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Whipple Library

Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Studying at Cambridge


Borrowing and returning books

Who can borrow from the Whipple library

All current staff, students, visitors and alumni with an active University or University Library card are welcome to borrow from the Whipple Library.

Access and registration

Borrowing limits

Members of University staff may borrow up to 20 books at a time. All other library users may borrow up to 10 books at a time.

Except for books from the Reserve collection, all loan periods are 4 weeks in the first instance. However, non-reserve loans will auto-renew for as long as you have an active borrowing account.

Reserve collection books are always due back by the end of the next working day.

Borrowing books

Borrowing will shortly be available via our Click & Collect service: this page will be updated when the service is available to library users.

Returning books

You can return books:

  • To the library front desk
  • Through the front door of the HPS Department on Free School Lane

Cambridge University Libraries: zero contact returns

Renewing books

Books will auto-renew unless they have been recalled, with the exception of Reserve Collection books, which will always be due the next working day.

Requesting books

Please note: all requests are currently suspended until 6 October 2020.

If the book you need is currently on loan, you can request it via iDiscover. You'll receive an email when it's ready to be picked up, and we will hold requested books for up to 5 working days.

Managing your loaned books

You can see an overview of your loans and requests at any time via your account on iDiscover.

You will receive automated statements of the books you have on loan at the beginning of each month, as well as an email notification if another library user requests a book you have on loan.

Please remember to check your emails regularly in case somebody else requests a book you have out on loan. You must return recalled books within 3 working days.


We do not charge fines for overdue books - however, regularly returning books late may result in your borrowing privileges being temporarily suspended.

If you are genuinely unable to return overdue books in good time due to extenuating circumstances, please contact us to let us know.

Lost and damaged books

If you have lost or damaged a book, please let us know. We may ask you to cover the cost of replacement.

9:30 - 16:50, Monday - Friday

The library will be staffed during these hours, but will not be open to readers.

We are currently offering a range of zero-contact and online services. 

Bookable study spaces are not currently available.

Request books via the online form here