skip to primary navigation skip to content

Visiting the library

Visiting the library

Who can use the library?

The library is open to all students, researchers and staff of the University of Cambridge, the wider polar research community and anybody wishing to know more about the polar regions. If you are visiting for the library for the first time in this academic year, please complete the short registration form.

New user registration form

For academic visitors planning a visit of two or more weeks, please write in the first instance to the Director of SPRI to apply to be a Visiting Scholar.

Opening hours

The library is currently open for visitors Monday to Friday from 9:00 – 13:00, and 14:00 - 17:00.

We are closed in the period between Christmas and New Year and on bank holidays.


Step-free access into the Institute is available using the entrance at the side of the building next to the car park. There is lift access to library space on the first and second floors of the building. We will always consider ways that we can best serve any library user so please contact us if you have any special requirements or about how we can make your visit more enjoyable.

Study desks

There are 8 individual study desks and 3 desks which can be used for group study. You can book a study space using our online calendar.

There is an adjustable standing desk available for use in the Library. The desk can be booked using our online calendar.

A Special Collections study desk is available to book for those who wish to consult the Library's rare books and pamphlets. The desk can be booked online, or by contacting the Library via e-mail ( or telephone (01223 336552). Please provide the details (including the classmark/s) of the items you would like to see when making your booking, as all Special Collections material will need to be retrieved by Library staff before your visit.

If you cannot keep your booking, please use the link in your booking confirmation email to cancel your place and enable somebody else to use it.

Please note that this desk is reserved for users of Library material only. If you wish to consult Archive material then please see the relevant Archive webpages for catalogue information and booking options.

Library regulations

We ask all library users to abide by the library regulations to ensure that the Polar Library remains a pleasant and safe study environment and that the collections are appropriately conserved.