Skip to main content
St Catharine's College, Cambridge Search

Using the Library

A quick guide to the libraries of St Catharine's College

Below, you'll find advice and guidelines on using the College libraries. If you have any other questions, please get in touch with Library staff using the information at the bottom of this page - we're here to help!

One library or two?

Because of the constraints of space on the Island Site, the College houses its books in a number of different locations. The two most important places you’ll need to know about are the Sherlock Library (which contains books on art, modern and medieval languages (including linguistics), English literature, and cinema and theatre studies), and the Shakeshaft Library (which has everything else). The Sherlock Library is located near the top of E staircase, two floors above Hall. The Shakeshaft Library is located in Chapel Court. The library office is in the Shakeshaft Library.

Library opening hours

The College Libraries are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using your University card. The library office is usually staffed between 9.00 and 12.30, and again between 1.30 and 5.00, Monday to Friday.

Finding books

Most of our books are arranged according to the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme. In some areas of the Shakeshaft Library, the Dewey scheme has been subjected to local amendments. In the Sherlock Library, some of our books in German and French are arranged according to an older, alphanumeric scheme. We're phasing this out over the next year.

All of the Library's borrowable books can be searched for using our catalogue, which also contains information about online electronic resources.

Borrowing books

All current students, both undergraduate and graduate, may borrow up to 10 items at a time, for a period of two weeks. These books may be renewed if still required, for up to a period of eight weeks. Journals may not be borrowed, nor may any item in the Library’s reference collection (identifiable by a sticker on the spine). Fines of twenty-five pence per book, per day, are charged for overdue loans.

Renewing books

St Catharine's has integrated its systems with those of the University, Departmental, and Faculty Libraries, so you can view (and renew) all of your loans in one place.

You can renew your loan at any time through iDiscover: Click "My Library Account" > Login using your V**** number and surname > Click the titles of the books you want renewed.

Library staff

Colin Higgins is the Librarian. Sarah Fletcher is the Deputy Librarian. Pauline Kiesow is the Library Assistant. Tilda Watson is the Archivist. Sophie Anson helps out in her role as Sherlock Librarian for 2019-20. Louisa is the library cleaner.

For contact details of Library staff, please see this page.

Other collections

The Shakeshaft Library has a growing collection of DVDs, which may be borrowed in the same way as the library's books. 

The Shakeshaft Library also contains the Palmer Bequest of classical CDs. Items in this collection are available for borrowing - please see a member of Library staff for details.

The University maintains a collection of ebooks, to which the College contributes. These are best accessed through iDiscover.

Members of the University can also access numerous ejournals and online databases – students are advised to search for these through the iDiscover catalogue. If you’re unsure of how to use any of these resources, please ask a member of library staff.

The College’s rare books are slowly being catalogued online. In the meantime, the Library office contains card and printed catalogues for older books, manuscripts and special collections.

Suggestions for purchase

Feedback from Library users is always welcome. Purchases are made from undergraduate reading lists and on the recommendation of Directors of Studies. Sometimes important texts get overlooked – please let us know if you need something, and we’ll consider purchasing it for you. You can do this in person, by email, or using our online recommendation form.

Contact details

Colin Higgins

01223 338343
Email us