The Essential Freshers’ Library Guide

Harry Stockwell 7 October 2014

There will come a point in Freshers’ Week, perhaps during a painfully early meeting with your first supervisor, when you remember that frantic socialising isn’t the course you applied for at Cambridge. As an arts student, you may have a reading list as long as your arm, and if you are a science student then perhaps you need to find a space to do all those hours of ‘work’ you claim to have. For a solution to these problems (and more!) why not try one of Cambridge’s over 100 libraries.

College Libraries

The college library should be the first port of call for any first-year’s bookish needs. IHere you will find plenty of books (duh), study spaces, photocopiers, computers and most importantly (but be warned, most dangerously) friendly faces.
It is a well-known fact that during exam-term, finding a desk can require tactics normally reserved for hotel sun loungers and unfortunately, the fact that it will be full of people you know can lead to the development of various forms of near-silent group procrastination techniques But let’s not think about exams and revision just yet…

Subject Libraries

Venturing outside your college can mean an escape from these distractions. Conveniently located inside your faculty’s building, subject libraries will stock the books you are struggling to find in your college and provide a workspace nearer to your lectures and classes. If you are looking for specialist information for your subject then these are the places to go.

The University Library

The UL is one of the UK’s five legal deposit libraries, meaning that it is entitled to a free copy of every book published in the UK and Ireland. It is massive. Undergraduates have been known to spend days circling the book stacks in an attempt to find one book out of eight million. I have a somewhat overenthusiastic love of the UL, partly caused by a belief that if I walk around for long enough then all the knowledge will seep into me by osmosis. My supervision reports have yet to confirm this theory.

But don’t forget, whilst Cambridge has some of the best libraries in the UK, don’t spend all your time there…