Cambridge University Library

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The Cambridge University Library is the centrally-administered library of Cambridge University in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. It comprises five separate libraries:
  • the University Library main building (commonly referred to simply as "the UL")
  • the Medical Library
  • the Betty and Gordon Moore Library (Centre for Mathematical Sciences
    Centre for Mathematical Sciences (Cambridge)
    The Centre for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge houses the university's Faculty of Mathematics, the Isaac Newton Institute, and the Betty and Gordon Moore Library. It is situated on Wilberforce Road, formerly a St...

    )
  • the Central Science Library (formerly the Scientific Periodicals Library)
  • the Squire Law Library.


Cambridge University has 114 libraries. The Cambridge University Library
Cambridge University Library
The Cambridge University Library is the centrally-administered library of Cambridge University in England. It comprises five separate libraries:* the University Library main building * the Medical Library...

 is the central research library, which holds over 8 million volumes and, in contrast with the Bodleian or the British Library, many of its books are available on open shelves. It is one of the six legal deposit libraries in the United Kingdom, therefore it is entitled to request a free copy of every book published in the UK and Ireland. It receives around 80,000 books every year, not counting the donated books. In addition to the University Library and its dependent libraries, every faculty has a specialised library, which, on average, holds from 30,000 to 150,000 books; for example the History Faculty's Seeley Historical Library
Seeley Historical Library
The Seeley Historical Library is the history library of the University of Cambridge, England. It is housed within the History Faculty building on the Sidgwick Site off West Road, Cambridge. Since October 2003, incoming books have been classified according to the Library of Congress scheme; before...

 possess more than 100,000 books. Also, every college has a library as well, partially for the purposes of undergraduate teaching, and the older colleges often possess many early books and manuscripts in a separate library. For example Trinity College's Wren Library, Cambridge
Wren Library, Cambridge
The Wren Library is the library of Trinity College in Cambridge. It was designed by Christopher Wren in 1676 and completed in 1695.The library is a single large room built over an open colonnade on the ground floor of Nevile's Court...

 has more than 200,000 books printed before 1800, while the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College possess one of the greatest early medieval European manuscript collections in the World, with over 600 manuscripts. The total number of books owned by the university is about 12 million.
The Library was housed in the university's "Old Schools
Old Schools
The Old Schools are part of the University of Cambridge, in the centre of Cambridge, England. The Old Schools house the Cambridge University Offices, which form the main administration for the University....

" near Senate House
Senate House (University of Cambridge)
The Senate House of the University of Cambridge is now used mainly for degree ceremonies. It was formerly also used for meetings of the Council of the Senate...

 until it outgrew the space there and a new library was built. The large site on the western edge of Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

 city centre is now between Robinson College
Robinson College, Cambridge
Robinson College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge.Robinson is the newest of the Cambridge colleges, and is unique in being the only one to have been intended, from its inception, for both undergraduate and graduate students of either sex.- History :The college was founded...

 and Memorial Court, Clare College
Clare College, Cambridge
Clare College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.The college was founded in 1326, making it the second-oldest surviving college of the University after Peterhouse. Clare is famous for its chapel choir and for its gardens on "the Backs"...

. The current librarian is Anne Jarvis
Anne Jarvis
Anne Jarvis is the first woman to be the university librarian at the University of Cambridge. She has held the office of Cambridge University Librarian since January 2009....

 — the first woman to hold the post — who succeeded Peter Fox
Peter Fox (librarian)
Peter Kendrew Fox is a British professional librarian. After eight years service in Cambridge University Library he moved to Dublin as deputy librarian of Trinity College in 1979; in 1984 he became College Librarian and Archivist...

 on 1 April 2009.

History


The library has existed in some form since the beginning of the 15th century. In 1416 William Loring bequeathed books to the library thus: "Item volo quod omnes libri mei juris civilis remaneant in communi libraria scolarium universitatis Cantebrigg' in perpetuum." The earliest catalogue is dated ca. 1424. From the 16th century onwards it received generous donations or bequests of books and growth was considerably increased once the privilege of legal deposit had been granted (it is still one of only three copyright deposit libraries in England under British law).

Architecture


The current UL building was constructed between 1931 and 1934 under architect Giles Gilbert Scott
Giles Gilbert Scott
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, OM, FRIBA was an English architect known for his work on such buildings as Liverpool Cathedral and Battersea Power Station and designing the iconic red telephone box....

, who also designed the neighbouring Clare Memorial Court (part of Clare College
Clare College, Cambridge
Clare College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.The college was founded in 1326, making it the second-oldest surviving college of the University after Peterhouse. Clare is famous for its chapel choir and for its gardens on "the Backs"...

). It bears a marked resemblance to Scott's industrial architecture, a famous example of which is Bankside Power Station
Bankside Power Station
Bankside Power Station is a former oil-fired power station, located on the south bank of the River Thames, in the Bankside district of London. It generated electricity from 1952 to 1981. Since 2000 the station's building has been used to house the Tate Modern art museum.-History:The station was...

 (the home of the Tate Modern
Tate Modern
Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in London, England. It is Britain's national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group . It is the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 4.7 million visitors per year...

). Its tower stands 157 feet (48 metres) tall, six feet shorter than the top of St John's College Chapel
St John's College, Cambridge
St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college's alumni include nine Nobel Prize winners, six Prime Ministers, three archbishops, at least two princes, and three Saints....

 and ten feet taller than the peak of King's College Chapel
King's College Chapel, Cambridge
King's College Chapel is the chapel to King's College of the University of Cambridge, and is one of the finest examples of late Gothic English architecture, while its early Renaissance rood screen separating the nave and chancel, erected in 1532-36 in a striking contrast of style, has been called...

. Contemporary reports stated that in opening the building, Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

 referred to it as "this magnificent erection", although this phrase is also attributed by tradition to George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

. The fictional "Dark Tower
The Dark Tower (1977 novel)
The Dark Tower is an incomplete manuscript allegedly written by C. S. Lewis that appears to be an unfinished sequel to the science fiction novel, Out of the Silent Planet. Perelandra instead became the second book of Lewis' Space Trilogy, concluded by That Hideous Strength...

" in the novel of that name (attributed to C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis , commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland...

) was a replica of this building. Contrary to popular belief, pornographic material
Pornography
Pornography or porn is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.Pornography may use any of a variety of media, ranging from books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video,...

 is not stored in the tower.

The library has been extended several times. The main building houses the Japanese and Chinese collections in the Aoi Pavilion, an extension donated by Tadao Aoi and opened in 1998.

Legal deposit library


As a legal deposit
Legal deposit
Legal deposit is a legal requirement that a person or group submit copies of their publications to a repository, usually a library. The requirement is mostly limited to books and periodicals. The number of copies varies and can range from one to 19 . Typically, the national library is one of the...

 library, it is entitled to claim without charge a copy of all books, journals, printed maps and music published in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. This has contributed to the library's large holdings of over seven million books and 1.5 million periodicals. The annual flare of the library is around 120.000 books. The library is open to all members of the University of Cambridge. As is traditional amongst British university libraries, research postgraduates and academics from other UK universities are allowed reference-only access to the library's collection, and members of the public can apply for access with an academic letter of introduction and on payment of a fee.

The library is unique amongst the UK's legal deposit libraries in keeping a large proportion of its books on open access and in allowing some categories of reader (for example Cambridge academics, postgraduates and undergraduates) to borrow from its collection. It has a well-used "Tea Room" in which full meals, snacks and beverages are available. The library regularly puts on exhibitions, usually free to the public, and featuring items from its collections.

Special collection



As part of its collection of more than 8 000 000 volumes, the library contains a wealth of printed and manuscript material from earlier times. This includes:
  • A copy of the Gutenberg Bible
    Gutenberg Bible
    The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed with a movable type printing press, and marked the start of the "Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of the printed book. Widely praised for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities, the book has an iconic status...

     from 1455, the earliest European example of a book produced using moveable type.
  • Library of Lord Acton
    John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
    John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, KCVO, DL , known as Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 8th Bt from 1837 to 1869 and usually referred to simply as Lord Acton, was an English Catholic historian, politician, and writer...

    , Catholic historian and Regius Professor of Modern History in 1885–1902. The extensive library (around 60 000 volumes) collected by Lord Acton for research was bequeathed to the University Library on his death. The collection contains books from the 15th to 19th centuries, with emphasis on European history and church history. Many of the books contain annotations in Lord Acton's own hand.
  • An archive of Charles Darwin
    Charles Darwin
    Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

    's correspondence and books from his working library (including copies of his own works).
  • The Hanson collection, containing important books on navigation and shipbuilding, as well as maritime atlases, some dating from the 16th century.
  • The Bradshaw collection, containing more than 14 000 books relating to Ireland
    Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

    , printed in Ireland, or written by Irish authors. This is one of the most important collections of its kind in the world. The collection was formed by Henry Bradshaw
    Henry Bradshaw (scholar)
    Henry Bradshaw was a British scholar and librarian.Henry Bradshaw was the son of Joseph Hoare Bradshaw, a banker. He was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, where he became a fellow in 1853...

    , d. 1886. At present, the emphasis is on books printed in Ireland before 1850.
  • The library of the typographer Stanley Morison
    Stanley Morison
    Stanley Morison was an English typographer, designer and historian of printing.Born in Wanstead, Essex, Morison spent most of his childhood and early adult years at the family home in Fairfax Road, Harringay...

    , who had close links with Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    .
  • "The Royal Library", an important collection of more than 30 000 books assembled by John Moore
    John Moore (Bishop of Ely)
    John Moore was an English cleric, scholar, and book collector. He was bishop of Norwich and bishop of Ely ....

     (1646–1714), Bishop of Ely
    Bishop of Ely
    The Bishop of Ely is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Ely in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese roughly covers the county of Cambridgeshire , together with a section of north-west Norfolk and has its see in the City of Ely, Cambridgeshire, where the seat is located at the...

    . The collection was bequeathed to the University Library by George I
    George I of Great Britain
    George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 until his death, and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698....

     in 1715, hence the name.
  • The library of the Royal Commonwealth Society
    Royal Commonwealth Society
    The Royal Commonwealth Society is an international educational charity and a private members' club. Its mission is to support and promote the modern Commonwealth, its culture and core values...

    , containing books, periodicals, pamphlets, photographs and manuscripts relating to the British Empire
    British Empire
    The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

     and the Commonwealth
    Commonwealth of Nations
    The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

    .
  • The Bible Society
    British and Foreign Bible Society
    The British and Foreign Bible Society, often known in England and Wales as simply as Bible Society, is a non-denominational Christian Bible society with charity status whose purpose is to make the Bible available throughout the world....

     library and the library of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK).
  • The Taylor-Schechter Genizah Collection, a store of 140 000 manuscripts and manuscript fragments, mainly in Hebrew and Arabic, from the Ben Ezra synagogue in Cairo
    Cairo
    Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

    .
  • Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis
    Codex Bezae
    The Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis, designated by siglum Dea or 05 , δ 5 , is a codex of the New Testament dating from the 5th century written in an uncial hand on vellum. It contains, in both Greek and Latin, most of the four Gospels and Acts, with a small fragment of the 3 John...

    , an important codex of the New Testament dating from the fifth century, written both in Greek and Latin. The Greek text is unique, with many interpolations found nowhere else. It was given to the University of Cambridge by the Protestant scholar Theodore Beza
    Theodore Beza
    Theodore Beza was a French Protestant Christian theologian and scholar who played an important role in the Reformation...

    , friend and successor of Calvin
    John Calvin
    John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

    ; hence the name.
  • The Cambridge Songs
    Cambridge Songs
    The Cambridge Songs are a collection of Goliardic medieval Latin poems found on ten leaves of the Codex Cantabrigiensis , now at the Cambridge University Library. The songs as they survive are copies made shortly before or after the Norman Conquest...

     (Carmina Cantabrigiensia), a collection of Goliard
    Goliard
    The Goliards were a group of clergy who wrote bibulous, satirical Latin poetry in the 12th and 13th centuries. They were mainly clerical students at the universities of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and England who protested the growing contradictions within the Church, such as the failure of the...

    ic medieval Latin poems, preserved on ten leaves of the "Codex Cantabrigiensis".
  • E.G. Browne
    Edward Granville Browne
    Edward Granville Browne , born in Stouts Hill, Uley, Gloucestershire, England, was a British orientalist who published numerous articles and books of academic value, mainly in the areas of history and literature...

    's collection of around 480 codices in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish.
  • Several composer archives: William Alwyn
    William Alwyn
    William Alwyn, CBE, born William Alwyn Smith was an English composer, conductor, and music teacher.-Life and music:...

    , Arthur Bliss
    Arthur Bliss
    ‎Sir Arthur Edward Drummond Bliss, CH, KCVO was an English composer and conductor.Bliss's musical training was cut short by the First World War, in which he served with distinction in the army...

    , Roberto Gerhard
    Roberto Gerhard
    Robert Gerhard i Ottenwaelder was a Catalan Spanish composer and musical scholar and writer, generally known outside Catalonia as Robert Gerhard.-Life:...

    , Peter Tranchell
    Peter Tranchell
    Peter Andrew Tranchell was a British composer.Tranchell was born at Cuddalore, India, on July 14, 1922, and educated at the Dragon School , Clifton College and King's College . During the Second World War he served, like his father, Col...

    .
  • Papers of Isaac Newton
    Isaac Newton
    Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

    , Lord Kelvin
    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin
    William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin OM, GCVO, PC, PRS, PRSE, was a mathematical physicist and engineer. At the University of Glasgow he did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging...

    , Ernest Rutherford
    Ernest Rutherford
    Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson OM, FRS was a New Zealand-born British chemist and physicist who became known as the father of nuclear physics...

    , George Gabriel Stokes
    George Gabriel Stokes
    Sir George Gabriel Stokes, 1st Baronet FRS , was an Irish mathematician and physicist, who at Cambridge made important contributions to fluid dynamics , optics, and mathematical physics...

    , Joseph Needham
    Joseph Needham
    Noel Joseph Terence Montgomery Needham, CH, FRS, FBA , also known as Li Yuese , was a British scientist, historian and sinologist known for his scientific research and writing on the history of Chinese science. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1941, and as a fellow of the British...

    , G. E. Moore
    George Edward Moore
    George Edward Moore OM, was an English philosopher. He was, with Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Gottlob Frege, one of the founders of the analytic tradition in philosophy...

     and Siegfried Sassoon
    Siegfried Sassoon
    Siegfried Loraine Sassoon CBE MC was an English poet, author and soldier. Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, he became one of the leading poets of the First World War. His poetry both described the horrors of the trenches, and satirised the patriotic pretensions of those who, in Sassoon's...

    , among others.
  • Archives of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.
  • Material and archives of the University of Cambridge, from probates and graces to records of various student societies.
  • Around 1.5 million maps.


Digitisation project


In June 2010, Cambridge University announced that a £1.5 million donation would allow them to start digitising
Digitizing
Digitizing or digitization is the representation of an object, image, sound, document or a signal by a discrete set of its points or samples. The result is called digital representation or, more specifically, a digital image, for the object, and digital form, for the signal...

 some of the collections in the University Library and eventually provide access to them free of charge over the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

. Initially the project will focus on two collections called "The Foundations of Faith" and "The Foundations of Science", which will include writings by Isaac Newton and his contemporaries, as well as documents from the Library's archives of Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic and Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 texts.

Staff


Abraham Wheelocke
Abraham Wheelocke
Abraham Wheelocke was an English linguist. He was the first Adams Professor of Arabic at the University of Cambridge, from around 1632. According to Robert Irwin he regarded it as part of his academic duty to discourage students from taking up the subject. Thomas Hyde was one of his...

 was librarian of the "Public Library" at Cambridge University, and was also Reader in Anglo-Saxon
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

 in the 17th century. Augustus Theodore Bartholomew
Augustus Theodore Bartholomew
Augustus Theodore Bartholomew was a bibliographer and a librarian at Cambridge University for over twenty-five years. He was the youngest child of a large family, his father having died shortly before his birth. He grew up in Fowlmere, near Cambridge, and attended the Nonconformist Grammar...

 was a librarian at Cambridge University for over twenty-five years. The classicist A. F. Scholfield was Librarian from 1923 to 1949. More recent University Librarians have included E. B. Ceadel, F. W. Ratcliffe (1980–1994), and Peter Fox
Peter Fox (librarian)
Peter Kendrew Fox is a British professional librarian. After eight years service in Cambridge University Library he moved to Dublin as deputy librarian of Trinity College in 1979; in 1984 he became College Librarian and Archivist...

 (1994–2009). Other notable members of staff include the bibliographer Henry Bradshaw
Henry Bradshaw (scholar)
Henry Bradshaw was a British scholar and librarian.Henry Bradshaw was the son of Joseph Hoare Bradshaw, a banker. He was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, where he became a fellow in 1853...

 and the poet Charles Edward Sayle
Charles Edward Sayle
Charles Edward Sayle was an English Uranian poet, literary scholar and librarian. He was born the son of Robert and Priscilla Caroline Sayle. He later served as an under-librarian at Cambridge University Library...

, author of a history of the library.

See also


Other Cambridge University departmental libraries include:
  • Seeley Historical Library
    Seeley Historical Library
    The Seeley Historical Library is the history library of the University of Cambridge, England. It is housed within the History Faculty building on the Sidgwick Site off West Road, Cambridge. Since October 2003, incoming books have been classified according to the Library of Congress scheme; before...

  • Pendlebury Library of Music
    Pendlebury Library of Music
    The Pendlebury Library of Music is the library of the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, England. The current building was completed in 1984, and was designed by Sir Leslie Martin. The library is located next to the West Road Concert Hall and the Faculty of Music's old building on the...


Some manuscripts
  • Cambridge University Library, Ff. i.27
    Cambridge University Library, Ff. i.27
    Cambridge University Library, Ff. i.27 is composite manuscript at the University of Cambridge. It was formed by adding a 14th-century Bury St Edmunds book to a compendium of material from 12th-century northern England . The latter compendium had once been part of Corpus Christi College Cambridge MS...

  • Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 76
    Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 76
    Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 76 is a letter to the strategus, written in Greek. The manuscript was written on papyrus in the form of a sheet. It was discovered by Grenfell and Hunt in 1897 in Oxyrhynchus. The document was written on 3 June 179. Currently it is housed in the Cambridge University Library in...


Descriptions of collections

  • Oates, J. C. T. (1954) A Catalogue of the Fifteenth-Century Printed Books in the University Library, Cambridge. Reissued: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    ISBN 9781108008488 Extracts
  • Reif, Stefan C. (1997) Hebrew Manuscripts at Cambridge University Library: a description and introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press ISBN 9780521583398 Extracts

External links