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Catalogue Landing, Catalogue Hall and North and South Reading Rooms

The University Library is one of over 100 libraries of the University of Cambridge.

We are a Legal Deposit Library meaning that we can claim a free copy of any item published in the UK. There are over 9 million items housed in the UL including books, journals, maps, manuscripts and music scores. Since 2013 the Legal Deposit act has included digital copies. We'll talk about this more when we get to the Main Reading Room.

On the catalogue landing you will find a collection of PCs where you can search iDiscover; the Library's online catalogue. When you have found an item that you are interested in, make a note of the classmark. This is the unique code assigned to the book which will help you locate it. iDiscover will also tell you the location of the book. Around three quarters of the UL's collections are accessible only to staff, so we run a fetching service throughout the day to retrieve these items for you. Make sure that you are logged into your account on iDiscover to see if online requesting is available for your item.

On the balcony above the Entrance Hall there is a general Helpdesk. This is staffed throughout the day so if you have any questions or need help, this is a good place to start.

There are toilets next to the stairs leading down to the Entrance Hall, and a gender neutral accessible toilet and baby changing facilities available to the right of the doors leading to the catalogue Hall.

The glass doors lead to the Catalogue Hall. This is where the old catalogue volumes are held. Everything in these large, green volumes is now on iDiscover so there is no need to use them although they are a fascinating piece of the UL's history.

On both sides of the Catalogue Hall you will find small reading rooms. The North Reading Room contains more iDiscover PC terminals and has a traditional set up of desks and chairs. The South Reading Room has been designed for comfort, with arm chairs and sofas. Both of these areas are extremely popular so get here early to bag your favourite spot!

Walk through the Catalogue Hall and stop outside the doors of the Main Reading Room - our next stop.

Self-guided audio tour of the UL
  1. Entrance Hall and Locker Room
  2. Catalogue Landing, Catalogue Hall and North and South Reading Rooms
  3. Main Reading Room
  4. West Room
  5. North Wing 1
  6. Reading Room Corridor North and Rare Books
  7. Tea Room and Map Room
  8. Helpdesk