Exciting new browser extension for the off-site researcher : Lean Library

We are delighted to launch the Lean Library browser extension for use by all members of the University of Cambridge.

The common problem for e-resource access experienced off-site –

Researchers and students search for articles and online resources off-site and hit paywalls and login pages.  They miss out on access to content that they have rights to access or find the routes to login cumbersome and frustrating.   Often the article is available to the researcher thanks to subscriptions held by Cambridge University Libraries, but it is made unnecessarily difficult to download and read it.

How Lean Library can help in providing a solution –

A new browser extension is now available for all members of the University that offers a solution to this problem, thanks to an initiative of Digital Services, Cambridge University Library.  The extension is called “Lean Library” and cleverly integrates subscription access for the researcher with the Open Access alternative.   Once installed, for the off-site user the extension will deliver the article in the browser regardless of where on the Internet the search is made.

In the last resort, when there is no OA version available, Lean Library will display a pop-up with a link to the University Library’s Inter Library Loan page and request form, inviting the researcher to submit an ILL request to obtain the article.

How to get Lean Library for your own use –

The Lean Library extension can be downloaded from this link:


Please note that this link recognizes which browser you are using.  Lean Library works with most modern browsers (including Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox).  Downloading is a simple process and takes seconds.   Just under the button to download on the Lean Library site you will see a “Privacy statement” which it is recommended to all users to read before proceeding.  A web page for Cambridge with essential information about Lean Library is available here:


Promoting Lean Library for the Cambridge user –

The Lean Library Implementation Team really hopes we can improve the experience of the off-campus user with the Lean Library extension.   We have designed a poster which is available from the above page and flyers are available for display in libraries.   Please get in touch via the email: cam-leanlib@lib.cam.ac.uk

Please help us to promote the extension in your library communities.  The first signs are – Lean is doing a good job:

  • “A bit of feedback. It’s only bloody brilliant! I didn’t expect it to work, but it just does. Really slick.” – Office of Scholarly Communication


  • “Downloading the extension to my preferred browser (Chrome) was very easy and super quick.  I really like the application, it works very well, the messages alerting me of the availability of open access versions pop up very quickly indeed so a user wouldn’t have spent ages trying to find one.” – Office of Scholarly Communication


  • “I’m pleased to report that Lean Library went down very well with the 1st year MML PhD students so I think this is a great service that will be very popular with our user community” – Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages


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