Magdalene College Library – the basics!

Hello and thank you to everyone who came on fresher induction tours, apologies to those whose tours were cancelled and hello to returning students. This blog post covers some of the very basics of the library induction to help make sure you can find the books and resources that you need, borrow them and understand how the library functions as a shared space.

When is it open and who can help me?

The Library is open 24hrs during Full Term.

The library is staffed Monday to Friday 9-5pm.

The Librarian is Tom Sykes. Tom runs the library and reports to the College Librarian (Fellow) Dr Tim Harper and the College Library Committee. The Library Committee meets once a term and has a rep from both the JCR and MCR.

The library also has a library assistant, who is currently being recruited.

The library cleaner is usually Szilvia, who cleans betwee 8-10am week days.

Finding books – on the shelf

To find a book you need to make a note of the shelfmark (class mark) when searching Heritage or iDiscover, for example:


10 = main subject/discipline [Mathematics, Physics and Engineering]

FB = subsection/subcategory [Applied Mathematics]

4 = location on shelf

In order to find the book, you can either check our annotated map:


or, just check the numbering on the top of the shelves:


then check the shelves for the subcategory:


Following the consecutive number sequence to find the book.

Borrowing a book

Before borrowing you need to have set up a pin/password with the librarian, if you havn’t done so please contact Tom by either popping into the library or e-mailing

All books must be borrowed via the self-service machine, or if that is not working via a paper borrowing form. Please do not take books from the library without borrowing, this inconveniences your fellow students, it stops us from gathering library stats that might mean more purchases in your subject and you will recieve a large fine if caught.

You can borrow 10 books, the loan period for most books is 7 days. You can renew up to 10 times in a row.

Law books can only be borrowed overnight

Reference books should not be removed from the library

Remember to renew your books, fines are 25p per day, with 10 books out this quickly accumulates!

The self-service machine is here in right cloister:


Logon using your Barcode (the 5 digits on the back of your student card) or by scanning your student card and inputting the four digit pin/password you set up with Tom.

The machine defaults to Issue (which is borrowing). Scan the barcode on inside page of the book:


The self-service machine can also be used to renew and return books, to change to this setting click the relevant icon at top left of screen, select the book ro renew or return and click ‘OK’ at bottom of screen:


You will most likely check your loans and due dates and renew your Magdalene books via the Heritage website (using the same logins as the self-issue laptop).

When you have finished with a book you return it via the three dropbox slots, which you see as soon as you enter right Cloister:


Using the library

College libraries are a special and unique resource as they are just for you and your fellow Magdalene students, fellows and staff.  It is a welcoming and safe place for you to study and the rules we have in place reflect the desire to keep it as such. Essentially the rules are about respecting your fellow students, the building in which you are working and the college staff that support you.


Finding books -iDiscover and Heritage


Use iDiscover to search for all Cambridge book and e-book collections and most online databases and journals.

For Guidance see and/or ask a member of library staff.



Use Heritage to search for Magdalene Only books and to check if they are on-shelf (available) or on-loan

Log on to Heritage to renew your Magdalene books or to recall Magdalene books from other students


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