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Genetics Library - For Dept members

Click here for an image of the Library as you enter the door, with a general explanation of where to find things

Opening hours

Members of the Department have access to the Library at all times [yes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, if you're that keen!]

Space is rather limited, so we ask that you do not make yourself a 'nest' with piles of papers. Similarly, whilst it is reasonable to have cups of coffee [etc] if you are working long hours in the Library, you should return your mugs to the kitchen, or empty and throw away disposable cups.


There are 4 PCs and 2 Macs in the Genetics Library running the commonly-used software. In addition, we have a PC running freeware, including LibreOffice, but mainly intended for Part II stats-related projects.

You will need a Department password to use the computers in the Library, as your University Computing Service password [Raven] will not give you access - though you will need a Raven password too, if you haven't got one. Incoming Part II students, and usually Postgraduate students if beginning in October, will be given Department passwords automatically, via a letter. However, if you are a new member of staff, a visitor, or a PhD student beginning at a different time of year, your Group Leader or lab technician will need to apply on your behalf.

If the Library is busy, those needing to use the computers for work are given priority over those checking Facebook, but this is not usually a problem.

To use your laptop, you should only need your Raven password to access the network. You may need to be introduced to the Computer Officer, Ian Clark, to help with set-up. Please check his wiki regarding the Department's computing facilities.

You should not leave your laptop, its connection leads, or any other valuables, in the Library, as we cannot take responsibility for them. There have been thefts from offices and labs in the department, even though the building is 'secure'.

Finding books

Books that are on reading lists, or that Lab members might need to consult frequently, are kept in the 'Reserve' collection. These are the books with the red labels, which you'll find on the first right-hand book-stack, next to the central aisle. They absolutely, definitely and unequivocally must not be taken out of the Library. If you have been told to read one of these by your Group Leader, and you haven't the time to read the book in the Library, please speak to the Group Leader about obtaining a Lab copy. Some Labs have collections of useful books, including lab manuals, which the Library does not provide. The Fly Lab, for instance, has a very useful collection of key volumes recommended to new Group members, and which you can mostly borrow.

For all other books, you will need to consult the catalogue - see link at right or click here - to find the classmark of a book. Books are found on the stacks on the right-hand side of the library, starting with class-mark A, and working towards the back. If you cannot find the book you need, it could be on loan, or missing. Some older titles have never been added to Newton. We might not even have it in stock - so if you've been told to read it, there are ways of obtaining a copy. Please do ask. Similarly, if you think the Library should have a book and it doesn't, please let us know - the Library Committee considers book purchase suggestions every term.

Finding journals

Most of the journal papers you will need to read will be available online. You can access all of them from anywhere within the cam-domain without a password, and most of them from outside the cam-domain with a Raven password. If you are asked for a password and you're in Cambridge, there could be a problem - see the e-resources help page

We still have a few of the major genetics journals as paper copies, and considerable back-runs. There is a list of journals held on the noticeboard on the wall of the library office, together with the volumes held, and their locations. The current year's issues are kept on the stand opposite the office, and previous years are located in the stacks. As a general rule, titles we are still taking in paper copy are filed in the stacks on the left-hand side, starting with A, moving to the back and then to the right-hand side. Older volumes are upstairs on the mezzanine floor, again starting with A at the front of the left-hand stacks and moving to the back.

Borrowing rights, and how to borrow books

Books are borrowed by entering the details in the signing-out book, which is on the table opposite the library doors. Please make sure that you entries are legible and that you give the correct and full class-mark of the book [on the spine and inside the front cover, eg EK 237]. We must have your name in legible form, and not a signature or your lab nickname!

There is no specified loan period, but you should aim to return the book with a month, and periodically loans are chased by e-mail. You can borrow as many books as you like, provided they are signed out. Books in the 'Reserve' collection, with red stickers, may not be taken out under any circumstances, not even 'just to show my supervisor', unless cleared by the librarian.


The photocopier only operates on codes. You will either be given a personal code, or a lab code. The Lab Technician is the person most likely to know the lab code. If you have forgotten your personal code, go to - but this will not tell you the Lab code.

You can also scan and make .pdf documents on the photocopier, to either save to a memory stick or e-mail out. You can also send documents to the copier to print remotely. However the photocopier cannot print files from a memory stick.


If you need high-quality .jpeg images, we have a scanner attached to the PC situated by itself. Please ask if you need help using it.

Printing from computers

There are two networked printers, one B/W and one colour. They handle print jobs from elsewhere in the Department as well as from the Library. If printing from a Library computer, you will need to enter your Departmental password since the copying will be billed, either to you personally or to the Lab. Clarify with your Group Leader or Lab Technician whether you will be liable for printing costs. The charges are 5p for B/W and 10p for colour per side printed. The printers are - how can we put it? - not the best in the world. Never leave important printing jobs until the last minute! If the printer you need is not working, you can send your print job to the photocopier.

Library ambiance

Unlike in some other libraries, silence or quiet rules are not enforced. Some people like this, some don't. If you are trying to work and there's too much noise, please say so. If you don't feel confident about telling people to shut up, please tell the librarian. Similarly, if there is too much noise coming from the librarian's office, please do say so.

If you have any complaints or suggestions regarding the Genetics Library, please make them known. There is a managing Library Committee, which meets once a term, and concerns or suggestions would be considered by it. The Librarian is Christine Alexander and the Academic Librarian [ie overall boss] is Dr John Welch. The easiest way to contact us is by e-mail:

Contact the Genetics Library

Please note the Genetics Library is CLOSED from April - October 2018

But you should still contact us by e-mail if you have a question or had planned a visit:

Phone: 01223 333973

Postal address:

Genetics Library
Department of Genetics
University of Cambridge
Downing Street
Cambridge CB2 3EH
United Kingdom

Librarian: Christine Alexander
Academic Librarian: Dr Cahir O'Kane


Search iDiscover for books, journals and research papers

E-journals listing

The A-Z e-journals listing in the E-resources LibGuide will explain exactly what we have access to