skip to primary navigationskip to content

Frequently Asked Questions

Using the Library

Borrowing and Library Accounts

Print Collections


Computing, Printing, Scanning and Photocopying

Electronic Resources


Referencing and Data Management



Using the Library

Can I use the Classical Faculty Library?

All are welcome to use the Library for reference purposes during our listed opening times. Borrowing is restricted to current members of the University. Students and staff must register at the issue desk before they can be given borrowing rights. See our Borrowing page for further details.

Back to top.

Can I bring food and drinks into the Library?

Food is not allowed in the Library. Bottled cold drinks with lids are allowed, but hot drinks may not be brought into the Library. There is a water dispenser where water bottles can be refilled in the foyer of the Faculty, just outside the Library entrance.

Back to top.

Borrowing and library accounts

Can I borrow books, and if so, how long for?

See our Borrowing page for a breakdown of borrowing entitlements for current University members and official visitors.

Alumni and members of the public may use the Library for reference purposes, but cannot borrow books.

Back to top.

Are there any books I can’t take out of the library?

Our periodicals (found in the ‘Per’ section of the library) are not borrowable, except for some supplements. Our short loan collection can also only be used within the Library, unless borrowed within the last half hour of opening (see below). We also have a number of books which are reference only and can only be used within the library; these can be found both in the dedicated Reference sections (R and S) and throughout our main collection – those in the main collection will be clearly labelled as ‘Reference’ or 'Ref only' copies on the spines.

If you wish to find a borrowable copy of a reference book, we may have a non-reference copy of the same book. You can find these on iDiscover, or ask at the Issue Desk if you’re not sure. We can also help you to find loanable copies in other Cambridge libraries, where available. 

Back to top.

How can I see what books I have on loan?

You can log in to iDiscover’s ‘My Library Account’ service to see your active loans. This will display all books on loan to you from across the University’s libraries; those borrowed from us will display ‘Return to: Classical Faculty Library’ under their due date.

Back to top.

Can I renew my books? Is there a renewals limit?

Unless they have been recalled, you can renew books through iDiscover for a total of three times their initial loan period, e.g. a renewal on a 7-day loan will update its due date to 7 days from the date of the renewal, up to a maximum of 21 days from the date on which you originally borrowed the book. 

To renew items, log in to iDiscover, then click on your name in the top right corner and navigate to the ‘My Library Account’ section. The ‘Loans’ tab allows you to renew items singly, or to renew all of your loans. Clicking on the arrow button next to an item in this section allows you to view more details, including the ‘Maximum renewal date’. If you are reaching the end of your maximum renewal period and require your books for longer than this, providing they have not been recalled, please bring your books back to the library. You will be able to reborrow them if still required once they have been returned through the system.

Back to top.

Can I borrow books for the vacation?

We offer vacation loans to continuing undergraduates. Vacation borrowing begins at the end of Full Term, with books due back on the first day of lectures of the following term. The number of loans allowed is the same as during Term, with the exception that Short Loan items cannot be borrowed for the vacation.

Please bear in mind that books loaned for the vacation may be recalled by other readers. In this case, your loan period would be shortened and you would be notified by email. If this happens, please do get in touch with us as soon as possible after the notification, and we will try to source another copy of the recalled book if possible. If this is not possible you would need to return the book in person or by post. Overdue recalled books incur fines of 50p per item, per day.

Postgraduate and staff borrowing rules remain the same year round, regardless of terms - the 28 day loan always applies.

Back to top.

How can I pay my fines?

If you have a fine to pay, we accept cash at the Issue Desk, and can give change. We do not have the facility to take card payments at the Issue Desk, but online payment by credit or debit card can be made here. Please note that online fine payments must subsequently be entered onto your account manually by Library staff once we have received a notification, so your fines will not be cleared instantly.

Back to top.

Print collections

The book I need has ‘SL’ at the end of the classmark – what does this mean?

We have a number of books available on short loan, which have classmarks ending in ‘SL’, e.g. 'EP 17B 149.1 SL'. These are usually books which are on core reading lists and are therefore in high demand. Short loan books can be used for up to 3 hours, and only within the Library. The only exception to this is in the last half hour of our opening hours, when they can be issued on overnight loan and taken out of the Library. Overnight short loans must be returned by 10:30am the following morning (or by 10:30am on Monday morning, if borrowed after 4:30pm on Saturday). Overdue short loans accrue fines of £1 per item, per overdue hour (or part of an hour) – so a book borrowed at 6:45pm on a weekday in term and returned at 11:40am the next day would generate a fine of £2.

If you wish to use a short loan book, please ask at the Issue Desk. Please return short loan books to a member of staff rather than returning them through the self-service machine.

Back to top.

How can I tell from iDiscover if a book is already on loan?

When you search for a book in iDiscover, it will tell you how many copies we hold, and how many are available, under the ‘Get It’ section. For example, here our copy of Roman Artefacts and Society by Ellen Swift is unavailable, because iDiscover shows there is ‘1 copy, 0 available’:

Get It 

If you click on the name of the Library, further details will be given, including the reason for the item's unavailability - in this case, that it is on loan - and its due date for return:

On Loan

Back to top.

Can I place a recall on a book?

If the book you are looking for is on loan and there are no further copies available in our Library, you can place a recall through iDiscover. First, ensure you are logged in. Then, when you search for the book, click through to the Classical Faculty Library copy and click on ‘Request’. Enter your details. You can give an optional ‘not needed after’ date here, which helps us to return books to the shelves more quickly if they are no longer required.

Please note that we do not recommend logging in to iDiscover at the catalogue terminals in the Library as it is not possible to log out of Raven fully. If you are at the Library and wish to place a recall, we can do this at the Issue Desk for you – you will need your University card and the classmark of the book you wish to recall.

Back to top.

What should I do if the book I need isn’t on loan, but isn’t on the shelf either?

Because we are a busy Library, particularly during term-time, it may sometimes be the case that the books you need are in use within the Library but are not on loan. If a book is listed as having a copy ‘available’ on iDiscover (see above), but you cannot find it on the shelf, staff at the Issue Desk will be happy to help you locate it.

Back to top.

How can I recommend a book for the Library to purchase?

Please fill out the Book Suggestions form and we will consider your request for purchase.

Back to top.


My reading list uses a journal abbreviation. How can I find out which journal it refers to?

We have compiled a journal abbreviations list which aims to cover the majority of standard abbreviations. A print copy can be found next to the catalogue terminals in the Library. If the abbreviation you are looking for is not there, L’Année philologique’s Advanced Search includes a journal search by abbreviation. If you require any further help please ask at the Issue Desk.

Back to top.

Computing, scanning and photocopying

Is there WiFi access in the Library?

Yes, WiFi is available through the eduroam and UniofCam networks – please see our Computing and WiFi page for more details.

Back to top.

Can I print direct from my laptop/mobile phone/tablet?

Yes, if you are a current member of the University. Our printers are part of the centrally-administered DS-Print service. You will need to install a piece of software in order to print from your own device – please see the UIS instructions on configuration here

Back to top.

How do I scan in the library?

Free scanning is available on the multi-functional device in the alcove room at the back of the Library. Instructions are available next to the MFD.

Back to top.

Can I photocopy in the library?

Yes, photocopying is available to University members on the multi-functional device in the alcove room at the back of the Library. This uses DS-Print credit - you will need your University card or UL card to use this facility.

Back to top.

Electronic resources

The ebook/resource I need says it has ‘Online access restricted to designated PCs’. How can I read it?

This means that the resource is an electronic legal deposit item. We have one PC available which gives access to these resources. This is available on a first-come, first-served basis at the end of the catalogue terminals, next to the Issue Desk. This PC only accommodates standing access; the University Library, and several other faculty libraries on the Sidgwick site, offer e-legal deposit access with seating if required. Some also offer printing.

See the Electronic Legal Deposit Libguide for more information, including a list of libraries offering access.

Back to top.

How do I configure my computer for Greek resources and searching?

Thesaurus Linguae Graecae offers information on Greek fonts and downloads for your computer.

Back to top.


Is there a binding service?

Yes, please see the Binding page for further details.

Back to top.

Do you scan readings from undergraduate reading lists?

On the Faculty undergraduate Moodle site there is an area for ‘Library Resources’. Here we make available PDF scans of articles and chapters from undergraduate reading lists, where possible under copyright law. Access is restricted by year of the Tripos, e.g. Part IA students will not be able to access content from reading lists for Prelim, Part IB, or Part II. If you are unsure how to access these resources, please ask at the Issue Desk and we can show you how to find them.

Back to top.

Do you have a microfiche or microfilm reader?

We do have a microfiche reader available – please ask at the Issue Desk. We do not have facilities to read microfilm, but we can arrange for readers to use the microfilm reader in the Library at the neighbouring Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

Back to top.

Referencing and data management

Where can I go for advice on referencing and data management?

The Classics Libguide offers an overview of referencing options.

If you would like to find out more about data management or reference management software, take a look at Camguides. This is a free, open access resource primarily aimed at supporting taught Master’s students, but it contains information relevant to a broad spectrum of students and researchers. Camguides includes an introductory guide to Managing Information

Back to top.

Search the library collections across the University


Opening Hours and Contact Details

Library Opening Hours and Contact

The Library and Archives will be closed from 22 December until 2 January.

Full Term: Monday - Friday 08.50 - 19.00; Saturday 09.00 - 17.00 

Vacation: Monday - Friday 09.00 - 17.00; not open on Saturdays.

Please note: the Library door locks 10 minutes before closing time.

Tel: +44 (0)1223 335154

Archives Opening Hours and Contact

Monday: 10.00 - 16.00

Tel: +44 (0)1223 335167


RSS Feed Latest news

Rebecca Flemming co-edits 'field defining' new book

Dec 11, 2018

This book 'is the first to encompass the vast history of how living things procreate, from the banks of the ancient Nile to the fertility clinics of today.'

Ingo Gildenhard and John Henderson's new publication

Dec 11, 2018

The new course book on Virgil, Aeneid 11 (Pallas & Camilla) includes Latin text, study aids with vocabulary, and commentary.

2019 Outreach event list

Nov 22, 2018

We have now released details of the Outreach events that the Faculty of Classics that will be hosting or participating in during 2019.

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships at Cambridge

Nov 07, 2018

The Cambridge Classics Faculty invites applications to the 2019 round of the Leverhulme Trust early Career Fellowship competition.

View all news