You said, we did: 2022

This page details some of the ways in which the Bodleian Libraries are responding to the results of our 2022 Reader Survey, across the following areas:



You said... We did...
The Wi-Fi is horrible, which leads to my using the library for study far less than I would like to IT Services have fixed the login to the Bodleian Libraries Wi-Fi.
  IT Services have conducted a Wi-Fi signal strength survey of our libraries.
  To improve the signal strength throughout the Bodleian Old Library and Radcliffe Camera, IT Services have installed signal booster devices (plugged into power sockets at desks).
  IT Services are investigating the bandwidth issue on the routers.

We will...

Encourage IT Services to implement a solution to the Wi-Fi bandwidth issue.

Comfort of study spaces


Library You said... We did...
Bodleian Library The seats are very uncomfortable in the old Bodleian and Radcliffe Camera. We have bought some cushions for the wooden chairs in the Upper Reading Room, Lower Reading Room and Upper Camera.
  Duke Humphreys Library - would appreciate being able to take a desktop carrier bag into the library rather than carrying my computer, cord, etc since bags are not allowed. Clear bags are available to carry items, and laptop bags are allowed in Duke Humfrey’s Library. Staff, including Security, have been reminded of this.

More comfortable sitting spaces would also be appreciated. I would love to see some more reading rooms with different comfortable seating options.

All reader PCs had their software updated in April 2022.
  The lighting in the Rad Cam is too dim I think. We have bought some new desk lamps.
  Rad cam toilets always smell horrific. The cleaners are trialling new odour relief in the toilets.
  Book return boxes in foyers would be useful - eg. Rad. Cam. used to have one but now doesn't. The book return box has been back in use for 18 months after a temporary closure during COVID-19. Signage has been tweaked to make it clearer.
Health Care: Cairns Library Wish that they had more double screen computers, as they are amazing. It would also be nice if the NHS computers weren't so terrible there (particularly compared to the university/Bodleian ones)! We have ordered 13 new NHS reader PCs for the Health Care Libraries.
  The cairns library is unfortunately just a bit outdated and less comfortable & 'pretty' than other libraries, but I understand that there are constraints :) New study desks have recently been installed at the Cairns Library and we have plans to further improve the space as soon as we are no longer restricted by current NHS hospital social distancing and other COVID measures.
Law Library Some of the staff in the law library chat aloud quite loudly, which can be distracting. The Law Librarian has reminded staff to speak quietly.
  Law Bod library would significantly benefit from the provision of a hot water tap/boiler - it's very expensive for students to keep paying for tea from the Cafe when they are in the law library studying for full days at a time. The cafe refuses to provide students with hot water in their own reusable cups. This facility would make the law library much more hospitable for many financially struggling students. Other university libraries ensure to have a hot water tap/boiler available outside their entrance/very close by for this specific reason. Immediate implementation would be very valued. The Law Librarian has raised this request with the St Cross Building Management Committee.
Nizami Ganjavi Library The restriction of snacks and drinks in some libraries isn't necessary. The Oriental Faculty Common Room and the associated café service were closed due to COVID, but fully re-opened this term.
Sainsbury Library at the Said Business School Often too dark - very straining on the eyes The Business Librarian has raised the issue of lighting levels (particularly on the 2nd Floor) with the Saïd Business School.
Social Science Library I also wished there were vending machines for those that would like to buy food or drinks after the cafe closes. There are 2 vending machines in the seating area next to the café on the floor above the library.
  The study environment in the social science library is superb, except for the lady's bathroom. The hand towers spill out of the trash bin very very often and there is not enough ventilation in the bathroom, which I think should be improved both for sanitary and covid prevention purposes. The Social Science Librarian has passed your comment to the Facilities staff.
  Oh - also - the ventilation system in the SSL makes the loudest clanking noise, for a while I thought there was someone trapped in there. I think there's a fan loose, I've spent hours wondering what it could be. The Social Science Librarian has passed your comment to the Facilities staff.
Taylor Institution Library I think I see mould in the Taylorian Basement Girls bathroom. There is no mould, but there is flaky paint and crystallisation due to humidity and evidence of previous damp.
Vere Harmsworth Library / Radcliffe Science Library THE BATHROOMS IN THE VERE HARMSWORTH LIBRARY NEED GOOD VENTILAITON. thanks :). This feedback has been reported to the Rothermere American Institute, who will investigate the issue further.
Weston Library Occasionally it feels like some of the equipment could do with an update (I'm thinking particularly of the UV readers in the Weston, which are very old and unwieldy!). We have ordered some new UV readers.

We will...

The new Bodleian Libraries Strategy contains a suggested implementation plan item to review and improve existing library spaces to provide comfortable, accessible study environments suitable for modern scholarship.

Opening hours


You said... We did...
The libraries should be open earlier. At least at 0900. Opening at 0930 is too late. We changed the opening of the libraries from 9am to 9.30am due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, so that our staff could travel in on public transport at a less busy time. When the University BCP level was reduced, we changed back to 9am opening.

We will...

Consider the feedback on opening hours when planning the implementation plan projects for the new strategy statement, “Collaborate with Oxford’s students, researchers and academic staff to improve their library experience, and partner with Oxford’s diverse graduate community to design library services to support their specific needs”.

Borrowing policies


You said... We did...
I've been very frustrated to not be able to use most books outside of the library.

As part of the plan to increase the proportion of post-1900 books available for borrowing (approved by Curators of the University Libraries in March 2021):

  • 35% more Education Library books can now be borrowed (increase of 5,247 books)
  • Six times as many Japanese Library books (60,000) can now be borrowed
  • More post-2016 books at the Social Science Library can now be borrowed (an additional 1,500 books)
  • 500 legal deposit books in the KB Chen China Centre Library can now be borrowed.
  • All Radcliffe Science Library books published after 1970 can now be borrowed, whether they are on the shelves of the Vere Harmsworth Library or closed stack (Book Storage Facility).
  • The Committee on Library Provision and Strategy approved an increase of the number of Nizami Ganjavi books that can be borrowed.
  • Books in the Sackler that were made available for borrowing (40%) due to the pandemic have continued to be available.
There should be less books restricted to closed stack/closed stack books should be able to be taken out on loan. When we implement our new IT system, you will be able to borrow all books that are loanable, whether they are kept on library shelves or in the closed stack (Book Storage Facility). You will need to request a book from closed stack to a library, and then you can borrow it from that library.
I would like longer borrowing periods.

When we implement our new IT system, there will be only 4 loan periods of books across the Bodleian Libraries.

High demand collections are controlled by fixed loan periods which apply to all borrowers. Disability Advisory Service registered students have an extended loan period (where recommended):

Same day loan: 3 hours (extended loans: 24 hours)
Short Loan: 2 days (extended loans: 4 days)
Week loan: 7 days (extended loans: 14 days)

All other books that can be borrowed are in a flexible loan category where the loan period varies based on the borrower:

  • Undergraduates: 7 days
  • Taught postgraduates: 7 days
  • Research postgraduates: 28 days
  • Staff: 28 days
  • Undergraduates and taught postgraduates with extended loans: 14 days.
It would be great if the library could do automatic renewals, with a notification to say the books have been renewed and to return any no longer needed. When we implement our new IT system, most items will be renewed automatically. This means that, when an item is nearing its due date, it will be automatically renewed for the same duration as the initial loan period (e.g. an additional 7 or 28 days). If another user places a reservation on the title, the renewal will be prevented and you will receive a reminder to return the item by email. If no reservations have been placed and the item is not returned, it will keep being automatically renewed until the maximum renewal period of 112 days (16 weeks) has been reached.
For a world-class research centre in my discipline, I am surprised by how poor the library services are.  you cannot check out enough books

When we implement our new IT system, the Bodleian Libraries will move from an individual limit per library to a shared limit across all sites based on borrower category:

  • Undergraduates: 20 items
  • Taught postgraduates: 20 items
  • Research postgraduates: 30 items
  • Staff: 40 items
  • Disability Advisory Service registered students: extra 10 items
I suppose my biggest grievance with the library system concerns library fines.  It is very hard to juggle all the duties and obligations an Oxford academic faces, especially if one is an active researcher. Sometimes books have to be borrowed a few weeks before they can actually be read because there is just enough time to raid a library. A bit more slack would be appreciated. We stopped charging fines in March 2020 with the first lockdown. When we implement our new IT system, this will become permanent. If you do not return on time an item that someone else has reserved, you will be blocked from borrowing across the Bodleian Libraries.

We will...

Continue the project to increase the proportion of post-1900 books available for borrowing, including reviewing non-lending collections in all Bodleian Libraries, and legal deposit books in the closed stack (Book Storage Facility).

Contents of collections


You said... We did...
Also, we don't have online access to all of the scientific journals - for example, I don't think that we have the Lancet. We have a current subscription to the Lancet. The quickest way to find it on SOLO is to use Advanced Search: select 'Title contains' and enter 'Lancet', and select the 'Resource Type' as 'Journals'.
For example, Oxford does not have a subscription to the Lancet HIV - this is relevant to my research and know it's niche, but serves as an example of a high impact journal to which the Univeristy does not currently have access for students and staff. It is after all the world's leading journal dedicated to HIV research so quite an important journal on the grand scheme of things. We have subscribed to the entire Lancet stable of ejournals, including Lancet HIV and Lancet Haematology.
I also find that there are some journals we do not have access to which I would expect su to (e.g. some subjournals of Nature) We now provide access to all of the Nature-branded journals via SOLO.
A lot of computer science books and resources are missing, for example Springer books /papers and sometimes others. We have just purchased very large ebook packages from publishers in this area, including Elsevier and Springer collections. The Computer Science Librarian will contact students, researchers and academics in Computer Science to encourage recommendations for purchase.
I would like it if we had full access to Teaching History articles We have a full subscription to Teaching History: to access it, you need to be connected to the Oxford VPN or the University network. Direct article links are provided in ORLO (Oxford Reading Lists Online). We will circulate details of how to access this journal to PGCE (History) students.
Closing the Radcliffe Science library means the provision for engineering material is significantly worsened, and I now solely use my college library for engineering resources We are moving all RSL Engineering books held at the VHL to open shelves as soon as possible.
I think there could be greater availability of books on ethnic minority-led literary movements and ecocriticism. I found it hard to find online resources on the Native American Renaissance, for example. I would also appreciate if there was more signposting of books on empire, colonialism, diversity in library staff. We are starting work on a major project in this area in October 2022.
I really hope that the library could purchase access to the powerful database Zhongguo jiben gujiku 中國基本古籍庫 developed by Airusheng愛如生, which will be really helpful for my research related to premodern Chinese literature. We have a trial to this database: it is available via Databases A-Z. If this proves successful we will look to purchase it if funding allows.
There are some eresources that seem to be pretty normal among university libraries, which the bod does not have access to, such as the Listener Archive. We will be purchasing the Listener Archive in August 2022.
there are one or two important journals that re notably lacking e.g. European respiratory Journal. We have just signed a deal for the European Respiratory Journal.
I would love if the emergency access we've been extended to De Gruyter and Cambridge Collections could be made permanent We have just renewed the Cambridge ebook collection for another two years.
Would be great to have more access to proprietary business and industry reports developed by credit rating agencies, ESG rating agencies etc. We now provide access to reports in FitchConnect, one of the major credit rating companies Fitch Solutions, and have added access to the RepRisk ESG data.
There are some textbooks for the Roman law course in first year that aren't available online. It would be ideal if they were. The rest are all online so that's great. Institutional ebook licences for some Roman law textbooks are unavailable. Extracts are digitised and added to LawBod4Students on Canvas subject to copyright restrictions.
it would be nice to have more access to foreign language materials e.g. French law journals and books. We are switching from Lexis360 to Dalloz to widen French language e-content for Law.
I would also appreciate it if the libraries offered subscriptions to the most popular medical journals. We have online subscriptions to all of the major most popular medical journals, available via SOLO.
We need to increase our online provision (access during the pandemic was excellent). We need to keep Brill and De Gruyer (Erasmus complete works). It would be great to get access to the Année Rabelaisienne (Garnier digital) and to keep access to the Etudes Rabelaisennes (Droz)! We have online access to the Année Rabelaisienne from 2017 onwards, available via SOLO.
While most of the online journals allow access to the paid content via Shiboleth/institutional login, sometimes University of Oxford is not on the list of approved universities. However, the same article can be accessed when searched via SOLO and accessed via the journal website through there. As PubMed is the preferred search engine for biomedical scientists, it would be helpful if access could always be provided by loggin in on the journal's website and not having to resort to SOLO. Unfortunately, this is sometimes beyond our control.  However, if you can tell library staff where this is not working for you, we will try to resolve the specific issue. Our Browzine journal finder tool provides a very user-friendly and greatly improved one-stop access point to our online journal subscriptions.
More digital resources, more access to digital media (films especially) and online newspaper subscriptions A trial of an online Afghan newspaper collection is currently being organised. If this proves successful we will aim to purchase it.
I have not been using the physical library services as I often find that the library does not have the statistics books that I require, or I am not allowed to borrow them out of the library. The way I use statistics textbooks is not that I read it cover to cover, but as a reference manual when I am running analyses which I do in the office (or currently from home). The new lending policy, which will be introduced in the future, will mean that the majority of modern statistics books will be available to borrow.
I think the library should have full access to the AIAA database in line with our CDT partners Loughborough and Cambridge. This would be hugely beneficial to Aerospace students such as myself. We have subscribed to the AIAA Meeting Papers.

We will...

Subject librarians will contact their subject areas to ask for specific information on missing resources and to promote the Recommend a purchase form.

COVID protocols

We will...

Investigate ways that we can provide spaces where readers who wish to continue taking COVID precautions will feel safe working in libraries.




You said... We did...
More books for my subject

If you have a suggestion for a book you want the Bodleian Libraries to buy, please complete our online form.
If you have a suggestion for a book you want your college library to buy, your college librarian would be delighted to hear from you.

More journals for my subject If you have a suggestion for a journal you want the Bodleian Libraries to buy, please complete our online form.
It is not clear how to get a physical book from a library using the SOLO website.

Visit our guide to using SOLO:

The libraries I can visit, their spaces to work, availability of private study rooms (to study in groups).

This information is on our ‘Find a Library’ webpage. You can filter to those with group study rooms (under ‘Facilities’).

I am so shocked by what is happening in Duke Humfrey: the amount of food and drink consumed in there, and that pens are now allowed. Food and drinks, bags or coats are not allowed in Duke Humfrey’s Library (for more information, visit our webpage about using the spaces in the Old Library). When the special collections returned to the Weston Library, pens were once again allowed in Duke Humfrey’s.
And the computers are entirely inaccessible with the sign-in system which uses one of many passwords which is hard to keep track of. There need to be more computers that do not require sign-in details. Every library has at least one 'quick check' computer, which lets you use SOLO without having to sign in.
Please make it easier to request journal chapters that are unavailable from Oxford that will be emailed directly to you or sent via the document delivery service/British Library. Our inter-library loans service is available to all University and Bodleian card holders.
What I would like is for someone to take me on a tour of the central library areas and show me the places that would be good for me to work Staff in the Old Library and Radcliffe Camera are happy to provide introductory sessions for users. Please contact:
There needs to be provision to see chapter overviews of books so that the scan a chapter facility can be utilised efficiently. You can request a scan of the contents page of a book, and then use this to select a specific chapter to request. This would count as a single request, and is permitted under copyright law.
It would also be great if the library teaches us how to distinguish trustworthy and untrustworthy information as there is a sea of information on SOLO. We run iSkills workshops throughout the year, as well as sessions for specific degree programmes or subjects. Find out more about our workshops.
I'd like to be able to drink coffee in the library place where I work

This information is on our ‘Find a Library’ webpage. You can filter to those that allow hot drinks (under ‘Atmosphere’).

I think it may be useful to have one document/ pamphlet/ leaflet that includes a map of all the bodleian libraries that can be accessed by the students with their BOD cards. The Oxford Libraries Map is given to all new students as part of their welcome pack. It is also available online.
It would be EXTREMELY helpful to have free and easy scan and deliver service. We had this at Harvard, and I used it frequently as a graduate student.

Our free, easy-to-use (according to feedback) Scan and Deliver service is available free of charge to all University and Bodleian card holders.

There is also a song and video made by library staff.

It is difficult to know which is the correct website to use to find resources when I want them, and when trying to access journal articles online I am never able to find the ones I require.

All the resources you have access to are listed on SOLO.

Find out more information about how to use SOLO to find journal articles in our SOLO guide.

While searching on SOLO does give groups of similar results, it would be nice to have a feature to browse some sort of virtual bookshelf.

Browse is available at the top of the SOLO homepage. You can browse by author, title, or subject.

Not totally sure what services are available to me, I am sure there are many, and where I could get this information. Our website has all this information.
The scan and delivery service is limited to one chapter/book or a small fraction/book with reference to copyright laws; this hinders the progress of my research because often there are more chapters useful for my research in one edited book or more than 10% of the book. But the use of the book is for educational (non-commercial) purposes, therefore no limit should apply.

Copyright law allows scanned copies for private study or research for non-commercial purposes within the following limits:

  • one chapter from a book
  • one article from a journal
  • one short story or poem from an anthology
  • or up to 5% of a work.

If the purpose is not for private study or non-commercial research, the law does not allow any scans to be made.

Find out more about limits on digital copying.

The search engine is not excellent. For example a couple of days back I try to find Title: What is strategy? Source: Harvard Business Review [0017-8012] Porter yr:1996 vol:74 iss:6 pg:61 -78 Use Advanced Search on SOLO. Type in “What is strategy?” (including the quote marks) as Title and Porter as Author. This article is the first result on the list.
The only things I could suggest is a more space to eat during lunch. For people who live in further from the centre, to eat at lunch you have to sit outside (which is hard in winter or rainy days) or eat in a cafe which is expensive. All libraries have a space in the same building where you can eat and drink.  The Old Bodleian and Radcliffe Camera have a Reader Common Room where you can eat your lunch in the warm and dry.
It's quite frustrating to continually have to do MFA when accessing journals through their websites. Multi-Factor Authentication was implemented by IT Services. As part of the University of Oxford, the Bodleian Libraries must abide by the IT rules. More information is on the IT Services website.
It would be really useful to have a clear single contact point for all library-related services, from which you could be signposted to the right service.

Our Ask and Support webpage gives details of how to contact our Reader Services team, who will be happy to help with any questions about our services.

Every subject area has a dedicated specialist librarian who is the single point of contact for that subject. Find your subject librarian.

Unsure if Bod. can help with citation references? We run iSkills workshops throughout the year, including on referencing and citations.
Another request would be to create a single webpage with links for library access to the major newspapers, book reviews, and literary periodicals commonly read by academics in the social sciences and humanities (Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Financial Times, Economist, NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, TLS, LRB, NYRB, New Yorker, Harper's, New Statesman, New Left Review, Chronicle of Higher Ed, etc.). The library has subscriptions to many of these publications, but without a central access-point, I end up having to look them up in SOLO individually at each use.

We have specialist guides to resources for each subject available. Find your subject.

These guides are created by our specialist subject librarians and include links directly to useful journals, books, databases and other resources for that subject.

We will...

  • Produce new internal communication plans, and implement them from the start of the new academic year.
  • Explore new ways of delivering physical library inductions.
  • Review our induction materials, including the libraries map leaflet, in light of the comments before finalising them for the new academic year.