Gonville and Caius College has a magnificent Library which serves both the needs of the College community and the research interest of scholars from all over the world. Since 1996 it has been housed in the imposing Cockerell Building, a Grade 1 listed nineteenth-century premises. This provides a stimulating and inspiring environment for readers and visitors alike.
The Library’s origins are, however, far older. The College has possessed its own books ever since its foundation in 1348 and kept them in a purpose-built library since 1441. By 1500 the Library held 300 books which are still with us, principally in the disciplines of theology, law and medicine, demonstrating our early commitment to the learned professions. Since then the collections have expanded in range and depth, commensurate to the growth and development of the College.
In practical terms the Building is divided between the Upper and Lower Libraries. The Upper Library houses the working collection of books and journals, some 90,000 volumes. These cover most essential areas of the first two years of the Cambridge Tripos, together with research-level material in many areas. The collections are enhanced each year. It also holds a range of music CDs and performance scores which, like the book-stock, is available for use by all members of the College. The Upper Library contains ninety working spaces.
The Lower Library contains the College’s Special collections of manuscripts, incunabula and early-printed books, and other rare material; to consult such items scholars will need to contact a member of Library Staff. All consultations are made under supervision by a member of Library Staff.