skip to primary navigationskip to content

Library facilities and IT services

Library facilities

One of the many advantages of being at Cambridge is the superb range of library resources available to students. There are over one hundred libraries in the university system, thus finding books or periodicals on a field of study is rarely a problem. To get started, and find out information about libraries and information sources across the University visit the libraries gateway.

For MPhil students, a key resource is the Centre of African Studies Library, which is housed within CAS and contains a stock of over 30,000 books and an excellent periodicals collection. Our library places a high priority on obtaining material published in Africa, and the current acquisitions policy also focuses on meeting the academic needs of the MPhil course. The library has a good collection of bibliographies on Africa and its collection also contains a large number of television programmes about Africa, along with African films, CD-ROMs and CDs, as well as a microfilm and microfiche collection. To search for stock specifically in the CAS Library, use the Newton catalogue, choose ‘Departments and Faculties A-E’, and then limit to ‘African Studies Centre Library’. Alternatively, if you wish, you can refine your search by location when using Library search, which is the best catalogue for quickly locating a specific book. If you need to search online content, Library search+ covers the majority of the University’s e-journal and database collections, and enables you to locate an article quickly. To search archival collections across the University, use Janus. Other facilities in the library are a microfilm reader and a photocopier. Check the Library facebook Page for regular updates about the library and Africa-related news, or follow on them on Twitter: @AfrStudiesLib. MPhil in African Studies students are granted 24-hour access to CAS Library. The Library Manager is Ms Jenni Skinner and the Library Assistant is Dr Alex Lindsay.

The University Library (UL) is another important library, and is one of the finest research libraries in the world, being entitled under legal deposit regulations to a copy of every book published in Great Britain and Ireland (including American books with a British imprint). A huge number of foreign books and periodicals are also acquired by purchase. From its stock of about 8,000,000 volumes and over 127,000 manuscripts and 860,000 microforms it is able to supply the needs of most graduate students. The former library of the Royal Commonwealth Society is housed within the University Library, which holds rich Africana collections of published and manuscript materials, as well as an impressive photographic archive. Most of the UL’s post-1850 book collection is on open access and the Library permits graduate students to borrow up to ten books at a time. Helpfully, the University Library organises orientation tours and a research skills programme, which all students are encouraged to sign up for.

Most of our students usually find themselves using other specialised Faculty and Departmental libraries as well, some of them conveniently located on the Sidgwick Site. The History Faculty’s Seeley Library, the Marshall Library of Economics (incorporating Development Studies), and the Squire Law Library are all minutes away from CAS. The Social and Political Sciences Library and the Haddon Library (Anthropology and Archaeology) can be found across the river.

IT services

Wireless internet is available throughout the Alison Richard Building and the CAS Library has two PCs available for catalogue and internet searching and for accessing e-journals and online databases.

Printing and Photocopying: Handouts for presentations can be printed at the Centre of African Studies by prior arrangement, at the discretion of the administrator. Please contact the MPhil Office if you need assistance with printing. For routine printing and copying, in addition to computing services offered by the University (see below) some Colleges also provide printing services for their own students. Photocopying can be done in the CAS library; cheap printing and photocopying services are additionally available the Graduate Union.

University information services provides computing facilities and related services in support of research and teaching in the University of Cambridge. It makes available PCs, Apple Macintoshes and scanners through its Managed cluster service and offers printing through DS-Print (subject to a charge). All graduate students are given an e-mail address (ending in, which you are expected to use and check regularly. To find out more about the computing services offered by the University, visit Introduction to computing in Cambridge and read the IT matters @ Cambridge student edition.