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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Library Guide

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Picture showing a student working within the library overlooking Fountain Court
Student working in the library

The library primarily stocks books, DVDs and anatomical models for part 1 of the Tripos. However some provision is made for part 2, clinical medics and graduates.  Readers are allowed to borrow up to 20 books at any one time.  The standard borrowing policies are available from the Borrowing from Cambridge Libraries Libguide.

Using the Library

Finding books

The library's catalogue can be found via idiscover from the dedicated enquiry machines on the ground floor, your own computer or any of the university managed machine.  There are guidance notes on searching beside the enquiry terminals. From the entries on the catalogue you will be able to see how many copies of a book are in the library, the editions, and whether they are available for loan.

The library operates on a Dewey decimal based classification system (a decimal number followed by the first three letters of the Author's Surname, e.g. 942.7 JOH), and the numbers ascend through the library with the lowest numbers in the basement and the highest on the top gallery. Some classmarks have a prefix signifying that they are part of a separate collection of books, and will be out of the normal shelving sequence. The main special sections are WOMEN (next to the stairs on the ground floor), F or FOLIO which signifies an outsize book (at the end of the first floor gallery), RAWSON (far end of the ground floor), GABE (beginning of the sequence on the second floor gallery),  and STORE (available on request from a librarian, only to be used in the library).

Borrowing books

The library has self-service borrowing, although books can be borrowed in the library office during staffed hours.  The self-service issue machine is located near the library entrance. You will need to scan in the barcode on your University ID card, enter your surname and then scan the barcode on the front of each of your books.  If there is a problem with the computer or if you have forgotten your borrowing card, please write the details in the borrowing book next to the terminal, including your name, author name, title and the book barcode, which begins with a "T" followed by five or six digits, e.g. T100587.

Returning books

Returned books should be placed in the Book Return Bins on the ground floor, which are located at the library entrance.

Renewing books

Standard loan books renew automatically, unless they are required by another reader. If books have been requested by another reader, they need to be returned within three days.  Short Loan books cannot be renewed.  

Requesting books

Books on loan to other readers can be requested using the library catalogue.  When requested items are returned you will receive an email advising you that the items are able to collect from the library office, during staffed hours.  It is not possible to request books which are available and on the library shelves.

Books on tables

By filling out a table reservation slip, you may keep up to five books for three days on a table before they are cleared and reshelved. All library books without reservation slips will be cleared from the tables each morning.

Other Library Resources

Medical models

The library has a selection of skulls and mini skeletons which can be borrowed for a week at a time.  We also have a reference collection of large scale models including a brain, torso, pelvis, lower limb and upper arm.  These are located in the basement display unit.  Please ask library staff for the key during staffed hours or ask the Porters for key 37a during evenings and weekends.

Films and Dvds

The library has a large collection of DVDs which support the Tripos alongside films for general viewing. All the titles appear in the library catalogue.  The library also has two external CD/DVD drives which can be used with your device for watching films. These are available to borrow from the Library Office.  Many more DVDs and CD-Roms are available at the University Library and departmental or faculty libraries.


The library does not take any periodicals, as hard copies are available at the University Library and departmental or faculty libraries.  The library subscribes to the Journal Coordination Scheme which allows access to thousands of journals, which can be accessed electronically through ejournals@cambridge.

Accessibility and support

The library provides support and equipment to make the library more accessible. Library staff provide a book fetching service for the upper floors.  We can work with you to discuss any specific needs or requirements you might have in terms of study space or access to resources.

The library has the following accessible equipment: coloured overlays, coloured paper for printing, magnifiers, an ergonomic keyboard and mouse.

Picture of students on a wellbeing walk during Easter termWellbeing

We know that studying can be stressful and aim to provide a relaxing and supportive environment.  During Michaelmas and Lent terms tea and coffee breaks are provided in the library at 3pm every Wednesday.  We also provide colouring books,     a sensory table, dvds and games, such as, Dobble, Fake News, Scrabble, and Bananagrams. 

During Easter term we provide wellbeing activities, such as jigsaw puzzles, the library nail bar and our weekly craft hour, where you can try bite size crafts.  We also collaborate with the college gardeners to provide wellbeing walks every Monday at 10.45 for 15 minutes.


Online information resources

Cambridge Libguides are subject and information guides which curate knowledge and share information on a variety of topics. Essentially they provide a portal to all the electronic resources available to the University, including databases, e-Books, electronic journals, newspapers, bibliographic referencing software and special collections. It is possible to select your subject to find all available electronic resources in your subject area, or you may choose to search the a-z list of databases or electronic journals. Some resources will require you to log in with your Raven password.

Electronic books

ebooks@cambridge provides all current members of the University with electronic versions of the most popular undergraduate textbooks, covering all Tripos subjects. If a title is available as an e-book, it will appear in library search with the location ‘EBook'. Clicking on the title will take you to a link where you can access the full text e-book.  ebooks@cambridge  also provides access to many ebook collections such as, Cambridge Companions Online, Cambridge Histories Online, Early English Books Online, and Wiley titles, to name a few.

Other libraries

Alongside the college library, students also have access their faculty library/ies and the University Library.

Department/Faculty Libraries

The departmental and affiliated libraries are specialist libraries that will stock subject specific items.  These libraries stock material for part 1 and part 2 of the Tripos, as well as material for graduate study. 

University Library

Around 60% of books and journals in the UL are stored in closed access areas. These items need to be requested in advance and fetched for you to use in the Reading Room or West Room. If the item you want has the message 'Order in Reading Room' or 'Order in West Room', you should normally be able to place an online stack request in advance via idiscover.