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Chemistry Library

Here is some information about the Chemistry Library, specifically tailored to PDRAs.

Location and access

You can access the library from 7am-midnight daily with your University Card. The library is located on the 1st floor of the Centre for Molecular Informatics (the floor below the Cybercafé). It’s a modern yet quiet and comfortable space: somewhere you can escape to from the lab or office!

Computing, printing, photocopying, and scanning facilities

There are 22 PCs and 2 Macs available for computing, which can be used with Linux. There is plenty of power for laptops/tablets/charging devices, and of course access to University wireless networks.

There is a Multi-Functional Device (MFD) for copying, printing, and scanning:

  • We can credit your account from a grant code you specify so that you can send print jobs from the library computers, and make photocopies.
  • You can scan documents or other items and the scan will be sent as a PDF to your @cam email account for free. Two flatbed scanners are also available, one attached to a Mac and one to a PC.

Printed collections in the Chemistry Library

Search for printed books and journals throughout the University on the online library catalogue, iDiscover.

There are over 7,000 monographs, and 30,000 journal volumes and series monographs on the shelves, and in our Basement store.

The self-issue machine is used for borrowing and returning books. You will need to register your University Card with us first and then you can borrow 10 books for 4 weeks.

We also purchase all the recommended undergraduate texts (3-day loan or for reference only), which also may be of use to you. You can borrow 2 of these as part of your overall limit of 10.

You can renew your books remotely on the online library catalogue, iDiscover.

Using other Cambridge libraries

There are around 100 libraries in the University, most of which you can access and borrow items from. There is a three-tier system in operation:

  1. Cambridge University Library is one of 6 ‘legal deposit’ libraries in the UK and Ireland. Publishers are legally obliged to deposit a copy of every book and journal they publish in the UK with the library. Consequently, there are millions of books and journals available in Cambridge! In practical terms, these ‘legal deposit’ copies are stored in several libraries around Cambridge such as the main University Library (arts and humanities material), the Medical Library (on the Addenbrookes Site), and the Betty & Gordon Moore (mathematics, applied mathematics) libraries, for example.
  2. Each faculty/department usually has a library, as we do at Chemistry. Some of the legal deposit libraries also function as faculty libraries serving their research and teaching staff and students, purchasing their own material accordingly.
  3. Every college has a library which can only be used by members of that college.

You are able to visit and borrow books from other faculty and department libraries, and your own college library.

There is unfortunately no inter-lending between libraries at the moment: you will usually have to visit the library concerned, but we do have arrangements with several libraries whereby they will scan book chapters or journal articles for us, and vice-versa, for free. So ask us before you make a visit!

Access to online journals and databases, and ebooks

The University subscribes to hundreds of thousands of online journals, as well as citation databases (e.g. Web of Science, Scopus), and specialist chemistry related databases (e.g. SciFinder, Reaxys), to find scientific literature and chemical data.

Many books are also available as e-books via the online library catalogue, iDiscover. Book chapters or whole books can be downloaded to your e-reader, smartphone, or laptop/computer.

Remote access to the library catalogue and most University subscribed electronic resources is possible via your Raven login, from anywhere in the world.

Search for ebooks and ejournals throughout the University on the online library catalogue, iDiscover. A list of databases is available here.

If what you need is not available in Cambridge

In the event that the book, book chapter, or journal article you need is not held in the University we can request a loan or copy for you from the British Library, for a subsidised fee that we can charge to your Group. This service takes 3-5 working days but is usually quicker.

We welcome recommendations for books, ebooks and ejournals and databases that you think the library/University should purchase. We can even help you order books for your Group.

PDRA representation on the Committee for the Library and Scholarly Communication

Please find the contact details for the PDRA reps here.

Library website and social media

For information on all of our collections and services listed above please visit the Chemistry Library website; we have listed ‘Quick links’ on the right hand side of this page so that you can find what you want quickly and easily.

The latest information on new library facilities, resources and services, and anything which helps you do your research efficiently, is posted on the library blog and Twitter account @chemlibcam. Please follow us!

Contact details

Clair Castle, Librarian

Mike Todd-Jones, Deputy Librarian

Tel. (01223) (3)36329


We are dedicated to helping you with all your information needs, e.g. finding the books and articles you need, advice on reference management, using social media to enhance your research profile, open access publishing and open data, searching databases, techniques for keeping up with the latest research in your field, among many others. Just ask us!