Using the Sackler Library

You will need to book a time slot to use our open libraries. Check individual libraries for more details. Find out what to expect when you visit a library and our latest service updates.

Library reopening

The following arrangements are currently in place in the Sackler Library.


A one-way, clockwise navigational system is in place throughout the library. Follow the floor and wall arrows.


  • Please move clockwise in the outer lobby and rotunda areas. Move up the North Stairs and down the South Stairs.
  • When using the stacks areas:
    • Floor G: wider, two-way passage (‘left-hand drive’) between rotunda entrance and lift is fine for transit purposes.
    • Other floors: please move from the south side to the north side, following signage.
  • When using the rolling stacks, move from south to north. Please clean your hands before using the rolling stacks. Use the hand sanitiser on the south side bench (near the reservation point) before touching rolling stack ‘levers’.


Please use the stairs when possible. The lift should be used only by those with a medical need for it. If you are a reader with a disability and require lift use, please contact the library ahead of your visit (

To facilitate the transport of heavy books, readers may use the book truck, placed permanently in the lift, to send books up/down from floor to floor. Readers may not accompany the book truck and their books in the lift. Please do not remove the book truck from the lift.


Lockers are not available for use. Please bring the minimum of items you need for your research and study needs in the library. Please do not ask premises staff to look after your bags in the porter’s lodge.

Using the collections

All five floors of the library, the Haverfield Room and the area adjacent to the Papyrology Room are open for readers to access and retrieve books and periodicals for themselves.

Materials delivered from our offsite facility will be placed on the Self-Collect shelving.


If you have booked another in-library slot, you may leave the books you have been using at the floor-appropriate reservation point. Usual overnight reserve deadlines are suspended, but please otherwise follow reservation point guidelines. We reserve the right to modify the above policy if reservation points become overcrowded and unmanageable.


Items housed in the Archive Room, the Haskell Room, the Rare Books Room and the Wind Room are not currently available.


  • To use the Sackler Library, you must have a valid University card. Readers must bring their card on all visits to the library.
  • If you are a registered reader, present your University card to the card reader device and wait for the doors to open automatically.  
  • This library is temporarily closed to Bodleian Reader card holders (non-University members). We hope to welcome you back soon. Find out more about our current service updates.
  • 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 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 30 minutes before closing time, 20 minutes before closing time and 10 minutes before closing time. Readers must be ready to leave immediately when this final bell is rung. Please clear your desk and switch off the lamp when you leave it. The building will be progressively cleared and locked as soon as the final bell is 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.