What Is the Best Cambridge Library? Top 15 Libraries

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Hagar Samir

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07 May, 2023

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8 mins read

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University Life

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Cambridge is a city on the River Cam in eastern England. Best known for its legendary university, it is one of the most famous cities in merry England. With greenery galore and beautiful old buildings as far as the eye can see, it's a popular getaway spot for Brits and tourists alike! 

Cambridge is a wealthy, fast-growing city renowned internationally for knowledge creation, the tech industry, and biosciences. There's something for everyone when it comes to entertainment in Cambridge! In addition, the city is also home to many world-renowned universities and high-quality institutions, making it an eye-catcher for local and international students. 

One of the highlights of Cambridge is its libraries; the city houses several world-renowned libraries that people love to visit from all over the globe. The University of Cambridge, for example, has over a hundred leading libraries that play a huge role in educating people and helping students achieve academic excellence. We’ve gathered a list of the top best Cambridge Library for you down below!

The Best Cambridge Library; Top 15 Libraries 

The most important things for a library to be successful and helpful are to provide the needed information for students, give them a place to study in peace and quiet, and offer them what they need from their resources in order to guarantee success. This is why Cambridge is known for having the best libraries there are! 

Cambridge Library

Wren Library, Trinity College

This Cambridge Library is considered one of the top places to visit in Cambridge because of the variety of activities there! This library has over 750 incunabula, the Capell collection of Shakespeariana, many books from the library of Sir Isaac Newton, including his annotated copy of the Principia Mathematica, the Rothschild collection of 18th-century literature, the Kessler collection of livres d’artistes, and over 70,000 books printed before 1820! 

In addition to the wonderful printed collection, the library also offers a digital library that provides its visitors with access to all the same books! Another important plus to this library is its atmosphere, where it’s known that it’s one of the very first libraries to have large windows, allowing readers to have a suitable amount of light and comfort. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Saturday.

  • Opening Hours: Monday-Friday from 9 am to 8 pm; Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. 

  • Address: Trinity College Library, Cambridge, CB2 1TQ

  • Fee: Free of charge. 

The University Library 

The University Library, another Cambridge library, is the main research library of the University of Cambridge. It is one of the most important libraries, as it is one of only six approved legal deposit libraries! It’s also the largest among the 100 libraries present at the University of Cambridge. The library is available to both Cambridge scholars and external researchers. This Cambridge Library hosts over 8 million valuable items, including maps, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, prints, drawings, and manuscripts! This variety gives the library a huge edge, as students will find the top things to do in Cambridge there!

Anyone over the age of 16 can use this Cambridge library, which is a huge opportunity for almost everyone to learn! If you have a full membership at the library, you can borrow up to 12 items. Also, there is an online catalogue that helps you know more about the library and the items it contains! The original location of this Cambridge Library was at the Old Schools near the Senate House until it outgrew the space there. Then, a new library building was constructed in the 1930s.

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Saturday

  • Opening Hours: Monday-Friday from 9 am to 10 pm; Saturday from 9 am to 4:45 pm.

  • Address: West Rd, Cambridge CB3 9DR, United Kingdom

  • Fee: Free of charge.

Cambridge Library

Selwyn College Library

Opened in 1929,  Selwyn College Library is another Cambridge Library that is considered one of the best! It is full of top things to do in Cambridge, and students enjoy visiting it! The library is the official collegiate library of the University of Cambridge. Selwyn’s Old Library is filled with rare books and collections, while Selwyn's Bartlam Library has around 35,000 books and over a hundred seats or study spaces. The Library is built in Victorian style, which adds a touch of elegance to it. 

The library has been in several locations since the foundation of the college in 1882. The current library was built by T. H. Lyon as a war memorial library in order to honour the fallen from the First World War. In addition to the general use textbooks and common print materials, there are also a lot of books and documents which helped the library grow and develop over the years. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Wednesday

  • Opening Hours: From 9 am to midday.

  • Address: 39 Grange Rd, Cambridge CB3 9AU, United Kingdom

  • Fee: The library is available to Selwyn College members. 

Forbes Mellon Library 

The Forbes Mellon Library, one of the leading libraries in Memorial Court, is an important part of Clare College. This Cambridge Library has about 30,000 books that cover various topics for both undergraduates and researchers. The library is known to be one of the most comfortable places for students to study and read. There is a common room that has comfortable chairs and some light novels. There is also a wide variety of books, including ancient texts and modern bestsellers. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Sunday

  • Opening Hours: From 8 am to 12 am

  • Address: Cambridge CB3 9AJ, UK

  • Fee: Free of charge

Pepys Library, Magdalene College

The Pepys Library of Magdalene College is the personal library collected by Samuel Pepys. It houses his original diaries, which is one of the most significant series of books. The library is open to the public, and one of the top things to do in Cambridge is to read these diaries. This 17th-century private library includes collections of books, manuscripts, documents, and prints. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Friday 

  • Opening Hours: From 10 am to 1 am and 2 am to 5 am

  • Address: Magdalene St, Cambridge CB3 0AG, United Kingdom

  • Fee: Free of charge 

Parker Library, Corpus Christi College 

Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, a world-renowned Cambridge Library, is known for its collection of mediaeval and Renaissance manuscripts. There is a vast collection of early printed books and over 600 manuscripts. This library is one of Europe’s most significant remaining Renaissance libraries. Matthew Parker founded its most important collection, which includes the sixth-century St Augustine Gospels. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Sunday 

  • Opening Hours: The library is open all hours of the day. 

  • Address: Trumpington St, Cambridge CB2 1RH, UK

  • Fee: Free of charge 

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Katharine Stephen Room, Newnham College

Katharine Stephen Room, Newnham College, was built between 1981 and 1982. The college’s principal, Katharine Stephen, Virginia Woolf’s cousin, was the first librarian there. The library is named in her honour. This Cambridge Library houses thousands of unique books, manuscripts, artefacts, and letters from the 1400s to the 1900s. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Sunday

  • Opening Hours: From 6:30 to 1:45 pm 

  • Address: Newnham College, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DF

  • Fee: Free of charge 

A.G. Leventis Library

This is another famous Cambridge library with a wide range of research materials for students. A.G. Leventis Library has a wide selection of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction relating to the natural world. There are over 8,500 books, 120 current magazine titles, and 780 back issues. The library specifies in Biology, Botany, Environment, Geography, Land Economy, Science, and Zoology. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Saturday

  • Opening Hours: Monday-Friday: from 9 am to 7 pm; Saturday: from 9 am to 5 pm

  • Address: The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QZ

  • Fee: Free of charge 

Central Science Library

The Central Science Library is another significant Cambridge library because of its academic significance. The library offers books and research papers for both undergraduate and graduate students. It offers a wide range of facilities for students who want to visit the library, including free computers, WI-FI, and an area to study. Students are able to socialise or get some rest. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Saturday

  • Opening Hours: Monday-Friday: from 9 am to 7 pm, Saturday: from 9 am to 4:45 pm

  • Address: Downing Pl, Cambridge CB2 3EA, UK

  • Fee: Free of charge 

Colman Library 

This Cambridge library (Biochemistry) is considered one of the most important libraries in the University of Cambridge. It was founded in 1914 and is open to undergraduates enrolled in the medical or veterinary field. Journals and serials are the majority of the library. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Saturday

  • Opening Hours: Monday-Friday: from 9 am to 7 pm; Saturday: from 9 am to 5 pm

  • Address: Department of Biochemistry, Building O, Downing Site, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge, CB2 1QW

  • Fee: Free of charge 

Emmanuel College Library 

Containing over 60,000 books, the Emmanuel College Library is one of the well-regarded libraries in Cambridge. It is filled with books in all majors for students to choose from. There is a range of study spaces for students. The library also has a wide range of facilities, including computer rooms, high-speed Wi-Fi, a networked photocopier, 33 lockers, a meeting room, a book stand, and laptop support. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Friday 

  • Opening Hours: From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

  • Address: Cambridge CB1 1JH, United Kingdom

  • Fee: Free of charge


Homerton College Library 

The Homerton College Library is an open facility that covers most subjects. The main goal behind the library is to provide students with top things to do in Cambridge. It supports undergraduates and postgraduates. There is a wide range of Children's Literature Collection and Multimedia Collections. There are also DVDs, CDs, and printed music available at the library. Students can borrow from the library using the students’ card. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Sunday 

  • Opening Hours: The library is open 24 hours

  • Address: Mary Allan Building, Homerton College, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PH

  • Fee: Free of charge 

Jesus College (Quincentenary Library)

This Cambridge library is the college’s working library. With over 60,000 books and other resources covering most courses, the University provides its students with all the knowledge they need to succeed. This library is one of the most world-renowned libraries in the world. It also offers Wi-Fi and study areas for students to study in peace and quiet. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Sunday

  • Opening Hours: The library is open 24 hours

  • Address: Cambridge CB5 8BL, UK

  • Fee: Free of charge 

Hughes Hall (Edwin Leong Library)

Hughes Hall (Edwin Leong Library) is a Cambridge library that is famous for its peacefulness and quietness. The library offers over 60 study spaces on two floors with free access to all areas. There are many books and resources available for undergraduate and master's students. The librarians there are available to help all students with whatever they need! 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Sunday 

  • Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday: 9 am to 5 pm; Friday-Sunday: 9 am to 4 pm

  • Address: Mortimer Road, Cambridge, CB1 2EW

  • Fee: Free of charge 

The Maitland Robinson Library - Downing College

The Maitland Robinson Library - Downing College, a Cambridge library, is a library that opened in 1993. It’s a private library that was designed by Quinlan Terry. There is a library catalogue that can be accessed via the OPACs (online public access catalogues) in the library, and it’s also available online! The library is available for students with valid university cards. Its main aim is to help educate its students and provide them with the information they need. 

  • Visiting Days: Monday to Friday 

  • Opening Hours: 10:30 am to 4:30 pm

  • Address: Cambridge CB2 1DB, United Kingdom

  • Fee: Free of charge for students with eligible university cards. 

The University of Cambridge, offering over 100 libraries for its students and the public, is one of the best! Not only does it help students gain more knowledge and perspective, but it also gives them free access to Wi-Fi, study spaces, and quiet places for them to rest. The top things to do in Cambridge are a lot and mostly free. Students can also find several accommodation options for them to choose from according to their needs, budgets, and preferences that are filled with all the amenities they need to facilitate their stay; visit Casita’s website for more information! 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What is the best Cambridge library?

The best Cambridge library is the University Library; it has books from all majors and is free of charge to all students. 

2. Are all Cambridge Libraries free of charge?

No, not all of them. Some libraries require a student ID or a subscription for them to be able to access the library. 

3. When do the libraries usually open? 

All Cambridge Libraries usually open at 9 am on Mondays, as it is the first day of the week. 


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