Cambridge Digital Library

Cambridge University Library is the main research library of the University of Cambridge in England. It is also the biggest of 114 libraries within the University. The Library is a major scholarly resource for both the members of the University of Cambridge and for external researchers. Cambridge University Library comprises the main University Library and its affiliated libraries. As at August 2015, 21 affiliated libraries were associated with the main University Library, which is often referred to within the University as "the University Library" or just " UL.

The main University Library is one of the six legal deposit libraries under UK law, the others being the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, and the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. Although the Irish Free State left the UK in 1922, Trinity College remains a UK deposit library and the UK libraries reciprocally retain deposit rights for Irish publications.


Special collections

Interior of the main reading room

Interior of the main reading room

As part of its collection of more than 8,000,000 volumes, the library contains a wealth of printed and manuscript material from earlier times. This includes:

  • A copy of the Gutenberg Bible from 1455, the earliest European example of a book produced using movable type.
  • Library of Lord Acton, Catholic historian and Regius Professor of Modern History in 1885–1902. The extensive library (around 60 000 volumes) collected by Lord Acton for research was bequeathed to the University Library on his death. The collection contains books from the 15th to 19th centuries, with emphasis on European history and church history. Many of the books contain annotations in Lord Acton's own hand.
  • An archive of Charles Darwin's correspondence and books from his working library (including copies of his own works).
  • The Hanson collection, containing important books on navigation and shipbuilding, as well as maritime atlases, some dating from the 16th century.