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 over 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 also Cambridge University Press. Some valuable items have 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. Two computers provide access to the internet (strictly for researchers) and also the library catalogue which is regularly updated. 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; moreover, 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. 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 online in the Ashby Room. In addition, a regularly updated acquisition list is put up on the notice board in the library. A small collection of reference books is available for consultation. They are housed on the open shelves towards the centre of the Ashby Room. For the convenience of all library users they are not to be removed from the library.

Borrowing & Returning Books
In order to take out a book the borrowing book must be signed and this can be found on the shelf of the librarian’s carrel (no 9). The borrowing period is for one month, after which time the book should be returned to the librarian’s carrel. Members are restricted to borrowing up to five books at any one time. Books can be renewed by contacting the college librarian, Dr Rosie Luff. Non-members can use the library by arrangement with the librarian, but are not allowed borrowing rights. This is in accordance with the library borrowing policies of other College Libraries of the University of Cambridge.