Returning books

Please return books to the red trolley in the Front Hall. They will be taken off your account, quarantined for up to 72 hours and then reshelved. The fine for overdue books is 30p per book per day.


Requesting books

You are welcome to recommend books for purchase by the library. Please submit a request online via the Peterhouse Library catalogue or the web form on the Library pages of the College website. Every recommendation will be considered carefully by the Librarian and may be passed on to the appropriate Director of Studies.


IT provision

Please see this webpage for details about IT provision in the library:  Library IT facilities.  Before you come to use the printer you will need to add credit to your University Information Service account. Please see instructions here:  UIS guide to printing in the University.

If you have any problems with IT services you should contact the Peterhouse Computer Officers



University of Cambridge library services extend far beyond the physical library spaces. There are a good collection of LibGuides that will help you navigate what is on offer, including study skills and resources geared to your subject:

This year, online learning will make up a larger part of your experience in Cambridge than normal. Please remember that many more e-books and e-resources have been purchased by the University to support you during this period. You can take a look at the e-book LibGuide for more information:

Spacefinder ( is a useful way to help you find a study space (be it library or coffee shop) that suits you and your needs, and access information will be kept up to date during COVID-19 restrictions.

For a video introducing Cambridge Libraries (Raven login required):


Please contact us at if you have any questions or need any guidance using Cambridge libraries. We’re here to help!