Access and borrowing

Who can borrow

Staff and students of the University may register to borrow.  Non-members of the University may be admitted for reading only (permission should be sought via email).

Access for readers with disabilities

Library users with a disability or health condition can access the library through the automatic opening doors in the faculty lobby. At the entrance of the library there is a large open area, fitted with desks and catalogue terminals, which can be used as a study area. Library staff are happy to fetch material from the shelves and assist with any enquiries.

If you would like further information about the general facilities and services provided for readers with disabilities, please see Cambridge Libraries: accessibility and disability guide

About this guide - Cambridge libraries: accessibility & disability - LibGuides at University of Cambridge Subject Libraries

The Seeley offers a 'Click and Collect' service for students who cannot access our collections. Please contact the library directly (via email) if you would like books to be made available at the reference desk so that you (or someone you select) can collect items.

Borrowing and returning

To borrow, please take your University Card and books to the self issue terminal or circulation desk.  Please note that items cannot be issued or returned in the last fifteen minutes before closing time.  Half an hour before closing, a bell will ring twice to signal the last fifteen minutes of this service.

When returning loans, please wait while each book is checked in and then take them to the returned book shelves. Never return books directly to the shelves as they will remain registered as on loan to your account and you will be fined if they become overdue or lost.

If you need to return books outside library opening hours you can post them through the external letterbox.

Borrowing rights

Staff, postgraduates and undergraduates have the same borrowing rights. 

  • Term-time: six items may be borrowed for seven days at a time.
  • Vacation: typically six items may be borrowed
  • Special Subject material: One day, or from Friday to Monday

There is extended borrowing over the vacations for all books, but please note that Special Subject material remains as One-day loan borrowing except when the library is closed. Special Subject material can be borrowed the day before the library closes for Christmas, Easter or the summer closure, and must be returned on the day the library reopens.


Lost items

A fine of £30.00 is charged for a lost loan and is not refundable if the item is subsequently returned. Outstanding fines must also be paid.

Acoustic Booth

The acoustic booth at the Seeley is available to book in advance for 1 hour time slots. If you have any questions please email