Clare College Cambridge

Using the Forbes Mellon Library

Opening hours: 

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

Vacation opening hours:


Monday 19th June - Monday 1st October

7am-7pm (closed weekends)

Saturday 19th August - Sunday 3rd September


 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-plans 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.
  • Books can be renewed twice before they have to be returned.
  • 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 issuing then 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:

  • Put them in one of the two book boxes or return them to a member of staff.
  • The inside book box is situated at the foot of the Bennett Room stairs, off the library foyer, and the outside one is 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 short grace period, fines are levied for overdue books at the rate of 50p a day.
  • Overdue books not returned within seven days of their due date may result in a borrowing block being placed on the account until the book has been returned.
  • Any fines accrued during the Term will go on your College bill. 
  • Failure to return a book may result in you being charged the replacement cost plus an administration fee of £5.00.
  • 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 your books please email the Library ( to explain the situation.

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