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Library Overview - David Valinsky Photography Magdalene College Library

Library Overview

Welcome to the New Library at Magdalene College.

Your College library provides you with a place to study, access to resources across all subjects and help and support from Library staff.

The information on this page covers the basics to help you get started, a printable copy of our student guide is also available.  

If you are a new student who missed your induction or a returning student who wants a refresher please email us:

New Student Induction Timetable

Undergraduate inductions are arranged by subject, please come to the library foyer at your time. The tour will take 20-30 minutes and will cover the basics of using the College library.

Your induction should take priority over non-academic events but if you are unable to attend you can drop in the morning of Wednesday 4 October.

Postgraduate inductions are optional – please just drop in between 10am-4pm on Thursday and Friday, or you can email us to arrange a specific time.

Opening Hours and Access

The New Library is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout term time and vacation periods.

Access is via your University card - we are open to Magdalene College members only but you also have access to the University and subject Faculty Libraries.

Before arriving for the first time please update your card by scanning it on the card reader outside the Porters’ Lodge to activate access.

The entrance has automatic doors, there is a lift to all floors and there are disabled bathrooms on each floor.

Library staff

College Library staff are available to provide support in making best use of the Library and its resources and to answer questions and help with problems. We are available 9-5pm, Monday to Friday, please come and speak to us at the staff desk or send us an email.

We communicate important information via email (so keep an eye out for our emails) but also regularly update the website, social media and our blog (all @magdlibs).

JCR and MCR student representatives sit on the Libraries Committee, which meets once a term to discuss policy relating to the College’s Libraries. They can also be approached if you have suggestions for the College Library or issues you’d like them to raise with us.

Library Rules

The Library rules are in place to provide a safe and welcoming environment that is conducive to study for all users and staff:

  • The Library is for current Magdalene members only.
  • The Library is primarily for silent study. Please take conversations and phone calls into the social room or outside.  
  • Items must be borrowed before taking them out of the Library. You are responsible for them until they are returned and they should be unmarked and undamaged or you may be charged for a replacement.
  • Drinks can be brought in lidded containers but reusable cups/thermos’ are preferred. Magdalene KeepCups are available to purchase in the Library. Food can be eaten in the social space only.

Studying in the Library

We have over 90 study spaces available with a mix of individual desks, group desks, comfortable seating and window seats. There is also a social space (Rowan Williams Room) with a kitchenette for taking breaks and where you can have food and drink.

A Group Study Room with six seats is available to book on weekdays for group work and three bookable individual desks which are available to students who have disclosed a student support document. Please see the Studying in Library page for Group study room bookings and the Accessibility and Welfare page for further information and to book the individual desks.

Searching and locating items in the Library

Library collections are searched using the iDiscover website. The ‘classmark’ is the number which tells you where the book is in the Library.

A map can be picked up from the map holders throughout the Library, and can also be accessed on the Library Map page.

Please see the Library Collections and Finding Items page for more detailed information and you can always ask staff if you have any problems locating items.

Borrowing and managing your Library account

You can borrow up to 12 items at one time from the College Library and up to 200 items across all the University Libraries

Any item on loan to you will automatically renew every 7 days unless it is requested or until you return it.

If your loan is requested by another user you will have 3 days to return it.

The Library works on a self-service system for borrowing and returning books, with a self-service station on the Ground Floor and on the Second Floor.

For detailed information about finding and borrowing books, watch the video below and check our Borrowing webpage.

IT Provision

Wifi is available throughout the building and some desks also have wired network sockets. For wifi please use eduroam as it is available in all Cambridge University buildings across the city.

To connect to eduroam you will need a eduroam token for each device. To get this you should logon to using your raven username ( and password.

Full information is provided here including how to connect apple and android devices.

There is a printer/copier/scanner available in both the First and Second Floor copier rooms. Instructions for syncing your card with the printers, using them and printing from your own device are attached to the printers. 

Additional equipment such as an extra monitor, laptop stands, scanner pen and portable DVD player are available to borrow from the Library staff office.

Staying Safe and Emergencies

If the fire alarm sounds please exit the Library immediately via the nearest Fire Exit. There are two fire escape stairwells to the rear of the building on each side.

The fire muster point is on the gravel path in the Fellows Garden beyond the large tree.

Refuge Point

There are disabled refuge points at the fire escape stairwells to the rear of the building on the first and second floor.


Please come and see the Library staff at the desk on the ground floor or email us at if there are any issues.

Out of staff hours (9 AM - 5 PM, Monday - Friday) please ring the Porters Lodge (01223 332100) or press the button for the Lodge on the intercom at the entrance of the building to speak to them.

Do I have access to other Libraries?

You will have access to (at least) three libraries during your studies: your College Library, the Faculty (subject) Libraries and the University Library. You will automatically be registered with the relevant Faculty Libraries but you can contact others if you wish to register with them.

Each library has their own rules, opening hours and borrowing rights. You can find details of every library in Cambridge via this directory.

Please note that each College Library is only open to its own College members!

The University Library has produced a short Cambridge libraries introduction video.

Cambridge Libraries Introduction

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