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Welcome to Cambridge Libraries

Welcome to Cambridge! This Cambridge Libraries Introduction video introduces libraries across the University and its colleges. Captions are available for the video.

The Libraries Accessibility Service

The Libraries Accessibility Service works to provide equal access to services and resources. We work towards inclusive design where we can, and also help individual disabled students with adjustments.

The service is run by Patrick Dowson ( and Lindsay Jones ( You can also contact our team email address:

Please watch our Introduction to the Libraries Accessibility Service video to find out how we can help you. Captions and a transcript are available.

Physical access to buildings

There are over 100 libraries in the Cambridge library network (don't worry, you'll only use a few of them!). They occupy different styles and ages of buildings, and therefore some are more accessible in design than others. We regularly look at improvements that can be made to older and less accessible buildings.

A growing number of libraries are listed on the University’s AccessAble site. AccessAble provides detailed access information compiled by specialist surveyors.

Useful AccessAble links

AccessAble page for University Library

AccessAble page for Sidgwick Libraries Site

AccessAble page for New Museums Site

AccessAble page for Downing Site

AccessAble page for West Cambridge (Madingley Road) Site


For other libraries, see the advice on the Cambridge Libraries: Accessibility & Disability LibGuide.

COVID-19 might cause temporary changes to building layouts and opening hours. Contact library staff before visiting if changes might have an impact on you.

Making library resources accessible for you

The University continues to increase its access to electronic books, journals and other resources. Many can be downloaded and used with assistive software or adapted. However, not everything is available electronically, and some eBooks don't work well with assistive technology.

If you can’t use a book in the format we have it in, we can get or create an accessible digital 'alternate format' for your own personal use. Talk to your Adviser or contact the Libraries Accessibility Service at for more information.

If you have a downloadable resource you can also try converting it yourself into a variety of alternate formats using the self-service SensusAccess document conversion service


Adjustments and individual support

We are working towards services that are accessible and inclusive from the outset. However, some aspects of libraries are not immediately accessible to everybody. We can adjust and tailor services to meet the circumstances of individual students, whether ongoing or temporary. The list below (not exhaustive) gives an idea of some arrangements Cambridge libraries are often able to offer to students:

  • Providing 1-to-1 library inductions with a member of staff
  • Increasing the number of books you can borrow, if it is difficult for you to make repeated trips to a library
  • Allowing someone else to borrow for you, if you are unable to access a physical library for any reason
  • Fetching books for you and making them available for you to collect from easy-to-access spaces
  • Sourcing alternate format digital resources for you, if you are unable to access printed text or other content
  • Providing ergonomic furniture, such as adjustable chairs and tables, hand rests and foot rests
  • Providing specialist equipment such as screen magnifiers, screen readers and text-to-speech software

What is on offer differs between libraries. If you have any questions about what any particular library can offer, you can get in touch directly with them, or contact the Libraries Accessibility Service.

Useful Cambridge libraries websites

Cambridge Libraries: Accessibility & Disability

A guide to Cambridge libraries compiled by the Libraries Accessibility Service.

Cambridge Libraries: Accessibility & Disability

CamGuides: Information and Digital Essentials

Online educational resources for undergraduate and Master’s-level students. CamGuides includes guidance on academic skills, software for academic purposes and other key aspects of student life at Cambridge.

CamGuides: Information and Digital Essentials

Reading Lists Online: online reading lists for many courses at Cambridge

Reading Lists Online (you might hear it called Leganto) provides easy access to your course reading lists. It shows the library location and availability of physical books. It also gives links to electronic books, articles and websites, videos and digitised chapters. Reading Lists Online is used for many taught courses at Cambridge. Look on Moodle or other virtual learning environment (VLE) to find your reading lists.

You might have received an offer holders’ reading list. If so, this will have been created through Reading Lists Online.

Access Moodle

Cambridge Libraries Directory

Key information, including contact details, for libraries across the University of Cambridge and its colleges:

Cambridge Libraries Directory

Library Essentials: Welcome to Cambridge University Libraries

A guide for new students with the essentials for your first term.

Library Essentials LibGuide


Videos introducing Cambridge libraries and their services

Welcome to Cambridge libraries

This Cambridge Libraries Introduction video introduces libraries across the University and its colleges. Captions are available for the video.

Introducing CamGuides

Introducing CamGuides video presents the CamGuides online educational resources for undergraduate and Master’s-level students. Captions are available for the video.

Using Reading Lists Online

We have made various videos explaining aspects of the Reading Lists Online system. Full pdf transcripts are available for each of the videos.

How to access and use eBooks

A short video explaining how to search for eBooks and how to use them. The video has information conveyed by written text which is not spoken, however a transcript is available.

Get in touch

The libraries are here to support you as you begin and continue your studies at Cambridge. Please get in touch with any questions or suggestions you have. You can contact the libraries in person, over the phone, via email or online chat. The Libraries Directory lists contact details for your local library.

You can also get in touch with the Libraries Accessibility Service. Our email addresses are listed below:

Team email address:

Patrick Dowson:

Lindsay Jones: