In preparation for the refurbishment of the New Bodleian Library, a large proportion of Special Collections material has been relocated temporarily. The relocation was carried out for conservation reasons, in order to protect the Bodleian’s important collections during the refurbishment of the library.
During this period the Special Collections that are affected are available for consultation at the Radcliffe Science Library (RSL). A dedicated Special Collections team and relevant resources have relocated to the RSL to administer this material for readers.
Many of the collections which have been consulted in Duke Humfrey's Library will be consulted in the SCRR at RSL during this period. Duke Humfrey’s Library will continue to provide access to manuscripts and rare books not transferred to the new location.
Please contact Special Collections staff with any queries, either in person in the Special Collections Reading Room, by email at email@example.com or by telephone at 01865 277046.
Alternatively, please consult the 'Question and Answer' sheet.
The temporary SCRR at the RSL can become very busy at times. In order to ensure a reading space, prospective readers are encouraged, if possible, to book in advance of their visit. This can be done by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 01865 277046.
New Bodleian Library closure and refurbishment
The New Bodleian Library closed to readers in late 2010 for an extensive refurbishment programme.
Through this refurbishment the New Bodleian building will provide improved research facilities for scholars, and improved access to the Bodleian’s successful programme of exhibitions and related activities. The refurbishment is also a key activity in improving the physical infrastructure of the Library, where the stacks of the New Bodleian have been identified as requiring urgent renovation. In order to make it possible to begin this essential work, the New Bodleian building – one of the largest library buildings in Britain – has been emptied and the collections stored there relocated, together with the services currently delivered from the building.
The temporary move of collections was undertaken in phases, beginning with a move of a large group of Special Collections, which has been temporarily relocated. The Radcliffe Science Library (RSL) was chosen to house the temporary Special Collections Reading Room (SCRR) to ensure both the safe environment for the collections and for its proximity to the central Bodleian Library. Duke Humfrey's Library will continue to provide access to manuscripts and rare books not transferred to the new location.
Location of the SCRR at RSL
In order to disrupt existing users of the RSL as little as possible, and to provide adequate accommodation for users of Special Collections, the Lankester Reading Room was identified as the most suitable location for readers using Special Collections in the RSL. The room has been divided into two areas, one to continue to accommodate science readers and their material and the other part to accommodate Special Collections readers.
Readers with disabilities
The RSL reading rooms also constitutes the main provision for Bodleian readers with disabilities.
Impact on staff and readers
It is the Library’s aim to maintain access to all of the Bodleian Libraries' collections during the three year closure of the New Bodleian Library and to continue to place our readers’ needs at the forefront of our service during this time.
The Library recognises that the move of some Special Collections operations to the RSL will disrupt existing services and inconvenience some readers. This move is an essential step in ensuring the long-term preservation of these collections. During the period when Special Collections are consulted in the RSL, there will be improved services for those users. They will benefit from increased speed of delivery of Special Collections material from the closed stacks as well as longer opening hours and the proximity of the refreshment and lounge areas available in the newly refurbished RSL. Science readers too will find that their most frequently requested material will be immediately available on open access or provided in electronic format rather than having to be ordered from the stack. Staff will be able to exchange information with a new group of colleagues, learn more about each other’s work and cover for each other when necessary and practicable, thus further enhancing the service to readers.
The Experimental Psychology Library moved to the RSL during the Long Vacation 2009, a move that has been planned for some years and which was contingent on the renovation of the RSL. Further moves are expected in subsequent years.
Further updates will be provided about these projects as the timeframe becomes more established and details clarified. In the meantime if you have any queries or comments please contact: