Using the PTFL

A long wooden desk across a room with bookshelves on either side


  • The library is open year-round to all University card holders, and to Bodleian Reader card holders during the vacations.  
  • To register, readers must bring their University or Bodleian Reader card to the library reception desk. For further details, please apply to the Librarian. Find out more about who can borrow from this library.
  • If you are not a member of the University, you can apply for a Bodleian Reader card

Library welcome video

Hello and welcome to this short presentation on the Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library.

To get to the library, head to the Radcliffe Humanities Building at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter. It's just off the Woodstock Road and the entrance looks like this.

To enter the building, you will need your University or Bodleian Reader Card. Hold your card to the pad shown and the door should open. There may be a delay while your card is recognised. Once inside, turn right for the library. Alternatively, you can use the intercom on the wall for help.

To enter the library, hold your card to the black square shown and the gate should open.

Head straight on for the library, or turn right for library reception. Again, you can use the intercom on the wall for help.

The Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library, or PTFL, has many thousands of books on different topics in philosophy and theology, including smaller sections related to social science, political science, medicine, law and science. Books are arranged alphabetically by shelf mark, and signs and maps like these are displayed throughout the library to help you navigate. Additional material is kept at the Bodleian Library and offsite store.

While the majority of the PTFL's collections are borrowable, Bodleian Library material is for library use only.

A number of facilities are available to support readers. On the ground floor, there is a print, copy and scan or PCAS machine, a self-issue machine for checking out books, and a number of quick search terminals with easy access to the library's catalogue, SOLO.

All of the PTFL's, collections are searchable in SOLO, including electronic resources. Reader PCs are available on the first floor. These require users to log in, but offer greater functionality, including access to electronic legal deposit resources.

The majority of the library's seating is also on this floor. This includes soft seating, traditional desks and chairs, as well as height adjustable desks. A range of accessibility equipment, including ergonomic furniture and reading aids, is available for use throughout the library.

Here are some images of our ground floor and first floor reading rooms.

As a smaller library away from the city centre, the PTFL is often quieter than other Bodleian Libraries and a smart choice during busy periods of the year. Library Reception is a staffed area near the library entrance on the ground floor.

Visit library reception for library help and to collect requested books.

Books can be returned any time via the book returns box. It's just to the right of the building's main entrance. Additional information and support is available online.

Visit the Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library web page for details of our opening times, rules and regulations, borrowing policies, library maps and support for disabled readers. You can also speak to a librarian in real-time using the live chat service available on the SOLO home page.

LibGuides are a great way to learn about resources available to help you study in your chosen subject. Visit the URL shown to get started.

Doctor Hilla Wait is the subject librarian for philosophy and theology. She is available for research specific queries and further support. Doctor Wait also considers resource recommendations for purchase. Requests for new purchases can be made via our website.

Library guidance has been updated to help keep readers safe. Users are encouraged to follow Oxford University safety advice, now on screen; to wear a face covering in the library; and to clean desks and shared equipment before and after use with the cleaning materials provided. Signage is in place to remind readers of current arrangements.

Valid card holders can visit the library without prior appointment. Self-isolating readers can contact the library to arrange for the collection and return of loans.

And finally, a reminder that staff are on site to offer library related help during opening hours. Our details are on screen.

We hope to see you soon.

Virtual tour

General information

  • The Bodleian Libraries Regulations and Rules of Conduct apply in this library.
  • The ground floor has a reading room with a small seating area. The library reception and help desk are to the right of the gate.
  • The first floor reading room is open-plan with a large seating area.
  • Print, Copy and Scan (PCAS) facilities and a self-issue machine are available on the ground floor.  
  • Hot and cold drinks in KeepCups are permitted in this library. You can purchase KeepCups from the library reception.  
  • There is a common room space located outside the library, past the entrance lobby on the left-hand side.

Layout and classification

Our books are catalogued on SOLO, which can be used to find an item’s shelfmark and location. Our library map (PDF) shows how shelfmarks are arranged within the library.

You can also view a detailed overview of the classification scheme at PTFL (PDF).

Sustainability initiatives at the PTFL

Together with the rest of the Radcliffe Humanities building, the PTFL is taking part in the Green Impact Initiative. Supported by the National Union of Students, Green Impact is an award scheme that recognises the work done by staff and students to increase the environmental sustainability of universities across the UK.  

PTFL librarians continually work to reduce the library’s environmental impact as low as possible. Here are some of our sustainability initiatives:

  • reusable cups (KeepCups)
  • movement sensors for lights
  • automatic sleep mode for library computers
  • recycling bins available throughout the library
  • advocacy campaigns highlighting sustainable travel within Oxford and the city’s biodiversity
  • radiator control
  • electronic publications
  • environmentally-friendly printing

If you have any suggestions for other initiatives, please email us.