Lee Library

Lee Library

Our library has everything you need to excel in your studies and research. You can find information about resources, facilities and support on this page.

A Wolfson student in the library

How do I find articles or borrow books?

The Lee Library has thousands of books and millions of e-resources for your learning and research. Use iDiscover to find out what we have already have in the Library. If we don't have what you need, use the link below to suggest a book to add to the collection.

Finding books and online resources

Physical books

All our books are listed in iDiscover, the catalogue for most Cambridge Libraries. The books themselves are located in the Reading Room on the first floor of the library.

Help with searching can be found on the iDiscover LibGuide or from our our own LibGuide page, including video explainers. If you have any questions about finding books, articles or creating search strategies, please get in touch or attend a WolfWorks session. 

When you search for a book from the main iDiscover page, you will retrieve results from all Cambridge libraries (the University Library, most faculty and departmental libraries, and most colleges). To find out what we have in our Library, select 'Wolfson College' from the drop-down menu on the right of the Quick Search bar, or limit your results using the filters on the right hand side of the screen.

Your initial results page will give you the brief record(s) of any book(s) matching your search terms. Click on any of the underlined areas in the record in order to view the full record. At the bottom of this screen is a section headed 'item availability', which lists the libraries that hold a copy of the book. Click on the Library name to find the book's classmark (the number you need to find it on the shelf), and whether or not the book is currently on loan.


Many Cambridge books are offered in both print or electronic format. There are two types of e-books in Cambridge libraries:

  1. those which are accessible from any computer in the world; you'll see the words 'Online access' in the catalogue
  2. those where online access is restricted to designated computers in the main University Library or affiliate libraries; these are Electronic Legal Deposit books.

Find out more about accessing and using ebooks from this introductory video.

Articles and databases

As a Wolfson student, you have access to the University of Cambridge’s extensive range of ebooks, journals and online databases. Our librarians are here to help you make the most of this wealth of material or look at the Spotlight videos for the most popular databases on the College LibGuide. Many of these resources are accessed via iDiscover, however, some are only accessed via the links listed below.


  • Everything (including books, ebooks, journals, articles, news, reports)
  • Article Databases (including scholarly articles, news, reports)
  • Journal titles (search for a particular journal title in print and electronic format)
Borrowing and returning books


Books are borrowed via the self-service kiosk on the counter opposite the Librarian's office. Place your University ID card on the reader and then follow the instructions on screen. The title of the item and the due date will appear on the screen when an item is successfully borrowed. If the machine isn't working, please fill in a manual issue slip and put it under the Librarian's door so that we know who has which books. You can check which books you have on loan from all libraries by using iDiscover. Click 'Login to iDiscover' in the upper right corner and select 'My Library Account.'

Loan periods and recalls

All members of Wolfson with a Library account may borrow a maximum of 25 books at a time. Undergraduates have a 7-day loan period and postgraduates, staff and fellows will have a 28-day loan period. However, autorenewals means that your book will be automatically renewed on the system three days before the due date without you having to renew the items yourself manually. This process will go on until the end of your course, when you must return all books before you can graduate.

The exception to this rolling renewal is if a book is recalled by another user. If someone recalls an item you have borrowed, you will have 3-days to return the book to the Library. If you are unable to the return the book, let us know so that we can sort something out.

Equally, if you check iDiscover and see that the book you want is on loan to another student, login and you can request that they return the book. Once they have returned it (within 3 days), we will put the book on Hold Shelf (behind the self-service kiosk and next to the iDiscover PC). Please note that recalls are suspended during vacations.


You can also return your books on the machine in the Reading Room. You don't need to scan your card; just press 'Return' on the screen and place the books on the flatbed, one at a time. Please check carefully where to put your books after they have been removed from your account. Most will go on the trolley but occasionally you'll be asked to put them through the slot under the machine. This is only for books that have been recalled and need to go to another Library user.

Suggest a book to add to the collection

Library users are welcome and encouraged to make suggestions for new book purchases for the Library at any time.

We can't always buy what you ask for but we take every suggestion seriously. We think about how it relates to taught courses and research interests of the College. Consideration may be given to the likely number of users and the longevity of a title when deciding whether to make a purchase. We'll always get back to you to let you know whether we have decided to buy a book or not.

Books often arrive within a few days but occasionally we use specialist books suppliers or source second-hand copies that may take longer to arrive. We will always let you know if that is the case. Please try to think ahead and suggest any titles you know you will need for a certain date in good time.

  • If you would like to suggest a book for your Faculty or Departmental Library or for the University Library, then please follow this link and complete that form instead.
Request and Collect service

Rather than browse the shelves, you can use the Request and Collect service. Please check to see that we have the book on the shelves first, and then fill in the online form to request up to 5 books at a time. We will fetch them for you and they will be available for collection on the following working day on the Hold Shelf in the Reading Room. This service may be of particular use to students travelling some distance to visit the Library and who want to guarantee the books will be available when they get here. Equally, students who are unable to visit the Library can use this service and ask a friend to collect the books on their behalf.

Online reading lists for current students and offer holders

Current Students

Most subjects have online reading lists. You can customise your collection to include the papers you are studying. Each list links easily to online resources, as well as the iDiscover catalogue records for print items. If it links to record that appears to show that Wolfson doesn't have a copy, please double check in iDiscover as some books have multiple records for the same title.

Offer holders

Each subject has a reading list for offer holders. It is unlikely that you will be expected to read or buy everything but there may be one or two key texts that your Department or Faculty would like you to have access to before/at the start of term. You may find other resources listed on there as freely available.

Specialist resources for medics

We have a number resources that will be of use to medical students, whilst at Cambridge:

  • A fully-articulated, plastic female skeleton is available in a cupboard in the Sir David Williams Room (ground floor).
  • A plastic human male half-skeleton, plastic skulls and a model of the brain in 15 parts are available under the hold-shelf in the main Reading Room (first floor). The skulls may be borrowed for the year and the other models may be borrowed for use in a supervision by arrangement with Library staff, but otherwise should not be taken out of the Library.
  • Flash cards are available to borrow to help revise anatomy, pathology and pharmacology.
The Wolfson Lee Library

What facilities does the library have?

The library is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We have about 60 study spaces both inside and out, including a computer room and printers. Food and drink is permitted in the Library, apart from in the computer room.


We are aim to ensure that the physical library, our online resources and the support we offer meet your individual requirements. Please feel free to come and talk to us at any time whether you are registered with the Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre (ADRC) or not. If you have a Student Support Document and have indicated that you require additional support to use the library, then this is passed on to us. If you would like to discuss anything on your SSD, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Using the Library and computer room

We're here to support all current students, fellows and staff of Wolfson College, as well as Visiting Fellows and Scholars. We have 60 study spaces across two rooms, 16 outdoor study spaces and 13 computers.

Food and drink

  • Cold food and drinks (both hot and cold) are allowed in the Reading Room and Sir David Williams Room, but not the computer room (Gordon Johnson Room). Please be considerate of other users: do not bring hot and/or messy food and clear up when you leave.
  • Free tea and coffee are available in the foyer, along with a kettle for making hot drinks; just bring your own mug. Chilled drinking water and a refrigerator are downstairs in the basement.


  • Toilets, including an accessible cubicle, are available in the Library basement.


  • PCs and Macs are available in the Gordon Johnson Room, on the ground floor. Printing and scanning is available, in black and white and colour; send your files to Wolf_FindMe and scan your card on the machine to release the print job. You will need credit on your University ID card. The paper trays are checked every morning but please ask if you find that the machine is out of paper.


  • There is a comb-binding machine in the computer room. It is self-service: instructions are on the wall and supplies are available, free-of-charge in the cupboard underneath; please use considerately. We suggest you leave time to experiment (bring some scrap paper) so that you are familiar with the process before trying to bind your dissertation or thesis. We have a range of staplers, hole-punchers, and a guillotine available for you to use throughout the Library.
  • The Library rooms are silent study spaces and we ask that you keep talking to a minimum. If you need to say more than a few whispered words or take a call, please use the foyer. The outdoor spaces at the back of the Library are considered a continuation of the space and should only be used for silent study.

If the spaces in the Library are full, you have lots other options for study in college. Here is the sort of study environment you can expect:

  • Noisy, cafe-style: Club Room and the Lee Room
  • Quiet talking with a mix of comfy seating and tables: Karen Spärck Jones Room and Old Combination Room
  • Bookable rooms for group work, to practise a presentation or for an online supervision: Roger Needham Room, Gatsby Room and the Syndicate Rooms 1-6

To book a room email the Conference Coordinator, Deborah Fitz-Gibbon.

Part time study/working remotely

We know that many of Wolfson students aren't always resident in Cambridge. But there are lots of ways to access materials and support, wherever you are.

  • We encourage you to borrow our books and take them with you.
  • There are thousands of e-resources available to you, anywhere in the world.
  • We can scan 5% of a book that we have in the Library and email to you.
  • You can request that up to 5 books are kept to one side for you, when you are here in person.
  • We can arrange a one-to-one academic skills support session at time convenient for you
  • Our WolfWorks workshops are delivered online, to enable as many students as possible to join in
  • Our LibGuide is available at point-of-need to support your academic skills development.

More information is available on our page for Using the Libary at a Distance.

Using other Cambridge libraries

We hope that we provide a welcoming study environment and maintain a book stock that is responsive to the needs of our students. However, Wolfson Library is not comprehensive, and is best used in conjunction with others in the large network of libraries in the University.

Most students belong to three libraries during their studies at Cambridge: college library, faculty/departmental library and the University Library. Each library has their own rules, opening hours and borrowing rights.

Faculty/Departmental libraries stock subject-specific items and the University Library is a copyright library, so it receives a copy of every book published in the UK as a legal deposit, either in print or digitally.

College libraries tend to be for members only, but many special collections are open to visitors by appointment. If there is a book in a college library that is not held by Wolfson, a faculty/departmental library or the University Library (you can check this on iDiscover), please contact the owning library directly to ask about possible reading or borrowing privileges. Equally, we are usually very happy to buy a copy of the book; please fill in the Suggest a Book form.

Contact us and visitors

Please drop in if you have a question or get in touch and we'll get back to you as soon as possible:

Email: library@wolfson.cam.ac.uk

Phone: 01223 335965

  • The Librarian and Research Skills Specialist, Laura Jeffrey, is available in her office every weekday. She works until 20:00 on Tuesdays and appointments are available at other times so please get in touch to arrange a convenient time.
  • The Academic Skills Librarian, Alberto Garcia Jr, is available every weekday; get in touch to organise a meeting to support your learning and research.
  • The Library Assistant, Dr Laurence Smith, is available in the Library from 10:00-15:00 on weekdays.


If you are not a member of Wolfson, you are welcome to consult material in the Reading Room, by appointment. However, only Wolfson members may borrow from the collection. If you have seen a book on iDiscover that is only available at Wolfson, please contact Laura Jeffrey, the Librarian to arrange a convenient time and date for your visit.

If you are staying in College, we can arrange for temporary access during your visit.


The Wolfson Lee Library Team

What sort of support and skills sessions are available?

Our library team is here to help you develop the skills you need to succeed, including literature searching, time management, note-making, using citation tools and research data management. You can access tips online, book a one-to-one session, or join one of our workshops to learn from your peers.

LibGuides (online support)

The Wolfson College LibGuide  has been put together by the Wolfson College Library team to help you get the most from information resources and develop your academic skills. It contains top tips, short how-to videos, step-by step guides, worksheets and other free resources.

One-to-one sessions

Need some one-to-one support? You can book an hour-long academic skills session tailored to your specific needs. Sessions can be in-person or online through Teams. To book, please follow this link: Book an Academic Skills Session.

WolfWorks (workshops)

WolfWorks is a programme of workshops run throughout the academic year. We cover topics relevant to everyone such as academic writing, note making, critical thinking, speed reading and time management as well as researcher-specific skills such as metrics and getting published.

Our workshops will be delivered online, on Saturday mornings, to enable as many Wolfson students to attend as possible.

Find out more or book a place on a workshop.

Writing support

The goal of the Wolfson College Writing Centre is to help Wolfson undergraduates and postgraduates with their writing projects at any point in the writing process. We offer support in the follow: ​​​

  • One-to-one writing surgeries with our Wolfson Writing Consultants
  • Structured writing and studying sessions 
  • Access to one-to-one writing support with a Royal Literary Fund Fellow
  • A free proofreading service for postgraduates preparing to submit a dissertation or thesis.

Find out more or book a writing consultation.

Library history
A portrait of Dr Lee Seng Tee hangs in the Library lobby

The Lee Seng Tee Library was opened in 1994, a gift from Mr Lee Seng Tee of Singapore, a major benefactor of the College. It was designed by architects Brewer, Smith and Brewer, and particular objects of interest on each floor include:

  • On the ground floor foyer a scale model of the armillary sphere on the roof of the Peking Observatory
  • In the basement a bookbinder's press with a distinctive triskelion lever, in use at a Cambridge bookbindery until 1982
  • On the first floor, a bust of Tan Sri Dr Lee Kong Chian, father of the benefactor.

The Sir David Williams Room is a study space on the ground floor of the Library named in honour of the College's former President (1980-1993). The Gordon Johnson Room, also on the ground floor of the Library, contains the College's computers on the University network. Dr Johnson was Wolfson President from 1993-2010. The Reading Room, on the first floor of the Library, holds our collections and a range of study spaces.

Over the years, donations have helped the Library acquire essential books to support our students' research and education. You can join our community of supporters by making a gift through our Annual Giving Campaign - on the donation form, please choose 'Other' and specify 'Library'. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch with our Development Office.

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