Using the library during COVID-19

*Procedures updated 24/9/21 for Michaelmas Term*

We will be relaxing some restrictions on using the Ward Library for the upcoming term. Our revised procedures are based on a new risk assessment and will be regularly reviewed, so it is important that the rules are respected. We want you to be able to have the best library service possible, with the health and safety of our users and staff as a continued priority.

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



Entrance/exit to the library on weekdays from 9am-4.45 pm is through the main entrance on Little St Mary’s Lane. At evenings and weekends, access is through the side entrance behind Fen Court (the law library/theatre lobby entrance). Your University card is required to open either door. Access is strictly confined to members of the College.


Opening hours

During term, the Library will be open:

Monday to Friday: 9am - midnight

Saturday: 9am - 10:30 pm

Sunday: 9am - midnight

Outside office hours (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm), the library will be staffed by student invigilators.

Library opening hours will be under constant review and will depend on staff availability, and government, university and college guidance. There may be occasions when we have to shut the library at short notice, if staff/student invigilators are required to self-isolate.


Study spaces

We have increased the number of available seats to 44 (plus 1 standing desk).  Please maintain the 1 + metre distance between spaces and don’t sit where there is a ‘Do not use’ sign.

It is no longer necessary to pre-book a seat to use the study spaces in the library. To be fair to other users, please do not “reserve” seats for long periods. Students are responsible for ensuring that tables and shared equipment are wiped down after use; cleaning materials are provided at various points throughout the library. 

When leaving the library ensure the space is ready for the next person; please do not leave any belongings behind on the tables.


Library face coverings policy

Face coverings/masks are still required when entering, leaving and moving around the library (except where you have a medical exemption). They may be removed when seated at a desk, except in the Computer Rooms and the Law Library. The Law Library will be a "masks only" space for users that may feel uncomfortable sitting among others who are not wearing masks. 


Borrowing and returning books

You can borrow up to ten books and 1 DVD for up to two weeks (or until the end of Full Term, whichever is the shorter period). Items may be renewed up to three times via your library account on the Peterhouse catalogue ( or the self-issue machine. Please see the library guide or library website for more details.

To borrow books, you can either use the self-issue machine or the library staff on the front desk can issue them for you.

Returned books no longer need to be quarantined. This means that we will revert to our pre-Covid procedures. All returns should be handed in to the Library Desk for staff to return them on the system; they will be handed back to you for you to re-shelve them.

Our "Click and Collect" service is still available for members of the College. Just email with details of up to 5 books you want to borrow and their classmarks. Subject to availability, we will put the books on your account and notify you that they’re ready to pick up from the collection table. Note that requests can only be fulfilled Monday to Friday 9-5.


Computers and printing

There is now a UIS computer in each of the Upper and Lower computer rooms. The printer is in the Lower Computer Room. Only two people may use the Lower Computer Room at one time. Please make sure you clean the printer touchscreen, keyboards and mice with the provided wipes after use.

Face coverings must be worn at all times in the computer rooms, even when you are seated at a terminal, as they are small spaces.

Note that the Computer Rooms will be shut 15 minutes before the library's closing time. The main College computer room is located in the Hostel, room 2A. This room has an A3 printer.

The Library catalogue terminal is now available again, near the cloakroom entrance. Or you can consult it on your own devices here:


Cloakroom and bags

Bags and coats must be left in the cloakroom. The cloakroom area is a small space, so please take care to limit the number of people in there at any one time to 3. Face coverings must be worn in the cloakroom and the toilets.



We will be opening the window in the Reading Room for extra ventilation, so you may wish to bring warm clothes!


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 Requests can only be fulfilled in normal office hours, Mon-Fri.


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.


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  the Cambridge Libraries e-resources page for more information.