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Welcome to 2020-21

This web page is the definitive place to find information on Chemistry Library services during the COVID-19 outbreak. It will be updated regularly, so please check this page before visiting the library or emailing us to ask a question.

Access and opening hours

The Chemistry Library will primarily be used to host supervisions from 15:00 until 20:00 Monday to Friday, and all day on Saturdays, during term times. 

Here is how access to the library will work for Chemistry undergraduates, and research staff:

Chemistry undergraduates can only visit the library if they are attending a Chemistry supervision taking place in there, not to work: 

  • Try using SpaceFinder to locate study spaces available in Cambridge Libraries and other venues around the city.
  • Undergraduates can borrow books using the self-service machine only when in the library for a supervision, but the critical ebooks required for your courses should already be available (or will be soon) - please ask your lecturer.
  • Please visit our How to access online resources remotely page for essential information on how to access the ebooks, online journals and databases you need.
  • Cambridge University Libraries has produced this video for new students which introduces libraries at the University of Cambridge and its colleges. 
  • Remember that your college library can still support you, particularly with your teaching and learning needs, but also to help you feel part of your usual college community.
  • Find other library websites on the Cambridge Libraries Directory.

The only other information that applies to undergraduates here is in the 'Health and safety information' and 'Browse & Borrow' sections below. 

All other members of the Department of Chemistry are free to use the library as a working space when they are in the Department for other purposes e.g. while waiting for experiments to finish, or to plan experiments:

  • However, people should not come into the Department just to sit in the library - it is only to be used in parallel with work which requires you to come into the Department.
  • Note that after 15:00 supervisions may be carried out in the library and it might be noisy. 
  • Please see what services will be available below.
  • You will have access to the library at any time the building is open, which is presently 08:00-23:00, Monday to Saturday.

Non-members of the Department of Chemistry do not have any access to the library.


Any questions or issues regarding the supervisions process should be addressed to Dr James Keeler, Head of Department.

Health and safety information - important

  • Anti-viral cleaning spray and paper towels are available throughout the library. Please use these to wipe down equipment and desk surfaces before and after use.
  • Hand sanitiser is available throughout the library. Please use this to wash your hands regularly while in the library.
  • Avoid touching your face when using shared equipment and/or handling books.
  • You must wear a mask in the library at all times. The latest University advice recommends the use of face coverings for teaching sessions lasting longer than 15 minutes even where it was possible to observe the appropriate social distance (2m).
  • One-way systems are in place. 
  • Please keep 2m distance from other library users.
  • It is forbidden to bring food into the library.
  • Drinks (hot or cold) can be brought in to the library but only if they are in a sealed, spill-proof container such as a sports bottle, travel mug or keep cup. Department branded travel mugs can be purchased from the Cybercafe for just £4.50.

Remote access to online resources (i.e. journal articles, databases, ebooks)

Please see our How to access online resources remotely page for guidance. This is regularly updated.


Browse & Borrow

The self-service machine will be available for use to borrow and return books. Please sanitise your hands, and spray and wipe the machine, before and after use, using the materials provided there. Avoid touching your face and wash your hands regularly while browsing and reading books.

You can return books to crates provided in the department foyer if you want to avoid walking through the department and up to the library. Otherwise, please return books using the self-service machine, place the book(s) next to the machine, and library staff will re-shelve them for you.

Please see our Borrowing Books page for details of how many books can be borrowed, loan periods, etc.

Please see these blog posts on how to use the self-service machine to: borrow books; and renew books/see what you have on loan from Cambridge Libraries. If you have any problems using the machine please contact us at


All computers have been removed so you will need to bring your own device. You might be able to print wirelessly using the MFD, however, please see below. Power points are available on most desks and the library has WiFi (ChemNet, eduroam, UniOfCam networks).

Printing, scanning, copying

The MFD (MultiFunctional Device for printing, scanning, copying) will be available. Please sanitise your hands, and spray and wipe the MFD, before and after use, using the materials provided there.

Please see our IT Facilities web page (created pre-COVID but much of the information applies) for information on crediting your DS-Print account when using the MFD to copy and print (scanning is free of charge). This page also explains how you can use the Mobility Print service to print wirelessly to the MFD. Scans are created as PDFs and sent to your @cam address.

Chemistry Library: The Virtual Tour

Please watch our lovely new 3.5 minute video (many thanks to Photography & Reprographics!) which will give you a good idea of how the physical library space is usually organised.

Please see information below on what changes have been necessary to make to the physical space during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please see also this 360 degree image of the library (click on the 'Explore 360' link and use the arrows to view and move around the space, and click on the 'i' buttons for further information).

Changes to the physical space due to COVID-19:

  • All IT equipment has been removed, except for the MFD and self-service machine. Please see above.
  • The Wellbeing Area has been taken out of use.
  • Highly 'touchable' items including the molecular models, book rests, scrap paper box, and the Raspberry Pis have been removed.
  • All furniture not required for supervisions has been taken out of use (i.e. comfy seating area, chairs, bean bags).
  • Heaters, fan, and blankets have been removed.

Training and research skills support

The Chemistry Library will be delivering online training and induction as part of the department's Graduate Education Programme (Information Systems theme).

The Cambridge University Libraries Research Skills Programme is available again. It offers modules in Publishing in Journals, Publishing in Academic Books, Copyright and Licences, Research Data Management, Searching the Literature, Build Your Online Profile, and Research Metrics.

There is Physical Sciences support, and the Betty & Gordon Moore Library has produced some excellent short videos. Find out how they can help you by watching this very short video. They also have produced an Online Learning Hub which offers modules on Finding & Using Sources, Research Data, Copyright, Open Access, Publishing & Promotion, and Metrics & Impact.

Open research training (on open access and open data related topics) and guidance is delivered by the Office of Scholarly Communication.

Other Cambridge Libraries services

Keep up to date with the services that other libraries are offering by visiting the Faculty and Department Libraries website.

In particular, the Betty & Gordon Moore Library has collections in mathematics, physics, astronomy, computer, materials, engineering, biological, chemical, earth and environmental science. It works alongside faculty libraries to offer materials and support to a range of users across Cambridge. See their Library Induction 2020 website. They are operating the following Zero Contact Services: Click & Collect (place an order to collect Moore Library books); Book a Seat (access to a space to work in the library); Scan & Deliver (request a journal article or book chapter to be scanned from printed items and sent to you for free); Book Returns (return a book you have on loan from them to multiple locations). They also have an Online Learning Hub, a range of resources and learning materials to help you master your research, whatever stage you have reached.

The University Library is also operating similar Zero Contact Services, as well as the Medical Library.

Contact Us

We will continue to do our best to provide a remote library service to you during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Library staff will not be working in the library office and will not be able to talk to you in person or by phone. If you have any issues with the physical library space, or have any other queries, please contact us at (i.e. NOT our personal email addresses, this allows us to share the workload). 

You are very welcome to email us to arrange a 1:1 appointment via Teams or Zoom if it's easier to talk about something face to face - we would love to hear from you!

We can do the following remotely:

  • Run our usual enquiry service - ask us anything!
  • Help you get access to journal articles, books and book chapters, whether online or in print format.
  • Request the purchase of ebooks for lecturers to use in their teaching, as well as research level ebooks.
  • Amend borrower records, renew books etc. on the library management system.
  • Request scans of articles and book chapters from the British Library Document Supply Service (as long as the British Library can supply them, see below)
  • Answer Symplectic Elements queries.
  • Credit local balances on DS-Print and charge them to grant ledgers/codes.
  • Sign Leavers' Forms.
  • Advise you on open research (open access publishing and open data), as well as on research data management.
  • Tweet! (please follow us at @chemlibcam so we can keep in touch, and retweet your research outputs to maximise your impact)
  • Keep you updated with any additional services that we might be able to offer as part of a wider Cambridge libraries service, such as useful websites, online training delivery, zero contact services.


We wish you the very best of luck for the new academic year in these strange times!

Clair and Mike