The Ward Library
The Ward Library is the working library of Peterhouse. The Library contains a growing collection of more than 65,000 volumes in addition to two computer rooms. There is always a member of Library staff present to respond to enquiries.
The quick-start Library Guide can be downloaded HERE.
The Ward Library is open to all current members of Peterhouse.
Members of other Cambridge colleges may be admitted to the library to consult a book, but should contact the Librarian for permission prior to any visit. Access is usually only granted if the material is not readily available elsewhere in the University, and we are unable to grant access during Easter Term. External researchers wishing to consult special collections or archive material should contact the Librarian in the first instance.
The Library is open from 9am to midnight during term time, and usually 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, during vacations.
Access to the Library on weekdays from 9am to 4.45 pm is through the main entrance in Little St Mary’s Lane. At evenings and weekends, access is through the side entrance behind Fen Court (via the Theatre Lobby). Your University card is required to open either door. The Library is accessible only to Peterhouse members.
The Library collection is searchable via The University's integrated library catalogue iDiscover.
Use iDiscover to search for resources across all Cambridge Libraries, including books, e-books, journal articles and more. If multiple libraries (or “locations”) hold a title, you will need to click on the record to see the list.
You can limit your search to the Ward Library by selecting ‘Peterhouse’ in the drop down menu next to the search bar. The default is ‘All libraries’.
Most of our holdings will now be part of a shared record. Remember to click on the “Available at other locations” link to see information about our copy.
Peterhouse uses an in-house classification system. You will find the class-mark for each book on the spine label. Catalogue search results will tell you the location of the book in the library.
Main Library (Stack Area): Literature, ASNAC, History, Politics and Political thought.
Reading Room: Theology, Periodicals, Reference, Ward Collection.
Law Library: Law, Law periodicals.
Front Hall: Bibliography and The Book, Study skills, DVDs, Periodicals (latest issues), oversize collections, past exam papers.
Gunn Gallery: Science, Mathematics, Computer Science, Medicine, HPS, Philosophy, Psychology, Music, Visual Arts.
Gunn Mezzanine: Economics, Social Sciences, Education, Travel, Geography, Archaeology, Anthropology.
Gunn Reserve: Reserve collection. Please ask Librarian.
Basement reserve store: Please ask Librarian.
Old Library: Peterhouse collection. Please ask Librarian.
Reading lists online
Cambridge University Libraries Reading Lists Online shows the location and availability of print books on reading lists, with links to e-books and other resources.
The online reading list will usually show print copies available in your Faculty or Departmental library, but does not necessarily show you the print copies from all libraries, so it's a good idea to double-check the catalogue to see if we have what you need in stock.
You will need your University Card to borrow materials from the Library.
Students may borrow up to 10 items from the Ward Library at any one time. You can keep them for up to 14 days initially. You can renew items by logging into your account in iDiscover. Those who qualify for extended loans may borrow up to 15 items for 28 days initially.
All books on open shelves may be borrowed except for reference books and some periodicals. To access books in the reserve and special collections, please contact the Librarian.
Books are borrowed via the self-issue terminal in the Library entrance hall. You just need to scan the barcode on the back of your University Card and the barcode on the front of the book (not the ISBN barcode!) under the red scan line. If the system is not working, either fill in a manual borrowing slip or take your books to the staff member at the Front Desk.
Vacation borrowing starts on the last Wednesday of Full Term. Items renewed or borrowed on this date and over the vacation will be due back on the first Wednesday of the following Full Term.
Unlike some Cambridge libraries, we do not automatically renew books. This keeps items in circulation and helps prevent them going missing.
You can renew books online by logging into your library account on iDiscover (with your Raven ID) or by bringing them to the Library self-issue terminal.
If the book you want is on loan to someone else, you can place a hold for it if you are logged into you iDiscover library account. The borrower will be informed of the request and when the book is returned to the Library you will be notified. Recalled books can be collected from the Front Desk. Books cannot be recalled during the vacation period.
Please see this guide for step-by-step instructions for recalling books: Recalling books via iDiscover
Please return your books via the self-issue/returns machine in the Front Hall. Once you have successfully scanned your books back in, please leave them on the trolley to be re-shelved.
Overdue fines are charged at 25p per item per day, 50p per day for overdue recalls. Fines will be added to your College bill at the end of term.
If you lose a book, or you fail to respond to reminder emails, the replacement cost of the item will be added to your College bill.
Computers: There are two computer rooms in the Gunn Gallery. The Upper and Lower computer rooms host two computers each, connected to the University’s Managed Cluster Service, with a full suite of software.
Printing, photocopying and scanning: A multi-function colour printer, photocopier and scanner is available in the Lower Computer Room. Cambridge University Information Services (UIS) charges apply; these are 5p for an A4 black and white print/copy and 20p for an A4 colour print/copy. Scanning is free.
To print, you will need to top up your printing balance, which you can do online via DS-Print.
Wifi: Eduroam and Peterhouse wifi are available throughout the Library.
The main College computer room (which houses an A3 colour printer) is located in room 2B in the Hostel (the other side of Trumpington Street).
Further information on computing facilities is available on the College Intranet. Library staff will be unable to help you with setting up printing accounts or connection issues, so if you have any computing or printing problems, please contact Peterhouse’s Computer Officers via the IT helpdesk: email@example.com.
Although the College does not purchase e-books directly, we provide funds towards the centralised purchasing of e-books, online journals and other e-resources. As a Peterhouse student you have access to the University of Cambridge’s extensive range of online books, journals and databases. The majority of these resources are accessed via iDiscover and dedicated LibGuides.
Databases including dictionaries, encyclopedias, indexes, etc. can be accessed via the A-Z Databases LibGuide.
Within the cam domain you will not need a passwords to access e-resources. Off-site users will be prompted for their Raven password. You can avoid this by using the Lean Library extension, which saves your Raven password to make accessing online resources easy. Lean Library will automatically detect any articles that you can access through a Cambridge subscription when you are on other websites e.g. Google, PubMed etc.
The Library has bookstands, a laptop stand, chargers, chemical model sets, and dimmable desk lamps that can be borrowed for one-day use in the Library. Please ask at the front desk.
The Library has a collection of DVDs in the Front Hall. During Term, you may borrow one DVD in addition to your book allowance, and on the same conditions. During vacation periods, you may borrow two DVDs for the duration of the vacation.
We also have two external DVD drives that you can plug into your laptop or device via USB. These are kept at the Front Desk and you may borrow them for one week at a time.
Models for medics
First year medical students may borrow half-skeleton models and second year medical students may borrow model skulls for the duration of the academic year. We also have a model of the brain and various chemical models – please ask at the Front Desk.
Magazines and periodicals
The Library subscribes to a number of magazines, including Private Eye, TLS, New Scientist and The Economist. These weeklies, together with current issues of journals/periodicals, can be found in the Front Hall.
We are keen to ensure that every Peterhouse student can access and use the Library.
The Library is mainly open plan, with wide spaces between tables and book stacks. There is step-free access into the library through both entrances and a small lift up to the Gunn Mezzanine; if you think you will need to make use of the lift, please contact us.
The Main entrance has an automatic door; the Law Library entrance will open automatically if your University Card is set up with the correct access.
There are two unisex toilets in the Library cloakroom, one of which is designed for wheelchair users.
The Library has bookstands, a laptop stand, and dimmable desk lamps that can be borrowed for one-day use in the Library. Please ask at the front desk. There is also an adjustable standing desk near the magazine shelves in the Front Hall.
Some of the additional accessibility services we can provide:
- Book fetching. Many of the Library shelves are high and may require the use of a kick stool or step ladder. Library staff will be happy to assist or fetch books for you.
- You can ‘click and collect’ books if you are unable to access the library.
- We can provide one-to-one Library inductions tailored to your individual requirements.
- If you are registered with the University’s Disability Resource Centre, we can upgrade your Library account so you will have a longer loan period.
- If you need another person to borrow books by proxy on your behalf, please let us know.
Please contact the Librarian to arrange any of these services.
For information about alternative formats, assistive technology and other resources available through Cambridge libraries, please see the Accessibility LibGuide.
If we do not hold a book on your reading list, or that is essential to your research, you are welcome to recommend books for purchase. You can submit recommendations by either filling in a paper form in the Library (kept next to the Front Desk) or emailing the Librarian. Please provide as much detail as possible. College libraries are geared towards supplying core texts for Part I of the Tripos, so we may recommend that specialist requests from postgraduates are directed to their Faculty/Departmental library.
Requests will take at least 72 hours to fill.
We do not directly purchase e-books; please see the 'E-books and other resources' section for more details on how to recommend the University purchase an e-book.
If you are browsing for something to read, we have a display of new books in the Front Hall.
The Library rules are in place to ensure that all users can enjoy a pleasant working environment, and to keep Library material in circulation for future generations.
1. The Library is for the use of Peterhouse students and current members only. Readers are reminded not to admit non-members of Peterhouse to the Library.
2. Food and drink must not be brought into the Library. The exception is water contained in securely-capped, transparent bottles. For safety reasons, do not leave breakable glasses and mugs in the cloakroom.
3. Bags and umbrellas must be left in the cloakroom.
4. Keep noise to a minimum so as not to disturb those studying around you. This includes the cloakroom and Law Library. Mobile phones must be turned to silent and no calls can be made or taken in the Library, including in stairways and the Computer Rooms.
5. All books must be checked out using the computer via your University Card. Any user who removes a book without checking it out may face a fine.
6. Please re-shelve any book for which you have no further use. You are also asked to remove your possessions when you leave the Library for the day. Nothing should be kept in the Library overnight. We can take no responsibility for unattended belongings left in the library.
7. Books must not be marked, even in pencil, and damage to books will incur the cost of replacement.
8. Furniture or equipment must not be misused or moved.
9. Smoking (including the use of e-cigarettes) is not permitted anywhere in the Library building, nor immediately outside the exits and windows.
What do I do if the book I am looking for is not on the Library shelves?
Check iDiscover to make sure that the book is not already out on loan to another reader. If it is on loan, you may place a recall on it (Term Time only).
If the book you are looking for is not out on loan, it is worth checking the shelves around where the book should be, in case it has been mis-shelved. If you still can’t find it, please report the details to Library staff. The book may be at binding or missing. If it is missing, we will look to replace it.
The book I want is in Reserve Stock – how do I request it?
Please ask a member of Library staff, who will be able to fetch it for you to borrow. The only exceptions are rare or fragile books that may be read in the Library rather than borrowed.
I’m getting overdue reminders but I returned the book/s.
It may be that the book was not properly returned on the system. Please contact the Librarian and they will investigate for you.
Can I bring a friend from another college to study in the Library?
College libraries do not permit access to students from other colleges. Please do not bring other students into 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. There are alternate places to study in Cambridge if you want to study with a friend from another college, including Faculty and Departmental libraries and the University Library. You can also use Spacefinder to find study spaces to suit you, including for group study.
If you wish to show a guest around the Library please check with the Library staff first. 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.
How do I apply to be a Student Library Assistant?
Student Library Assistants work evening and weekend shifts. We usually have a roster of four undergraduate assistants and six postgraduate assistants, and often a reserve assistant. These posts are very popular and there are nearly always waiting lists. Assistants are required to be responsible, consistent, punctual, be IT-literate, be regular Library users, and to have good interpersonal skills. We usually advertise these positions in Easter Term.
The Library team are here to help you make the best use of the Library and its resources.
Ward Fellow Librarian: Mr Scott Mandelbrote
Librarian: Ms Sarah Anderson
Assistant Librarian: Dr Roz Green
Outside office hours, student library assistants will be able to help with basic enquiries.
To make contact with the Library, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone (01223) 338218.
For enquiries about the Perne Library: email@example.com.
Most students belong to three libraries during their studies at Cambridge: College Library, Faculty/Departmental Library and the University Library. Each library has their own rules, opening hours and borrowing rights.
Faculty/Departmental libraries stock subject-specific items for all undergraduate years as well as material for postgraduate study.
The University Library is a copyright library, so it receives a copy of every book published in the UK as a legal deposit, either in print or digitally. All current students of the University have borrowing rights at the University Library.
You may find the Cambridge Libraries Gateway an easier approach, providing links to many useful webpages.