Arranging a visit

Last updated: August 2020

Accessing our collections

Most of our catalogued collections are open to anyone with a research enquiry, free of charge.

However access to some of our collections is restricted. These restrictions are usually due to a condition of bequest or in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

All of our collections must be consulted in the Littler Reading Room.

We are pleased to announce that the Archive and Special Collections are now open for remote enquiries. For Archive enquiries please email: For Special Collections enquiries please email: However, please be aware replying to enquiries may take us slightly longer in these unusual circumstances.
We regret that we are still unable to welcome visiting researchers into the Archive and Special Collections but will provide an update as soon as possible.

We are open Monday to Thursday 9.30am-4.45pm (closed for an hour for lunch).

We close over Christmas & New Year, Easter, and for a fortnight in August/September each year.

You must make an appointment with the Archivist (for archive collections) or Librarian (for special collections) at least 48 hours before visiting Girton but note that appointments are dependent on staff availability and we may not always be able to accommodate you on your preferred date.

Please see our Staff and contact details webpage.


There are directions on how to find Girton College – see directions.

There is also a map of the College – see map and virtual tour.

Visitor car-parking is available in the Mare’s Run car park and the Visitor entrance is via the Old Kitchens. When you arrive at the College please report to the Porters’ Lodge (number 7 on the Girton College map).

When you arrive at the Porters’ Lodge you will be asked to register as a Visitor. You will be issued with a Visitor’s  badge, which we ask you to wear whilst on the College premises.

At the end of your visit you will need to return to the Lodge to sign out and return your badge.

You will need to register as an Archive and Special Collections reader on your first visit. Please bring with you:

  • Some identification which includes your address and a photograph – for example your passport or driving licence.
  • (If you are a student – undergraduate or graduate) A letter of introduction from your supervisor.

When you register as an Archive and Special Collections reader you agree to the following rules:

General Rules

  • No food or drink is allowed in the Reading Room.
  • Coats must be left in the Library.
  • Bags must be left with the Archivist.
  • Files of your own papers are not allowed on the Reading Room table.
  • You must use pencil for note-taking.
  • Laptops are allowed and power points are available.

Rules when handling the material

  • You may only have one file or three volumes/items at a time.
  • Handle the material with clean hands.
  • Keep loose documents in their original order, flat on the table and turn one sheet at a time.
  • Foam book supports and weights are available for volumes.
  • Do not lean on material or rest objects on them.
  • Close volumes and files when you are not using them.
  • Do not write on or mark any material (acid free bookmarks are available if required).
  • Tell us about any accidents or damage.

Requesting copies of the material

  • It may be possible to take your own photographs of the material for a daily charge. Please make sure that you can pay by either cash or cheque on the day of your visit.
  • It may be possible to request scans or photocopies of the material for a charge.

For our copying regulations and charges please see our copying and publishing webpage.

All our collections are housed in a closed store. You will need to fill in a request slip for each item you wish to look at and wait for the Archivist or Librarian to fetch it for you. Normally this does not take long.

It is possible to order items in advance of your visit so that they are out ready for you. If you would like to pre-order items please contact the Archivist (for items in the archive collections) or Librarian (for items in the special collections) – see our Staff and contact details webpage.

It is possible to access the internet in the Reading Room via Cambridge University’s wireless service, UniOfCam (formerly called Lapwing).

If you are a member of Cambridge University you can login using your UIS/Raven password.

If you are not a member of Cambridge University you can request a UniOfCam temporary ticket. If you would like a UniOfCam temporary ticket please let the Archivist or the Special Collections Librarian know before your visit.

Further information is available at

Girton is located outside of the centre of Cambridge and there are no local cafes or restaurants within walking distance.

It is possible to have lunch in the College Cafeteria or the College cafe. You can pay using debit or credit card.

It is also possible to bring your own lunch and eat it in the College grounds.

If you need to stay in Cambridge overnight it may be possible to stay in College. Generally rooms are only available outside full term. For more details please see the Accommodation at Girton College webpage.

You can find details of local accommodation on the Visit Cambridge website. This is the official tourism website for Cambridge.

Littler Reading Room opening hours

Monday to Thursday

9.30am - 4.45pm (closed for an hour for lunch)
Closed at weekends, Christmas, Easter, and for 2 weeks in the summer

Further information about the Archive

Hannah Westall
Archivist and Curator
t: +44 (0) 1223 338897

Further information about the Special Collections

Jenny Blackhurst
t: +44 (0) 1223 338970