Using the library during COVID-19

**The library is currently open for pre-booked study sessions, book returns, borrowing and printing from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm Monday-Friday.**


The Ward Library is open to allow junior members and Fellows of Peterhouse access to limited study spaces. Please see below for information on access to the library. At the bottom of this page is a video tour showing you what to expect when you enter the library.

Do not use the library if you feel unwell. If you are unwell and need books please contact us at

If you are a new student, please see our online induction page:



Important: Face coverings/masks must be worn at all times when in the library, including when you are seated at desks. 

Entrance to the library is via the main door, and exit by the law library/theatre lobby door. There will be hand sanitiser stations by each door – please use these on entering and leaving the library to protect yourself and others.

Please be extra careful to maintain social distance of 2m around the entrance.


Opening hours

The library is currently open Monday to Friday, 9.30 am - 12.30 pm, 1.30 pm - 5 pm.

There is an hour break between sessions to allow for ventilation and cleaning.

Library opening hours will be under constant review and will depend on staff availability, cleaning, and government guidance.


Booking a study space

Seating has been reduced to 26 study spaces to allow for social distancing, so we have introduced a booking system. Bookings become available a day in advance. You do not need to book a space to enter the library to return or pick up books, or to use the printer etc. Remember that study spaces can only be booked by Peterhouse members. No external visitors are permitted in the library.

Book a study space:

You will need to “check in” at the front desk when you arrive in the Library so we can allocate you a desk.

There are two booking slots available Monday to Friday (9:30 am – 12:30 am, 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm). You can book up until the end of the slot, provided there are available places. Please leave promptly after your timeslot so that the study space can be cleaned. You may leave your belongings at your study space over lunch if you have also booked for the weekday afternoon or evening slot.

While working in the library you may take books from shelves for use in the library; however, please make sure that if you are handling books that will go back on the shelves that you are rigorous with hygiene.

If you will no longer be able to make your slot, please cancel so that someone else can use it. You can do this via the link in your booking confirmation email, or contact the library directly. To ensure fairness, repeated no-shows may lose desk booking privileges for a period.


Using the library without booking a study space

At the moment, you may enter the library without booking a slot to use the computer and printer, or to browse, return and collect books. Please come to the Front Desk first so that we can keep track of numbers in the library.


Borrowing books

If you wish to borrow items, we would prefer that you use our “click and collect” service - available Monday-Friday - by sending borrowing requests to This helps us minimise the number of people in the library at any one time. 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 10 books may be requested. Please include titles and shelf-numbers. 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 days they will be returned and re-shelved. This service is not available at weekends.

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. Please use the self-issue machine to check books out. Hand sanitiser will be available by the machine and you are asked to sanitise your hands before and after use. Please do not use anti-bacterial wipes on library books as this may cause damage. 


Returning books

If you wish to return items, you may leave them on the red trolley in the Front Hall so that they can be returned on the system by staff. Books will be quarantined for up to 72 hours before being reshelved.


Postal Returns 

College members who are not in Cambridge and cannot return their loans to the library can post these to us. Once you have put the books in the mail write to to notify us. Please attach an image or scan of the receipt together with the proof of postage.

The Library will then arrange for the postal cost to be reimbursed to you.


Computers and printing

The library printer will be available. Please take away any unwanted printouts/photocopies or put them in the recycling bin near the front desk. Only one person may use the Lower Computer Room at one time. Please make sure you clean the printer touchscreen with the provided wipes after use.

There will be a UIS computer available in the Upper Computer Room for up to 30 minutes at a time. Only one person is allowed in the room at a time. Please make sure you clean the keyboard and mouse with the wipes provided after use.

Note that the Computer Rooms will be shut 15 mins before the library's closing time. 

The usual Library catalogue terminals will not be in use in order to increase the amount of study spaces available. Please access the catalogue on your own devices here:


Other equipment

Shared equipment will not be available. This includes hole-punches, staplers, the guillotine, book rests, chargers.


Cloakroom and bags

You may now use the cloakroom again for your belongings.


Toilets and water cooler

The water cooler will be unavailable, so please bring any water you need with you in clear, securely-fastened bottles.

There will be one toilet available; the other will be staff-only. Please make sure you wash your hands for the recommended 20 seconds. There will also be hand sanitiser available in the cloakroom.

Because of the confined space, only one person will be allowed in the cloakroom at one time.


Library services if you're self-isolating

For details of the service we offer if your household is self-isolating, please see the Intranet pages on COVID-19


Scanning service

If you are unable to come into the library (for example, if you are self-isolating), we are also operating a scanning service if you only require a book chapter, subject to copyright rules (i.e. one article from a journal or chapter from a book, or up to 5% of the item, for personal use). Please send your requests to This service is available Monday-Friday only.


Postal services for students studying remotely

If you are studying away from Cambridge this term and need help accessing resources, please contact us and we will do our best to help. If you require books that are not available online - or you need more than a scanned chapter/5% of a book - for a dissertation, project or special subject, we will investigate the possibility of posting the book/s to you. For logistical reasons there would be a limit on the number of books issued per user. 


E-resources available during COVID-19

The University Library, together with publishers, have been making more digital content and e-resources available during COVID-19 pandemic. Please see for an A-Z index.

New e-resources have been added for this academic year; for details please see


This video will show you what to expect in the library when you return.