Frequently Asked Questions

The Reference Library is now closed to the public except by appointment. For further details or other enquiries, please contact the library on or 01223 764398. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Who May Use the Reference Library?

The Reference Library is open to all who wish to make use of it. Please feel welcome to come in and browse the shelves.

When is the Library Open?

The Reference Library is open Tuesday to Friday, 10.00 -16.30. (Opening hours are not affected by University terms.) In common with the rest of the Museum, it is closed on Good Friday, Christmas Eve, and on such other days in the last week of December and the first week in January as may be determined annually.

What Does the Library Stock?

The Reference Library houses over 300,000 books, catalogues and periodicals relating to the Fine Arts, Applied Arts and Antiquities. Please note that material relating to coins and medals is held by the Department of Coins and Medals and rare books and manuscripts are held by the Department of Manuscripts and Printed Books, and enquiries relating to this material should be directed to these departments.

How do I find books/periodicals?

Details of most of the library's holdings may be found on the Cambridge University Union catalogue (Newton), which may be accessed via one of the three terminals in the Reference Library and elsewhere within the University; the catalogue is also accessible via the World Wide Web ( Some older material is still listed only on the card catalogues which are housed in the Reference Library. Details of most of the library's holdings may be found on Newton, the Cambridge University Union catalogue, which may be accessed via the three terminals in the Reference Library or via the World Wide Web. Some older material and dealer’s catalogues are still listed only on the card catalogues which are housed in the Reference Library.

Access to the Collections / How is the Library Arranged?

The Reference Library has books located in many different parts of the Museum. The Reading Room itself contains general reference works, art reference works, books on the fine arts, including: art, artists, painting and painters, as well as exhibition catalogues and journals. All are welcome to come and browse the shelves of the Reading Room.

Books relating to sculpture, decorative arts, antiquities, prints and drawings are held elsewhere within the Museum. To request books held in different locations within the museum, please fill out a 'Book Request Form'. These are located next to the catalogue terminals. Please hand to a member of staff for fetching. It is not generally possible to provide instant access to such material. Staff will do their utmost to fetch items by the beginning of the next working day. Readers are asked to give, where possible, advance notice of their needs, in order to avoid delay or disappointment.

Is there a Photocopier?

There is a self-service photocopier in the library. Photocopies may be made of books and journals, within the limits of copyright law (see below). Please bring change for the machine, which accepts all coins between 5p and £2.00.

Photocopying charges

          Black & white        Colour
A4           10p                    20p
A3           50p                  £1

How does Copyright affect me?

Please observe the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 when photocopying copyright material. It is a criminal offence to infringe this Act. Guidelines on copying copyright materials are displayed above the photocopier. For complex photocopying problems, please contact the University Copyright Officer.

Microfilm Reader-Printer Machines

The Reference Library houses microfilms of many of the manuscripts belonging to the Museum. These can be viewed on a reader-printer machine from which black and white print outs are obtainable at a cost of £1.35 per A4 copy.

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