Reading rooms

The Bodleian Library is composed of a number of separate buildings and offers readers seven reading rooms to work in.  Details and the subject focus of each of the reading rooms is listed below. 

**Please note that the Bodleian Library is undergoing a number of building projects which aim to improve the facilities and services we offer to readers.  Details of the individual projects and any scheduled disruption are available here.** 

Duke Humfrey's Library is the oldest reading room in the Bodleian Library and a reading room for Maps, Music and some manuscripts and  pre-1701 Rare Books.  It is also the reading room in which University Archives, Conservative Party Archives and most Oxford University theses are consulted. The open-access books  in the Duke Humfrey's Library comprise: Music, Maps, Topography, Local History (including County Periodicals), Bibliography, Printing, Publishing,  Children’s Literature, Theatre and History of Photography. Readers may use only pencil in Duke Humfrey’s Library. Bags and cases may not be taken into the reading room and other security measures may be enforced. User's of Duke Humfrey's Library may also need to use the Special Collections Reading Room at RSL (more details below).

The Gladstone Link offers readers a different and more flexible environment to work in. Furniture of various types, and group study tables in corners or behind acoustic screens, offer the opportunity for group work and quiet discussion as well as for independent study. Though not a reading room in the traditional sense, this new reader space links the Old Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera, increasing the size of the collection available on open access and the number of study places. It houses material from remote storage shown to be used regularly by readers, as well as a section of new acquisitions, offering access to the majority of the last three years of the Library's acquisitions in Humanities. These items can now be accessed directly and no longer need to be ordered from closed stacks. The Gladstone Link also houses the Personal Development Collection, inspired and donated by Mr. Po Chung.

Since the recent re-location of the History Faculty Library into the Radcliffe Camera, the Upper level of the Gladstone Link also house some of the History Faculty Library's main lending collection, which begins in the Lower Camera Reading Room.

The Lower Camera Reading Room holds the beginning of the History Faculty Library's main lending collection, which continues in the Gladstone Link. 

The Lower Reading Room is the principal reading room for all those studying Classics and Ancient History, Theology (including Patristics) and Philosophy. It is also home to open shelf General Reference material and the Bodleian Library's Main Enquiry Desk.

The Special Collections Reading Room at RSL is the research reading room in which western medieval and modern manuscripts, oriental manuscripts and rare books are consulted. Readers may use only pencil in the Special Collections Reading Room. Bags and cases may not be taken into the reading room and other security measures may be enforced.

The Upper Camera Reading Room holds the Bodleian teaching collection for History and English, including some material on the History of Art and Archaeology, as well as its open shelf collection of Film Studies materials. It also holds the History Faculty Library's Undergraduate Set Text reference collection. It is where History Faculty Library's new staff office is located.

The Upper Reading Room is the principal research reading room for access to printed books published after 1640 in the subject fields of Medieval and Modern History, History of Science, English Language and Literature.

Related links

Back to top