Clare College Cambridge

Forbes Mellon Library




Michaelmas Term 2021 and Lent Term 2022 opening hours: 

Monday 4th October to Friday 3rd December 2021 and Monday 17th January to Friday 18th March 2022: 9am to 12 midnight every day

Christmas vacation opening hours:

Monday 6th December 2021 to Friday 14th January 2022 : Monday to Friday 9am to 7pm (closed weekends and during Christmas vacation closure)

Christmas vacation closure: from 5pm Thursday 23rd December 2021 until 9am Tuesday 4th January 2022

The Forbes Mellon Library continues to operate library services for all members of Clare College, and we continue to adhere to College policies and follow University and government guidance.  We recommend that library users wear a face covering at all times in the Library, for the safety of other library users and library staff.  We are retaining COVID protocols including hand sanitisation, social distancing (1m+) and ventilation, and we will continue to review risk assessments and protocols on a regular basis. Further details of services and guidance for use of the Library are available on the Forbes Mellon Library Moodle site. Library staff welcome enquiries from all members of Clare College:

Services for academic year 2021/2022 include an enquiry service (in-person/phone/email/online), provision of study spaces (no booking required) and shared MCS computers. Members of College are welcome to borrow library books via self-service Browsing to Borrow (call into the Library, no booking required) and via Request to Collect (email to The College Library continues to provide services to students working remotely, including supporting access to electronic resources and where possible lending College Library books via a postal service within the UK. The University Library and Faculty/Departmental libraries continue to offer a range of in-person and remote services

The Forbes Mellon Library was opened in 1986 and is named after two major benefactors, Mansfield Forbes, a fomer Fellow, and Paul Mellon, an undergraduate at Clare, 1929-1931. It is situated in Memorial Court in a building of considerable architectural interest designed by Sir Philip Dowson.  The building also houses a student common room, three music practice rooms, and a recital/lecture room. The library is open to all members of Clare College currently in residence, and, in common with other college libraries, forms part of the extensive library provision within the University, complementing both the specialist libraries in faculties and departments and Cambridge University Library.

The Forbes Mellon holds about 30,000 books, arranged in subject order within the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme. Although the stock is primarily that required by undergraduates, many postgraduate texts are kept, together with general reference works. Multiple copies of many essential texts are available. Library staff welcome recommendations from members of Clare College for book purchases, via email to or our Book Recommendation Form