Admission to one of the Science Libraries requires you to use either a University Card or the Bodleian Libraries' reader's card (see below). At the Radcliffe Science Library the card is used to operate the swipecard entry system. At Plant Sciences, for the Sherardian Library of Plant Taxonomy, and Zoology, for the Alexander Library of Ornithology, it is necessary to show the card at the entrance to the department.
Readers should be familar with Library Regulations.
Please read the information below before taking steps to complete your application for a Bodleian Reader Card, using the links provided, to ensure that the issue of a Bodleian Reader Card is the appropriate process, according to your current status, through which access to the Bodleian Libraries' collections can be provided to you.
If you do not hold a current formal affiliation to a college, department, or institution at the University of Oxford, and require access to the Bodleian Libraries, you will need to apply for a Bodleian Reader Card.
Alternatively, if you are already affiliated with the University you will have access to the Bodleian Libraries via different methods.
If you are currently:
- Attached to a college, department, or institution as an employee, student, or academic visitor at the University of Oxford, hold a degree from the University of Oxford, or if you are a retired member of the University of Oxford, view our Information for staff, students and graduates page.
- Participating in a study abroad programme or summer school within Oxford, or if you are currently affiliated to a study school within Oxford, view our Information for study abroad programmes page.
- Working for the NHS in Oxfordshire, view our Joining the library information.
How to apply
If you would like to apply for a Bodleian Reader Card, you will be able to find further information about how you will need to proceed and what you will need to bring on the following pages:
- What do I need to do?
- What access does a Bodleian Reader Card allow me?
- What forms of identity do I need to bring?
- Do I have to pay?
- Can I pre-order material?
A PDF providing a summary of important information for applicants is also available.
The Bodleian Libraries welcomes applications from both academically affiliated and independent individuals conducting academic, professional or private research.
Library access can be provided to any individual on the establishment of a research need and the presentation of the required forms of identity.
An appropriate research need will mean that you have a need to use the printed or electronic collections held by the Bodleian Libraries as part of academic, professional, or private research.
We are unable to admit readers who are only seeking a quiet space to work, or for access to the Bodleian Libraries for purposes other than the consultation of the printed or electronic collections they hold.
If you have any further unanswered questions relating to the admissions process or requirements please contact us in advance of your visit.
Rules of Conduct
On admission to the Bodleian Libraries, all readers agree to abide by the Rules of Conduct and to adhere to the spirit of the Bodleian Declaration:
I hereby undertake not to remove from the Library, or to mark, deface, or injure in any way, any volume, document, or other object belonging to it or in its custody; not to bring into the Library or kindle therein any fire or flame, and not to smoke in the Library; and I promise to obey all rules of the Library.
Access to the Bodleian Libraries is a privilege for all applicants, and the Bodleian Libraries has the right to refuse to issue a Bodleian reader card.