Behind the Shelves - celebrating 600 years of Cambridge University Library

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Cambridge University Library wishes to invite all members of the University to a very special event, Behind the Shelves, to mark the closing of the Library’s 600th anniversary celebrations.

Ever wondered how Darwin arrived at his theories on heredity and evolution? Or been curious as to why the Library has in its collection a pair of Indian slippers and psychic thumbprints? Or what we really have stored in our 17-storey tower (hint: it’s not what you might think!). All is revealed at Behind the Shelves!

Building on a successful year of activities since the launch of our momentous anniversary in March 2016, we are offering all staff, researchers and students of the University a unique opportunity to go behind-the-scenes, to engage with our diverse collections and extraordinary treasures, and to learn more about the wide range of services and support we offer.

* A full programme of special events is available to view online at *

Some important information about your visit:

  • Please note that this event is for University staff and students and Library readers only – please bring your blue University of Cambridge card or white Library card with you on the day. 18s and over only.

  • In compliance with normal Library rules, all visitors to the Library are asked to leave their bags in our secure locker-room before entering the main building.

  • The Library will remain open to readers during this event; please respect your fellow Library users and keep noise to a minimum during your visit.

  • The behind-the-scenes tours are not pre-bookable before the day, and will operate on a first-come, first-served basis on the day. Bookings for tours from 2pm will be taken on the 1st Floor balcony. Spaces on each tour are limited.

  • Some of the tours may not be suitable for wheelchair users or for those with limited mobility.

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