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Studying in the Library

Studying in the Library

The New Library provides over 90 study spaces across three floors with views of the Fellows Garden and the Cam.

The New Library is a purpose-built study space for Magdalene students, Fellows and staff, offering a variety of places to work within an inspiring environment. There is a mix of individual desks, group desks, comfortable seating and window seats. Every desk has an adjustable desk lamp, plug and USB power points, with some spaces also providing wired Ethernet connection points.

The Library provides many places to work together but please bear in mind that in order to create an atmosphere that is suitable for study the New Library is a designated quiet space. Please take conversations to the ‘social space’ or outside, or if you wish to work as a group book the ‘Group Study Room’.

This academic year there are some areas on the First and Second Floor where we have retained desks with 2 metre social distancing to support those who may be concerned about easing of COVID-19 restrictions, there are also several individual desks across the library space.

Up to four books may be reserved for use in the Library in addition to the twelve that you may borrow. Reserved books should be left in a tidy pile to one side of the desk, or on a side desk, when you are away from the Library so that others can use the space. A completed reservation slip should be left with them. Slips are valid for 24 hours, unless the date is updated. Items without a valid slip will be re-shelved. 

Rowan Williams Room (Social Space)

Taking regular breaks and staying hydrated is an important part of successful study. We encourage you to get up, stretch, have a snack and a drink and come back to your study space refreshed, which is why we provide the Rowan Williams Room or ‘Social Space’ within the New Library building. Accessed via the right hand door in the building entrance foyer (card reader to the right of the Benefactors Stone). The ‘Social Space’ provides the following amenities:

  • Instant Boiling water tap
  • Instant chilled, filtered water tap
  • Sink to wash out your takeaway cups before recycling
  • Sofas
  • Chairs
  • The Recreational Reading section

The ‘Social Space’ is ideal for short breaks from study or meeting up before and working to ensure everyone has a chance to use the space.

The Group Study Room

The Group Study Room is located on the First Floor and is a bookable study space, designed to enable group study work without disturbing other library users. It is not bookable for teaching, supervisions or social/club events.

The Group Study Room will be bookable for hour-long slots throughout the day. Consecutive booking slots will be possible, but limited to 3 consecutive slots per day.  Booking is available via the online MagdNet booking page.

Study Resources

We provide a number of study aids for use within the library, including:

  • Staplers and hole punches (located in the Copier rooms)
  • A4 Whiteboards and a free-standing flipchart/whiteboard (First Floor copier room)
  • Book chairs
  • Laptop stands
  • Earplugs (Easter term only)

Library Catalogue (iDiscover Kiosk)

On the First Floor (opposite the toilets) is a kiosk running iDiscover for looking up resources on the Library catalogue.


If you have booked a study slot in the library and need a printer then we currently have one PC and printer set up in the second-floor copier room.

We do not currently have any network computers to work on in the New Library, if you need to use a computer then you can use the College’s computer rooms, please see the computer office webpage for details.


We have a scanning station set up in the first-floor copier room, you can also scan to email via the photocopiers on each floor.

Library Rules and Etiquette

The College Library is intended for academic study, in order to maintain a pleasant working environment all users are required to observe the following rules:

  1. The Library is a quiet study space throughout, take all conversations outside, keep noise to a minimum and be thoughtful of those working around you.
  2. The Library is for current Magdalene students, fellows and staff. Please do not bring in non-College members without permission.
  3. Hot and cold drinks are permitted provided that they are contained in a lidded cup.
  4. Food must not be brought into the Library.
  5. Please switch all mobile phones and other devices to silent mode in the Library and go outside if you need to take or make a call.
  6. Do not leave personal property unattended for significant lengths of time. Belongings will be removed by staff where necessary in order to create space for other users.
  7. Help us keep the Library clean by disposing of any rubbish or unwanted paper in the bins provided.
  8. Do not write in, mark or underline sections of Library books.
  9. Books must not be removed from the Library without borrowing via the Self-Service machine. The fine for removing books without borrowing is up to £30 per book.

The Library Team and Porters monitor the library to help maintain the working atmosphere. If you have experienced problems, please report this to a member of staff, in person or by e-mail, so that we can work to resolve the issue. All users of the library are expected to identify themselves if requested.

Repeated breaking of library rules or disruptive behaviour in the Library may be reported to your tutor or the Dean.

Lost Property

Other items of lost property are kept in the Lost Property Box on the shelves facing the Library Office reception desk. Please ask a member of staff if you are concerned an item has gone missing. The lost property box is cleared out at the end of each term. Valuable technology items found in the Library are handed over to the Porters’ Lodge by Library Staff.

Books belonging to other libraries, returned to the College Library by mistake, are put on the reserve shelf and then returned to the library if unclaimed.


In the event of an emergency please contact the Porters, this can be done by using the intercom outside the New Library building front doors.

If the fire alarm sounds, please leave the Library immediately via the nearest emergency exit. The Fire Assembly Point is under the large tree in the Fellows Garden.

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