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Impington Village College

Library Guide

Welcome to the Library…

We ask that you eat, drink and take phone calls outside of the library so that all can use the library undisturbed for working.

Please leave the space as you find it, put any rubbish in the bins and return any equipment and books that you use to the correct place. 

We have a security system so please make sure that you borrow all library books before leaving. You can borrow up to 5 items for 3 weeks at a time.  If you need books for longer, please bring them into the library and ask the librarian to renew them for you?  Please note: books may be renewed as long as no other student has placed a reservation on a resource. Returned books can be placed in the Returns Box on the Issue Desk. 

Sixth formers have their own separate, soundproofed room to study in at the Sylvia West Library, you are also welcome to use the computers and the other areas but there will be times when they are booked for classes. 

Our Reading blog   Please submit any book reviews by email – all comments will be moderated.

A Short History of the Library 

There has been a library at IVC from the very beginning when the college was conceived in 1939 by Henry Morris and designed by Walter Gropius and Maxwell Fry.  

"Adult education, clinics, libraries and institutes were to mingle with the day-to-day education of children: Morris’s vision amounted to true idealism and many architects would have gone a little dotty in trying to surpass the basic concept in brick and stone." Rodney Tibbs School that Gropius Built CEN article 07.02.1975

Henry Morris, Chief Education Officer for Cambridgeshire for over thirty years, believed that in the modern world art and the artist had become abnormal, replaced by the habit of ugliness. It was not surprising then that he should choose to employ Gropius, who held very similar ideas about the integration of art and beauty into every day for everybody, for the third village college. This belief in the integration of art can be seen in the library with a small but powerful bronze sculpture by Michael Ayrton entitled Split Figure. Ayrton, 1921-1975, an English artist, sculptor and writer captivated by Greek myth, was described by Henry Moore as “a fascinating side-alley; not mainstream, but a significant eccentric.”

The present library dates from 1993 when it was built as a purpose-built space and renamed in 2001 after the sudden death of College Warden Sylvia West in 1997. The beautiful plaque outside, carved at the Cardozo Kindersley Workshop in Cambridge, commemorates her contribution to the College and her love of books.

“The active practice and enjoyment of all the arts are as necessary to everybody as food and air” Henry Morris

Finding Resources 

Our online catalogue can be searched here:

On networked computers Start Menu – Favourites – Eclipse   Or click here

On iOS devices download the imls app and log in with site: impington village college/ guest.

You can search by author, title, keyword etc. and when you hover over the cover image of your search results you can check whether the title is on loan or not. In the book details section check the location (Sixth form or 11-16 Library) and make a note of the classmark (for non-fiction) in order to find the book on the shelves.  Fiction is shelved alphabetically by author’s surname, there is a separate Sixth Form Fiction section. There are also separate sections for graphic novels, manga, short stories and DVDs. Some of the audio books are shelved with books others are on a stand at the entrance to the library. You will find magazines, including BBC History, on the Magazine rack.

Here is a quick outline of our classification system…you can probably see that it is showing its age having been devised in 1876!

000 - Computer Science, Information, and General Works

100 - Philosophy and Psychology

200 - Religion

300 - Social Sciences

400 - Languages

500 - Science and Mathematics

600 - Technology and Applied Science

700 - Arts and Recreation

800 - Literature

900 - History and Geography

More detail about sub-divisions can be found here

Careers & University Resources

For University Prospectuses use where you can view, download and order prospectuses from UK Universities.

For information about Open Days go to

Careers films and information at

378.41 O’Le The Times Good University Guide: Where to Go and What to Study by John O’Leary
378.41 Zov The Good University Guide for IB Students  by Alexander Zouev
378.161 Hea Heap University Degree Course Offers by Brian Heap
650.142 Mil You’re Hired! How to Write A Brilliant CV by Corinne Mills

Also information on Gap Years, Apprenticeships, volunteering and studying abroad.

Study Skills – Recommended Reading 

025.042 Bra Expert Internet Searching by Phil Bradley. Google and beyond. Need to do a reverse image or app search, this book has some great tips.
808.027 Pea Cite Them Right by Richard Pears. The renowned guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism, includes  examples for all print and electronic sources, business, government, technical and legal publications, works of art and images from ancient texts to Twitter.
371.3 Gre How to Write Better Essays by Bryan Greetham.
371.3 Cot Skills for Success: The Personal Development Handbook by Stella Cottrell.
371.3 Cot Critical Thinking Skills by Stella Cottrell.
650.1 Pet The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters. A mind management tool for success.

Connell Guides Please obtain login details from the Librarian.

Reading great novels, plays and poems may be the best investment of time and money you can make. According to a study at Liverpool University, the works of Shakespeare, Austen and other great writers are “rocket boosters” to the brain and better therapy than any self-improvement guide. They give you insights into human nature you will find nowhere else. These guides make what can be daunting accessible and digestible.

We have a copy of each guide for reading in the Sixth Form library (Reference Only)

Jane Austen Emma / Pride and Prejudice
Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights
Robert Browning Poetry
Chaucer The Canterbury Tales
Joseph Conrad The Heart of Darkness
Charles Dickens Great Expectations
George Eliot Middlemarch
T.S. Eliot The Wasteland
Thomas Hardy Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird
John Milton Paradise Lost
William Shakespeare A Midsummer Night's Dream/ Antony and Cleopatra/ King Lear/ Macbeth/ Othello/ Romeo and Juliet/ The Tempest

Our subscription includes the following digital content:

Fortnightly Review - featuring digests of significant new critical essays or books and a summary of literary stories and available to read online.
Shorts - short guides to modern texts, written by leading literary critics and are available to read online. 

Current titles:

Angela Carter The Bloody Chamber
Kiran Desai Hullabalooo in the Guava Orchard
Michael Frayn Spies
Ian McEwan Atonement
Cormac McCarthy The Road
DBC Pierre Vernon God Little

Also quizzes and occasional essays

CAS Experience in the Library 

We welcome students who would like to do CAS hours in the Library and Archives ( and can offer a variety of tasks which will enable you to develop some valuable skills. The Librarian has contacts with a diverse range libraries and librarians, including those at Cambridge University, and this would be an invaluable opportunity for anyone thinking about a career in this sector. For a great overview of librarianship in the 21st Century see this Guardian article


We have a colour and black and white printer in the library but we do not give out any print codes in the library so you will have to buy a top-up / pre-payment card from the Finance Office.

Cambridgeshire Libraries 

Make sure you join and take advantage of their online resources

 Smart Research For Sixth Formers From IVC Library

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