Using the Sackler Library

In line with the latest government guidance, you must wear a face covering in library reading rooms, unless you are exempt. Find out more about staying safe in our spaces and other service updates.


  • To use the Sackler 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.
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Welcome to the Sackler Library. As one of the Bodleian’s main research libraries, the Sackler’s collections include classics, archaeology & the ancient world, art and architectural history.

We are located just around the corner from the Ashmolean Museum, on St John Street. Here, we act as a hub for these humanities subjects. However, whatever your subject, we welcome all readers with a valid University or Bodleian Reader Card to our library.

You can use your Bodleian card to enter the Sackler by swiping it against the card-reader at the front door. This leads you into the lobby of the library. Our friendly porters will be happy to guide you. You can find them in the porter’s lodge.

You will also need to hold your card on the card-reader at the barrier before entering the reading room of the Sackler.

Library staff will be available at the enquiry desk to help you and answer any questions.

As a reader, you can also order closed stack items from the offsite storage facility. These items are placed on the reservation shelves on the ground-floor. Readers can find their ordered items under the first three letters of their last name and the last four digits of their barcode.

You can use our Quick-Search PC’s to look up library items on the library catalogue. Some of our collections are borrowable, as indicated by the SOLO record. If you’re having trouble navigating the library, we have interactive floor plans for the Sackler. This can be found on the Quick-Search PC’s and even on your phones.

You can search on the map for the shelf mark of a particular item, which then points you towards the correct floor and shelf. When you have found the books you want, you can leave them in our reservation areas, or place them on the trolleys to be reshelved.

We also have printing, photocopying and scanning machines. These are currently available to readers as indicated on the maps.

We have a variety of classification systems, so there are signs around the library to help you find your resources or to aid your browsing. However, please don’t hesitate to approach us for any further guidance.

Also, don’t forget, you can always contact us via email ( or telephone (+44 (0)1865 278 094)). The contact details for specific staff members, including Subject Librarians can also be found on our website.

Back at the enquiry desk, you’ll find the self-issuing machine. Finally, as you exit the library, you will need to use your Bodleian card at the barriers again.

We look forward to welcoming you and seeing you very soon!

Rules and regulations

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

  • Bags up to standard laptop size (about A3) may be brought into the library. You must leave other bags and briefcases in the lockers (see below).  
  • You may not bring food, drinks (except bottled water), chewing gum, ink, tippex, hand cream or similar into the library. These will be confiscated without return. Water should be in a clear bottle, which must be kept on the floor under the desk.
  • 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. Only those near the entrance should be used for e-mail.

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 Sackler Library? Use the Sackler's 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.