Using the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library

A pale stone building with two large brown metal downs - the outside of the library
The Art Library front entrance will be closed from Monday 15 July – Friday 26 July due to building work. Alternative arrangements to enter and exit the building will be in place via Pusey Lane. During this period the library will close at 5pm Monday to Friday. If you have any queries or access requirements, please email


  • To use the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library, you must have a valid University or Bodleian Reader card. Readers must bring their card on all visits to the library.
  • If you are a registered reader, present your University or Bodleian Reader card to the card reader device and wait for the doors to open automatically.  
  • If you do not have a Bodleian Reader card, find out more about how to apply to join the Bodleian Libraries
  • If you are a visitor, or there is a problem with your card, please use the buzzer/intercom to contact the Lodge/Reception.

Rules and regulations

The Bodleian Libraries Regulations and Rules of Conduct apply in this library. Readers should also note the following local rules:

  • Bags larger than standard backpacks or laptop bags (approximately A3 size) are not allowed in the reading rooms. This includes suitcases, large sports bags, or other bulky items like skateboards. Lockers are provided by the foyer for storing personal possessions, though not for bulky items. Find out more about lockers.
  • You may not bring food, drinks (except bottled water or drinks in KeepCups), chewing gum, ink, tippex, hand cream or similar into the library. These will be confiscated without return.
  • While in the reading rooms, please do not talk and ensure laptops, mobile phones and other electronic devices are in silent mode
  • The intermediate landings on the staircases (as indicated) may be used for quiet conversations or essential phone calls.
  • You may use personal scanning devices in reading rooms if this does not disturb other library users.
  • Please treat library materials with due care.  
  • In the interests of safety and quiet, please use rolling cases gently and with awareness of other readers.
  • Library computers are for research purposes.

General information

  • The help desk is near the entrance on the ground floor.
  • Secure cycle parking is available in the courtyard off Pusey Place during library opening hours. Bicycles must be retrieved before closing time.
  • Water fountains are in the ground floor lift lobby and in the toilet corridor on the second floor.
  • If triggered, the book detector in the entrance hall will sound an alarm and lock the exit gate. Please ask a member of staff for help.
  • Every reader desk has a power socket and an Ethernet (wired internet) socket. Wi-Fi is available throughout the library.  
  • A camera stand to assist in taking digital images is available on floor 1, off the rotunda. Please ask staff for access.


Take note of fire escape direction signs.

When the fire alarm sounds, everyone must leave the building immediately and wait on the far side of St John Street until authorized to return by a senior member of library staff.

In the event of a fire alarm, do not attempt to use the lift. It is programmed to proceed directly to the ground gloor and stay there for use by the Fire Service only.


The closing bell will ring once, 15 minutes before closing time, and twice at closing time itself. Readers must be ready to leave immediately when the final bells are rung. Please clear your desk and switch off the desk-lamp. The building will be progressively cleared and locked as soon as the final bells are rung.

Layout and classification


Can't find your books? Having trouble navigating the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library? Use our interactive floor plans! You can virtually browse the contents of shelves, search by shelfmark (call number) and instantly locate a book within the library. Focus on reading books, not looking for them!


You can find a summary chart of the collections held on each floor posted on the staircase landings and in the lift lobbies. Each floor has a more detailed guide, showing the classification sequences.

Some of the library’s collections use old classification systems. The rest use the Library of Congress classification system.

Accompanying material such as CD-ROMs, loose plates and microfiches are stored separately and should be collected from the help desk. 

Find out more about the library's subject collections.


The Classics Lending Library collection is divided into broad categories (e.g. LAT, GRE, LIT.GEN, ARCH, HIST). LAT and GRE are subdivided by classical author with secondary works further subdivided by modern author. Other sections are subdivided by modern author.


The Rare Books Room, Archive Room, Wind Collection and Haskell Collection are not open to readers. Please apply at the help desk. Books will be fetched once a day (Monday to Friday only). Material should be consulted at the designated desks near the help desk. You can request items ahead of time by email. Please provide full bibliographic information and the item’s shelfmark.

Using the collections


Please return books to a reshelving point or a book trolley as soon as you have finished with them, so that they can be made available to other readers. Please do not reshelve the books yourself.

Reserve items

There are self-service reservation points (or benches) on every floor. You may reserve up to 10 items per floor. Reserved books must come from the same floor as the reservation point. Periodicals may not be reserved.