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The Betty & Gordon Moore Library


Q. Am I allowed to use the Moore Library, and how do I join?

Full details are given in the Joining the Library section but in summary:

All University of Cambridge staff, graduate students, undergraduates, alumni/ae, and long-term visiting scholars may borrow from the Library.

Other individuals undertaking private or commercial research may use the Library on a reference-only basis. (Please note that charges may apply.)

To use the Library, you need to register here as a reader - this does not happen automatically. Please visit the Library between 09:30 and 16:30 Monday-Friday and ask to register at the Service Desk.

University of Cambridge readers must bring a valid University Card or University Library Card with them.

Readers without University of Cambridge affiliation must bring photo id and/or a letter of introduction.

It is normally possible to accommodate day visitors. Please identify yourself at the Service Desk and fill in a visitors form.

Q. How many books can I borrow? And for how long?

Please see the information provided on borrowing entitlements.

Q. Can I study in the library after staffed hours?

Full details are given in the 24-Hour Access section but in general this is a service restricted to registered University of Cambridge staff, students, and long-term visiting scholars.

The only cards we can configure for 24-hour access are University Cards containing a non-contact (Mifare) chip. If you would like, and are eligible for, 24-hour access but do not own such a card, please contact the card representative from your college or department to obtain one before visiting the Library.

Access to the Library outside staffed hours is for reference purposes only. It is not possible to borrow books or journals during this time, but items may be returned via the bookdrop in the foyer.

Please note that 24-hour access privileges will cease at the same time as Library membership. This means, in particular, that students will lose 24-hour access to the building after the completion date of their course.

Q. I'm not a mathematician - can I still use the Moore Library?

Yes - the Moore Library is open to all members of the University, no matter what your departmental / college affiliation might be.

Because our stock covers mathematics, physics, astronomy, computer science, materials science, engineering, biological, chemical, earth and environmental sciences we expect most usage from people affiliated to those departments. However, you are no less welcome to join the Library if you are studying / researching something else entirely. In particular, we have a significant number of readers who make no use of our stock at all, but just find the Library a good place to study.

Q. How do I search the library's online and print collections?

The iDiscover and Newton search facilities both cover resources across the University of Cambridge Libraries (including the Betty & Gordon Moore Library). Should you wish to learn more about iDiscover you can watch our tutorials or consult the iDiscover Cambridge LibGuide. Should you require assistance on the traditional library interface, Newton, there is a set of help files that will remain available until 2017. Please remember you can always ask a Librarian too.

Q. I've found a book I need on the catalogue. How do I get hold of it?

It is possible to place a hold on an available book or a recall on any loaned book from the Moore Library's main collection.

Holds will result in the item being kept behind the Library Service Desk awaiting your collection. They will be held for seven days before being returned to the shelf.

Recalls can be placed on your behalf by staff at the Service Desk, or you can set them up yourself from the iDiscover catalogue.

  • Please note: The recall procedure results in a shortening of the loan period for the current borrower, who will receive a system-generated message informing them of the new date by which the book must be returned. Once the book is returned, the system automatically generates a message informing the recaller that the requested book is ready for collection.

To place a hold or a recall on a Moore book using iDiscover, please follow the instructions at this link: Requesting and Renewing

Q. My books are overdue. How much will it cost me?

It depends what kind of item you have on loan, and whether or not someone has recalled it from you: please see current fine rates for details.

Fines are not charged for days or hours when the Library is closed.

Q. I'm going home for the vacation. Can I take some books with me?

There are two rules that apply here:

  • All loans during the vacation are subject to recall, in exactly the same way as they are in term time. This applies even to vacation loans to undergraduates.
  • No borrowed item may be taken or sent out of the British Isles.

So, if 'home' is within the British Isles, and if you will be able both to renew any borrowed items when necessary and to return any borrowed items that are recalled by other readers before the standard amended due date (typically 2-4 days after email notice is sent), this should be fine. Otherwise, you need to return your loans before you leave Cambridge.

Q. How can I return books when the library is closed?

There is a letter-box-style bookdrop on the ground floor in the lobby area of the library. You can find its location on the Library floorplan here.

Q. How do I use the computers in the Library?

There are four kinds of computer in the Library:

Catalogue and electronic resource terminals. These machines are available to all walk-in users and do not require a userid or password. They are intended for catalogue, database and e-journal searching of the material to which the University subscribes. It is not possible to use these machines for email or web browsing or to print and copy files.
Electronic Legal Deposit terminal. Again, this machine is available to all walk-in users without the need for a userid or password. It provides access to electronic legal deposit material, i.e. information resources that have been deposited by the publisher in a digital format. There is currently no facility for printing from this machine.
Desktop Services (DS) machines. These machines require a DS Account (available from, and administered by the University Computing Service), which is only available to University of Cambridge staff and students. DS printer credit may be purchased by using the Moore Library Kiosk terminal (positioned next to the printer on the ground floor), from the Service Desk or online; the printer is located on the ground floor of the Library.
CD-ROM terminal. A single, non-networked PC is situated on the ground floor of the Library, for the purpose of viewing CD-ROMs and disks from the non-book media collection. No password is required, and printing facilities are not available.

Q. Is there a wireless access hotspot in the Library?

You should be able to gain access to the UniOfCam (formerly Lapwing) and eduroam wireless services from any floor of the Library. If you are having trouble gaining access, please enquire at the Service Desk where staff can direct you to your nearest Wireless Access Point (WAP).

For non-Cambridge library users who wish to use wireless, please enquire at the Service Desk.

Please see our Wireless Access page for further information.

Q. How do I use the photocopiers in the Library?

If the section on our photocopiers here doesn't answer your question then please ask a member of library staff for assistance.

Q. Do you have any Reading List material?

Yes. Housed in our Reserve Collection on the ground floor, as well as items specifically requested by University supervisors, we have many copies from the Natural Sciences Tripos reading lists. Our NatSci Reading List Service provides a list of what we do and don't hold currently.

Q. Where are the maths exam papers from previous years?

Printed copies of the Part III Mathematics past papers from 1998 onwards are held at classmark Ref LF483 .M384 1998- in the Reference Collection on the ground floor of the Moore Library. These may not be borrowed, but may be photocopied within the Library

Past papers from the Mathematical Tripos (parts IA, IB, II, and III)NatSci Maths (parts IA and IB), and the MPhils in both Statistical Science and Computational Biology are all available online.


Q. Is there a designated area where I can work in peace?

Yes. There is a sound-proofed Glass Room on the lower-ground floor and designated "Quiet Areas" on the first and second floors. They are reserved for those wishing to work quietly.

Q. How do I log in to electronic resources with my Raven password?

There is a page of Raven FAQs available covering all aspects of obtaining and using your Raven password.

Q. Where will I find stock from the former Central Science Library and Materials Science collections?

For the foreseeable future books from the Central Science Library can be found on the ground and first floors. The journals that have been transfered from the CSL can be found on the lower-ground floor. Materials Science books can be found on the ground floor and journals on the lower-ground floor For more information, please ask at the Service Desk.

Q. What do I do in the event of a fire alarm?

In the event of a fire alarm please,

  • remain calm and make your way out of the building by the quickest possible route or follow the fire exit signs.
  • DO NOT use the lift. There are fire exits in each stairwell on the ground floor, and also on each side of the lower-ground floor.
  • assemble in front of the library and await instruction from the site Fire Officer

The library staff will check all floors to make sure that the library is clear.

There is more information on this in our Emergency & Fire Evacuation Plans section.

Q. Can I print from my laptop?

If you are a non-University of Cambridge member, then no.

If however you are a University of Cambridge member (you should have a cam domain e-mail address and a CRSid), are using the UniOfCam (formerly Lapwing) or eduroam wireless services and have a Managed-Cluster Desktop Services account (most current students and some staff) then you can print to the library printer on the ground floor. You will need to set your laptop or wireless device up using the instructions here.

Q. What is Secure Electronic Delivery or SED?

Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) is an inter-library loan term that applies to a method of electronic delivery. The method the library uses is the British Library's DRM Lite which enables us to supply encrypted documents (via a link in an e-mail) without the need for any special plug-ins.

When an SED is supplied the requesting end user will be asked to register for a British Library On Demand online account and then activate it. If they have one already, then they may simply enter their On Demand account username and password to open the document.

As the requested document is then locked to the user rather than a machine it means they will be able to open it on multiple platforms. The only tool their PC, laptop or device will need installed is Adobe Reader X or higher.

Further details on DRM Lite can be found here.

Q. What is Text and Data Mining and what TDM resources are available?

Text and Data Mining or TDM is a process through which large amounts of information can be analysed electronically.  This allows researchers to work through far more research content than they would ever be able to do manually.

For more information on how you can implement TDM, the advantages and pitfalls, and the resources to help you utilise the process, please see the TDM LibGuide that has been specially created by University of Cambridge librarians to help: 

Q. What is Open Access?

Open Access is simply making published research results freely available to anyone with an internet connection rather than keeping those results hidden behind a subscription paywall. For more information on why it's important how you can implement the practice, please see this section of the Mathematics LibGuide:

Q. Can the light timer delays be altered?

Currently, all light timers that are over work areas should stay on for an hour after initial activation - the lights will re-activate if you move around. We have to balance the need to provide appropriate lighting with our Green commitments (read here) to reducing the general use of energy and trying to limit the levels of light pollution. The latter being an issue for the local residents given the 24-hour nature of the site and this building in particular. Occasionally, the timer delays need a reset - please do report any issues to the staff at the Service Desk.

Q. Does the library have a water dispenser?

Yes. We now have a chilled water dispenser on each of our four floors. If a dispensing bottle is empty please enquire at the Service Desk and, if possible, a member of staff will replace it with a new full one for you.

Q. Why do you supply cone-shaped, rather than flat-bottomed, cups to drink from?

As a general library policy, we discourage the use of any form of open drinking cup. This is done to prevent accidental spillage onto books, furnishings and equipment (ours and yours!). Users are encouraged to use the cone cups attached to the dispensers and dispose of them in the bins provided, or bring their own bottles (those with lids) and fill them from the water dispensers. Also, please use the lids provided when purchasing drinks from the vending machine on the lower-ground floor.

Q. Why do the water coolers run out at weekends?

There are now water dispenser units on every floor. We will endeavour to ensure that each unit's bottle is replaced as soon as we are aware this is needed. That said, it is unavoidable, that occasionally all 4 units may run out at times when staff are unavailable to replace the bottle.

Please note: These machines are not the property of the library - they are rented from CoolerAid - and as such we have a responsibility to ensure that the process of replacing the bottles is conducted properly so as not to damage the unit.

Q. Can we bring a kettle in to the library to make our own hot drinks?

At the time of writing, the use of kettles, by readers, in the library is strictly prohibited. The risk of injury or damage is too high. Any kettles brought in by readers will be removed by library staff and returned to the reader when they exit the building. For those requiring a hot beverage, a machine has been installed on Lower Ground.

Q. The vending machine ate my money. Can I get a refund?

If you or any other user has trouble obtaining a product from either vending machine, please see a member of staff. We will then contact the company and request a cash refund.

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