Finding Books
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All books in the Darwin library are listed in koha, catalogued on Alma, and can be searched using iDiscover.

In the Library

The shelves are labelled by subject and the books are arranged in order of book number. A shelf plan can be found by the pinboard, at the start of the bookshelves.

Borrowing and Returning Books
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Borrowing a book

When borrowing a book,

•          Scan your university card,

•          Scan the bar code on the back cover of the book.

If there is a problem with the scanning, a second copy of the bar code is available on the inside cover of the book. If this does not work, please leave a message for the librarians on a piece of paper.

Dictionaries and other marked reference books must not, of course, be removed from the library. The Library is not staffed or supervised during fixed hours, and members are asked to treat it with respect. Occasional losses of books cost time and money and damage the interests of all the members of the College.

Returning a book

To return a book, drop it through the slot in the book returns cupboard found next to the computerised checkout terminal.

Recommending Books
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Darwin Library Acquisitions

The college librarians are always looking to buy new books for the library. We welcome members' recommendations and requests for purchases. We are particularly interested in requests for books published by Cambridge University Press (CUP), as CUP have a special offer for college libraries. If you have any recommendations please do get in touch.

How to recommend a book for purchase

To make your recommendations, please complete the form in the Library Management System. Alternatively, if you prefer to use phone, paper, or email, please send your suggestions to (7)63547, "The Librarians", or, respectively.

Library Support
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Library Office

The College employs two student librarians, who work in the Library Office located near the entrance of the Study Centre. They are in the office during the hours posted on the door and can be contacted by email out-with these hours. They will always be happy to help if you have queries about the library.

Student Librarian: Naru Meena

Deputy Student Librarian:

Fellow Librarian: Dr Leah Astbury

The Library Committee is responsible for keeping the library running. If you would like to be involved, please contact the Fellow Librarian.

You can submit a query using the Darwin College Support System (choose Library Support as your Help Topic) or email the librarians. 

Librarian phone: 01223 (7)63547 (with voicemail facility)

DVD Collection
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It is possible to reserve and check out DVDs from the DVD Library on-line. Click on DVDs to reserve or find out more about them. You can borrow up to 2 DVDs at a time, for 5 days. You will receive an email confirming any reservations that you make, and the DVDs will then be delivered to your pigeon-hole. All members are free to use the DVD Library and there is no longer a separate process to join in; just log in to the Library catalogue with your Raven ID.

Borrowing Policy for Non-Darwinians
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The Darwin College Library does not, in the majority of cases, grant non-Darwinians the privilege of borrowing books from the College Library. This is in accordance with the library borrowing policies of other College Libraries in the University of Cambridge. Visiting scholars may, however, be granted permission to consult and make use of the collection within the premises of the Study Centre. The Student Librarian ( should be contacted in the first instance. Exceptions to the above lie wholly at the discretion of the Fellow Librarian or the Bursar.

Sponsor the Library, just by using Amazon!
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Darwin College Library will get real money from Amazon if you use one of the following links whenever you buy books, DVDs, electronic goods or any other purchases online. The cost to you will be the same as if you go to Amazon directly, but Amazon pays us a "referral fee" that helps fund the library. When you use one of these links, everything else will be exactly the same as your regular Amazon usage, including your preferences, wishlist, payment method and delivery address. (They don't pass these details to Darwin - we just get the referral fee).

You can add this link: to your bookmarks.

Donate Books to Darwin Library Using our Wish List

We have made it easier for Darwin members to donate books that the library needs by creating a Library 'Wish List'. To browse and buy books, just follow the Wish List. If you decide to buy the book, it will be delivered directly to the college and will be available for all Darwin members to borrow. All donations are greatly appreciated and we acknowledge donations by placing donation stickers inside the book.

Special Collections in the Library
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Finley Collection

Sir Moses Finley, who was Master from 1976 to 1982, left his personal Library to the College, and this is housed in a special room on the upper floor of the Study Centre. This collection covers many aspects of the philosophical, political and social organisation of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. It differs from the rest of the Library in that it is a major resource for research. Access to these books may be arranged through the Student Librarian.

Vesalius's "Fabrica" and Spigelius's "Opera"

In 1995 the College was given two remarkable medical books by Mr Geoffrey R Fisk.

Mr Fisk became a member of the College and studied for an M. Phil in Physical Anthropology when he and Mrs Fisk moved to Cambridge on his retirement from St. Bartholomew's Hospital London, where he had been a teacher on the orthopaedic graduate rotation and Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow. Mr Fisk's major interest was the hand and he has been president of the Society for Surgery of the Hand. Mr and Mrs Fisk have continued to play an active part in Darwin College life, attending the lectures of the annual Darwin series, College dinners and other College functions.

The first of the medical books is the Fabrica by Andreas Vesalius (1543) which has been described as the "most famous book on human anatomy ever printed and one of the most important". The woodcut illustrations, (the artist was probably Titian) are particularly famous for their technical excellence, the striking poses of the human models and the attractive Tuscan settings in which the models stand.

The second of the books is the Opera by Adrian Spigelius (1645). The plates mark a new epoch in anatomical illustration, being engraved on copper, in contrast to the woodcuts of the Fabrica. This book also contains an early and important reprint of Harvey's description (1628) of the Circulation of the Blood.

The College is extremely fortunate in possessing first editions of two books that have played such a role in the development of science.

Other collections

The library also includes a collection of children' books, a section devoted to Darwin and Evolution, and a special section devoted to books written by members of the College.