Clare College Cambridge

Using the Forbes Mellon Library

Opening hours: 

Michaelmas & Lent Terms: 7am-midnight
Easter Term: 7am-2am

Vacation opening hours:

Saturday 2nd December & Sunday 3rd December 7am-midnight
Monday 4th December - Thursday 21st December 7am-7pm (Monday-Friday only, closed weekends)
Friday 22nd December 7am-midday

Saturday 23rd December - Monday 1st January

Closed for Christmas

Tuesday 2nd January - Friday 5th January


Saturday 6th January & Sunday 7th January


Monday 8th January - Friday 12th January


Saturday 13th January & Sunday 14th January



How to find a book:

  • We use the Dewey Decimal System.
  • Use iDiscover to see if a book is in stock.
  • The record will show the classmark and tell you if it is available.
  • Look at the floor-plan above the self issue terminal to see where it is shelved.

 Borrowing, renewing and returning:

  • All books can be borrowed except those marked not for loan or reference only.
  • Students can borrow up to 20 books at a time.
  • During Term there is a two week loan period.
  • Loans can be renewed three times before they have to be returned.
  • Library staff will renew beyond three times if the book has not been requested by another reader. To request further renewals please email
  • Vacation loans are for the duration of the vacation.

How to borrow:

  • Use the self-issue terminal next to the main desk.
  • Scan the barcode number on your University card to display your reader record.
  • Place the item(s) you wish to borrow on the glass plate.
  • The loan(s) will register on your Library record.  
  • If you have any problems borrowing books via the self-issue terminal please speak to a member of library staff.

What to do if you have lost your University card:


Requests for replacement University cards should now be ordered online. Please see the Porters section on the Clare website or follow the link

How to renew:

  • Do this from your Library account.  
  • Type in the barcode on the back of your University card (V****) and then your surname.
  • Click on the item you wish to renew.

NB: Renewals are not permitted if the book has been recalled, but loans can still be renewed when they are overdue.

How to return:

  • Return books by putting them in one of the two book return boxes or return them to a member of staff.
  • There is a book return box inside the library building at the foot of the Bennett Room stairs, off the library foyer. There also a return box outside the building, beneath the library office window.

NB: Please do not return borrowed books to the trolleys in the library or to the shelves.

Overdues and fines:

  • After a grace period of one day, fines for overdue books are charged at 25p per day.
  • After a grace period of one day, fines for overdue books which have been recalled by another reader are charged at 50p per day.
  • Any fines accrued during the Term are added to the College bill. No payment for fines is taken in the Library.
  • The maximum fine for overdue College library books is £30 per term.
  • Failure to return a book may result in a replacement cost charge.
  • If you lend a book to another student, it is still your responsibility to make sure that it is returned on time.

NB: If for any reason you are unable to renew or return your books please email the Library and library staff will help.

Recalling a book that is on loan:

  • This can be done from iDiscover
  • On its return you will be notified by email.
  • Please then collect from the library office within 3 days.

How to suggest a purchase:

  • We welcome recommendations for book purchases from students.
  • If we do not have a book that you need please fill in a Book Recommendation Form online