Bodleian Old Library for disabled readers

A student retrieves a book from a shelve


The Bodleian Old Library is partially accessible to those who require a level access route. If you need level access to the site, please contact before your first visit. We will register your card and arrange an individual site induction lasting about 1 hour. Given the nature of the buildings, this is required by the University Fire Officer. 

The Upper and Lower Reading Rooms can be reached via a level access route, using the reader lift to access the upper floors. Readers who need assisted evacuation procedures are only able to use the north wing of the Upper and Lower Reading Rooms, due to fire regulations. Duke Humfrey’s Library and the Lower Gladstone Link are only accessible via stairs.

Visit the University Access Guide for detailed access information for the Bodleian Old Library and Gladstone Link and Radcliffe Camera. 

Support and services

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the historic buildings, certain areas in the library are inaccessible to those who require level access. Library staff can transfer inaccessible material to an accessible area for you. If you have any queries about services and facilities for disabled library users at this library, please email  

The library has one accessible toilet, located on the ground floor to the right of the accessible entrance.

All reading room staff desks are equipped with hearing loops.  

The library can provide the following assistive equipment:

  • two ergonomic chairs (Lower Reading Room)
  • two ergonomic chairs (Upper Reading Room)
  • two height adjustable desks (Lower Reading Room)
  • four height adjustable desks (Upper Reading Room)
  • five coloured acetate sheets
  • daylight reading lamp
  • two CCTV magnifiers (one fixed, one portable)
  • five magnifiers

Please ask at the Issue Desk if you wish to use any of this equipment. Assistive equipment is also available in the Gladstone Link and Radcliffe Camera.  A study carrel in the Reader Common Room can be booked by emailing The carrel has level access, sound-proofed walls and a height-adjustable desk.