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Information for visitors

This information applies to people who are not members of the Department of Plant Sciences.


The official opening hours of the Plant Sciences Library are 8.30 to 17.00, Monday to Friday. If you are not a member of the Department, you will need to be let in by staff in Reception. The Library is normally staffed in the mornings on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, but you can also visit when it is not staffed.

All visitors are welcome. Members of the University may use the library on a walk-in basis, provided Reception is staffed. Non-members of the University should register with us first. The form is available here.  If you use a wheelchair, access is relatively easy.


The Library has around 16,000 plant-related books and many journals as paper copies, plus of course access to many relevant journals online. It is not always easy to find things, and some items are held elsewhere, so it is always best to contact us first.

  • Books – If a book is out on the open shelves, and not marked ‘Reserve’, it may be borrowed. You must sign the book out in the loans book, and give us full contact details – especially an e-mail address - in the address book [both are on the staff desk, second Bay on the left from the Reception entrance]. All the books in the Library have been catalogued, so you can always check beforehand if we do hold what you are looking for on iDiscover.
  • Journals – Journals are represented on the catalogue, but full details of the run held are not always given. If you are a member of the University, you will probably need to sign out a journal, so that you can copy or scan it in your own Department. Our photocopier does not take cash, and will not operate with your University card if you are not a member of the Department.
  • Electronic journals and databases - These can be accessed from the Library computers [see below] in the same way as from anywhere else within the University. The UL e-journals list should be used to check access limitations.
  • Archive material – The Department has not kept a great deal of material related to past members’ research. Some has been sent to the University Library, and some belongs to the Herbarium. Limited information is given on our Archives page. Please always contact us to check.


  • Computers - We have 14 PCs, housed in Bays 7 and Bay 8, but most are passworded for Undergraduate use. The three computers on the right as you enter Bay 8 are free-access, but obviously Department members have priority. Non-department members will not be able to send files to the printer. You are advised to save what you need to a data stick. Do remember though that access to e-journals within the Library is no different to anywhere else in the University, as we don’t have subscriptions limited to this library only.
  • Your own laptop - There is no special area for laptops : you may use your laptop anywhere in the Library, depending on whether you need access to a power socket or network cable. There is a network box in the Library, so connection is good, but you may need to contact the Computer Officer for initial set up.
  • Photocopier [Bay 5, just to the left as you enter from Reception] – The photocopier cannot be used unless you are a member of the Department.
  • Scanner [Bay 7, on the windowsill] Please use instead of photocopier, and save files to memory device.

The Plant Sciences Department website includes information on Finding the Department.

If you cannot find the information you need on this page, there should be a link to the relevant section. If not please use the search box or contact us.

Contact details

Please use e-mail if possible :

Dept. of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing St, Cambridge CB2 3EA
Phone : 01223 333930

Librarian : Christine Alexander
Academic Libn : Prof. David Coomes