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Educational Resources

The following resources are based upon the Library’s manuscripts and early printed books. They aim to support teachers and students by supplementing and extending the National Curriculum, and are freely available to all. School visits to the Library, in conjunction with these resources or otherwise, are encouraged.

If you have any questions or feedback about these resources please contact Kathryn McKee, Special Collections Librarian. Email: km10007@cam.ac.uk, Tel: 01223 339393.

The copyright in the images used in these resources belongs to the Master and Fellows of St John's College, Cambridge. If you would like to publish any of the images in any way please contact the Library for permission.

Chieftain from one of Captain James Cook's books about his travels

Curious People: The History of Exploration

Discover how Europeans explored the rest of the world through illustrations and first hand accounts in books, maps and papers from the Library's special collections. This online resource can be accessed by people, places or topics, as well as by using an interactive timeline.


A replica astrolabe in the Old Library

The Way to the Stars: Build Your Own Astrolabe

Learn about the astrolabe, an ancient astronomical instrument, and download a template to build your own to try at home. This resource was created as part of the Library's Fred Hoyle Project.


Making a sewn pamphlet

How to Build a Book

An instructive or explanatory text with diagrams (PDF 3.5MB). St John's College Library has used book making as a basis for a variety of different projects with schools. Making a simple sewn pamphlet is a creative way of displaying your work.