skip to primary navigationskip to content

Library Facilities

As a History student at Cambridge you will have access to your college library (all are well-stocked with history books), the University Library(which is a Copyright Library) and the History Faculty's own library, the Seeley Historical Library.

The Seeley houses one of the largest specialist History collections in the country and supports the full range of the Faculty’s teaching programme. It was first established in 1807 when John Symonds, Regius Professor of Modern History, gathered its nucleus of 1,000 volumes; in 1895 it was named in honour of one of his most distinguished successors, Sir John Seeley.

As part of the internationally-renowned History Faculty building, designed by James Stirling, the library now seats over three hundred readers and holds over 90,000 printed volumes for reference or loan (all students can also borrow from the University Library).

All new students are offered tours and talks on how to make best use of the library facilities on offer here and elsewhere in the University. The online Seeley guide gives further details of our very extensive collections, the online catalogue (iDiscover), opening hours, contact details and useful links. There are always staff on duty ready to help in locating the right information or items.

The Collection
The Seeley collection reflects the faculty's very diverse range of research and teaching interests as they have evolved over the years.  Covering almost every era, region and type of history, from political and intellectual topics through ancient, medieval, European and extra-European studies, the library acquires copies of most of the printed material recommended by subject specialists through very comprehensive reading lists.  You will find most of the reading for your essays and dissertations is available here in printed or online form.

Study Facilities

In addition to a traditional-style loan collection the Library offers constantly up-dated access to hundreds of Electronic Resources, networked through the University Library.

The Seeley houses 27 computer workstations which can be used to research and download material, write essays and print them, and also offers wireless network access for those who would prefer to bring a laptop or netbook.

DVDs of films, documentaries and even operas now form core resources for many undergraduate courses and the Seeley holds copies that can be borrowed to view in college or at home.