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Cambridge University Library
Cambridge University Library
Milstein Exhibition Centre, West Rd
Cambridge
free
exhibitions@lib.cam.ac.uk
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The wills of William Loring and William Hunden, both dated March 1416, bequeathed books to the library of the University of Cambridge. Their gifts are the earliest surviving references to a library specifically associated with Cambridge University. Six hundred years on it has grown from a small collection of manuscripts kept in chests into one of the world’s greatest university libraries. Today, it holds over eight million items, ranging from ancient clay tablets, illuminated medieval manuscripts and early printed books to electronic journals, e-books and digital archives.

Cambridge University Library is celebrating its 600th anniversary this year with a major exhibition in the Milstein Exhibition Centre: “Lines of Thought: Discoveries that Changed the World” brings together books, manuscripts and artefacts covering over 4000 years of human thought, from a cuneiform tablet to Twitter. The collections at the University Library both reflect and are central to many of the discoveries that have formed our understanding of the world around us, and the exhibition shows some of our greatest treasures. Darwin, Newton, Vesalius, Gutenberg, Shakespeare and many others feature in this spectacular display. Some two-thirds of the nearly 100 exhibits have never been on public display in Cambridge before, showing the remarkable depth of the collections.

Picture: Cambridge University Library