This blog aims to explore and talk about the rare books and early manuscripts that form Queens’ College’s historic Old Library.  We welcome contributions to the blog from students and researchers working on our collections.

Established in 1448 as the College’s working library, Queens’ College Old Library contains around 20,000 volumes, including medieval manuscripts, incunabula, books with elaborate bindings and numerous early editions of important works. Many of the books have been annotated by past generations of Queens’ scholars, thereby providing an invaluable record of intellectual activity from early modern times until the 19th century.  With many of its books still in their original 16th century bindings, Queens’ Old Library is notable for the fact that of all Oxbridge libraries, it remains closest to its original state. Interesting features include the Library’s original medieval reading desks, and some medieval stained glass windows originating from a Carmelite Friary that was adjacent to the college prior to its suppression in 1537 when Queens’ purchased them.

The Library is committed to using its Special Collections to support research and teaching.  At the same time, it recognises the enduring importance of its collections, and the need to preserve this unique cultural heritage for future generations. Items from the Special Collections can be viewed by all as part of the Library’s  exhibitions programme. For further information on the collections and how to use them, please visit the Old Library wepages.


College Librarian: Dr Tim Eggington  librarian@queens.cam.ac.uk

Fellow Librarian and Keeper of the Old Library: Dr Ian Patterson ikp1000@cam.ac.uk

Fellow Archivist: Dr Richard Rex archive@queens.cam.ac.uk




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