skip to content

Here is some information on the ways we can help you when using printed books and journals from our collections.



Borrowing and returning books

Books can be borrowed and returned using the self-service machine in the library. Alternatively you can contact us and we can remotely issue the books onto your account. 

Please visit our Borrowing Books website for details of how many books you can borrow and for how long.

If you are unable to come into the library, you can ask someone else to collect the books for you (but if they are not a member of the department, access will have to be arranged first, please contact us).

For further information please see the Borrowing from Cambridge Libraries LibGuide.


How to set up someone else to borrow books on your behalf

This is called ‘proxy borrowing’. If you would like to allow someone else to borrow books on your behalf, please contact


Extended loans

If you are registered with the Accessibility and Disability Resources Centre (DRC) you will be entitled to 4 weeks instead of 2 weeks of loans, allowing you to keep books on loan out for 28 days rather than the usual 14 days. Books will automatically renew for further 28 day periods until they are returned or requested by another user. No fines are applied to overdue books, included those on extended loan.

You will receive an email if your book gets requested by another library user.

If you can't return a recalled book please contact us.

If you haven’t registered with the ADRC, library staff are here to help if you feel you need a loan extension, please contact us.

We can remotely access your library account to help with any issues.


Book fetching service 

If you are physically or mentally unwell or for whatever reason cannot come into the library, we can fetch the books for you for collection from the Library Office or elsewhere, if necessary.

Just contact us with a list of your books (title, author, classmark or iDiscover record permalink) or your enquiry. Library staff are available to fetch books on Mondays to Fridays only.

We will notify you via email when the books are ready for collection. Books can be collected and returned to the library whenever the department building is open and in accordance with this Access to the library table.


Books at other libraries 

Unfortunately we cannot return or renew your books borrowed from other libraries for you. Please contact the library the books have been borrowed from. Please visit the Cambridge Libraries directory for contact information. 


Limited Scan and Deliver service

If you are unable to come to the library we can scan a book chapter or journal articles from our print collections and email them to you.

We can only do this for items that are unique to our collections i.e. that are only available at the Chemistry Library. If the item you need is held at another library (even if it is also available at ours) please follow the instructions on the University Library’s Scan & Deliver website or contact us for advice.

Alternatively we welcome any Non-Medical Helper to help you with printing, copying or scanning. 

It is possible to use the copyright exception for disabled people to scan entire books for print-disabled students registered with the ADRC. Please find more information on Scan & Deliver on the Cambridge libraries: accessibility & disability LibGuide, in the Alternate formats section.