The Ashby Library

The Ashby Library was built in honour of Lord Eric Ashby, an Honorary Fellow of Clare Hall, through the benevolence of Obert C Tanner and the George S and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. It is situated overlooking the Scholars’ Garden beside Elmside, one of the graduate student residences.

The library comprises just approximately two and a half thousand books mainly donated by past and present members of Clare Hall. It thus represents in part the intellectual heritage of the college.  The wide-ranging research interests of both fellows and students are well reflected in the multidisciplinary nature of the collection. Any member who is the author or co-author of a book is invited to give a signed copy to the College. In addition, a concise reference collection is being built up, including books on academic writing, through the generosity of members, the tutorial office, and Cambridge University Press. Some valuable items have also been accepted, not easily available elsewhere, for example, a collection of South African Poetry written during the Apartheid Era. The latter was edited by one of our Life Members, Professor Geoffrey Haresnape, who wanted Clare Hall to house the collection. No attempt has been made to provide a comprehensive multidisciplinary resource, given the close proximity of the excellent facilities of the University Library.

Additionally, the library provides an attractive and comfortable workplace for a limited number of fellows and students, approximately 25 individuals. There are power sockets and WI-FI throughout the library and its vicinity. Given its open-plan nature, members are asked to be considerate of others and to understand this is a quiet area. Food and drink are prohibited in the library.

Using the library

There is 24-hour access, 7 days a week, throughout the year for Clare Hall members. The code to the outside door of the library can be obtained from the Porters’ Lodge.

Organise your library slots via Booker (account creation required - registration is via this form).


A shelf plan can be found on the library noticeboard. The books are arranged alphabetically by author starting with the cabinets immediately to the left of the entrance into the Ashby Room. A to M are in the Ashby Room, while N to Z are housed immediately outside. There is a separate section for, especially large tomes. The catalogue is available on the CH website (see below). In addition, a regularly updated acquisition list is put up on the notice board in the library.

Borrowing and Returning Books

In order to borrow a book, the form below must be filled in and submitted. Books can be borrowed up to four at a time for a loan period of two weeks. Books can be renewed by email. Non-members may use the library by arrangement with the librarian; however, non-members are not allowed borrowing rights. This is in accordance with the library borrowing policies of other College Libraries of the University of Cambridge. Books can be returned to the library by depositing them in the box in the librarian’s carrel (number 9). The librarian is happy to give any further assistance if required.

The Ashby Library Catalogue

Borrow a Book