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The old library has served us well over the decades. But it was built in a time when our student numbers were much smaller, and when digital technology was unimagined. Space is currently limited, and overcrowding means that students often have to move to other locations during peak times such as the exam season. Nowadays our students like working together, too, and a new purpose-built library will allow for group collaborations alongside individual study areas. It will combine our collection of 30,000 books with the latest technology - enabling Selwynites to keep pace with the changing nature of academic content.


The auditorium will offer a large, ground-floor space with multiple uses: lectures and presentations, performances and social gatherings. For the first time we will have an area with fully tiered seating for 140, creating a modest theatre and enhanced with backstage facilities that will support student actors, dancers and musicians. The seating is fully retractable, creating a large open space that might be used for other events such as exhibitions, conferences or even exams.


We understand that many people will be curious about the fate of the existing library building. We are pleased to say that, upon completion of the new building, the historic, old library will be refurbished, principally as a teaching centre providing up to seven new spaces for seminars and supervisions. During vacations, these facilities will enhance our conference offer and help generate additional income for the College.


The new Library & Auditorium will cost us £12.6m to build. Refurbishment of the Old Library will cost £1.5m. All planning permissions have been secured and site preparation is under way. The build is likely to take 20 months and we aim for completion of this landmark building in early 2021. We have now secured £11.3m towards the project in donations and pledges, and we are now hoping that the Selwyn community will help us to reach our goal.

To discuss the project or make a donation, please contact Mike Nicholson, Development Director by email at


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Development & Alumni Office, Selwyn College, Grange Road, Cambridge CB3 9DQ. Tel:  01223 767 844  Email:

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