Using the Taylor Institution Library

A student sit in a small alcove desk - there is a small lamp on the table and the student is working on a laptop

Library opening and services

The following special arrangements are currently in place at this library.

One-way system

One-way systems are in place in the entrance lobby and on the ground floor of the Teaching Collection. The systems are signposted in the building. &autoplay=false&offerviewer=true&showtitle=true&showbrand=false&start=0&interactivity=all


Hi there, welcome to the Taylor Institution Library, also known as the Taylorian. We are the Bodleian’s Medieval and Modern European Languages Library, located on the corner of St. Giles and Beaumont Street, next to the Ashmolean Museum. The main entrance is here on St. Giles.

The library opened in 1845, but a lot has changed since then. Shall we take a look inside?

We have over fifty thousand books in our teaching collections. These include Spanish, Portuguese and German literature on the ground floor, and then Italian and French literature as well as film studies and linguistics on the first floor, alongside modern Greek in its own little reading room. And Russian and Celtic, both in our basement.

You can look up all our library resources using SOLO.

The favourite study spot in our library is the main reading room on the second floor. There are also plenty of desks tucked away in our stacks, as well as numerous smaller reading rooms. Some of them are pictured here. There's something for everyone.

The Voltaire room houses our French special collections and it's also where we hold our exhibitions.

A lift is available by the library entrance for those with mobility impairments, and we're also happy to help fetch whatever you need. We also have a range of accessibility equipment, from reading aids to sad lamps for winter to borrow from the issue desk, as well as two height adjustable desks.

If you need help or want to chat, our issue desk on the ground floor is always here to help. Come along if you have questions about issuing, returning and renewing books, and any help you need navigating our undergraduate collections.

 We can also help you use our beloved issue machine. And our inquiry desk on the second floor is perfect for questions to do with collections, offsite books, or where to sit if the main reading room is full. But don't worry, you can grab any of us when you see us around and we can help you out.

I hope you enjoy your time here in the Taylorian and we're looking forward to welcoming you. Remember, if you don't know, just ask!

Rules and regulations

The Bodleian Libraries Regulations and Rules of Conduct apply in this library. Please also observe the following local rules: 

  • Bottled water is permitted in the library, except in the Voltaire Room. KeepCups (or secure flasks for hot drinks) are only permitted in the Teaching Collection and Room 16 (Graduate Reading Room).
  • You may not eat in the library.
  • When using a computer, phone or other equipment, you must do so as quietly as possible to avoid disturbing other readers. You should not use applications or play media which produce sounds audible to other readers, unless this is required in order to overcome a disclosed disability.  
  • You must not smoke or vape in any part of the library.
  • You may photograph library material using personal digital cameras (in accordance with copyright restrictions), but please ask staff before taking photographs in the library.
  • Please do not reserve desks if you know you will be absent from them for more than 30 minutes.  
  • Please observe safety instructions relating to the use of library ladders and ask staff for assistance when appropriate.


General information

  • View a map of the library (PDF).
  • The library is divided into two sections: the Teaching Collection and the Research Collection. It is spread over five floors, with the issue desk in the Teaching Collection on the ground floor and the research enquiry desk on the second floor.
  • Wi-Fi access is available, with the exception of the Main Stack in the Research Collection.
  • You may use laptops in all parts of the library. Power sockets are provided at most reader desks.
  • Readers may use personal digital cameras to take pictures of library material. There is a digital camera available on request. Please ask staff before taking photographs in the library.

Layout and classification

All books in both the Teaching and Research Collections are arranged in classification schemes, with each book having its own shelfmark. The best way to locate a book is to search SOLO and note down the shelfmark, as well as the location. You can check the location of shelfmarks in the library on our shelfmark guide (PDF).

Taylorian books with the location note ‘Stored Offsite’ and the status ‘Closed Stack’ are housed in offsite storage, so you will need to request the book

If you have any difficulty locating the book you need, please ask at the issue desk or the research enquiry desk. The staff will be happy to help.

Find out more about the Taylor Institution Library’s collections.


There are two types of classification scheme in the Taylor Institution Library.

New books in the Research Collection and the Teaching Collection are classified according to a standard version of the Library of Congress classification (LCC) scheme. This scheme is used across all the Bodleian Libraries.

Older books in both collections are classified according to in-house schemes. Some of the in-house schemes can look similar to LCC. LCC shelfmarks always have a year at the end.


The Teaching Collection is sometimes referred to as the Undergraduate Collection or the Modern Languages Faculty Collection and is housed on the library’s ground and first floors. It includes books for undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses (including Film Studies), as well as some newspapers and magazines.

View maps of the Teaching Collection on the ground floor (PDF) and first floor (PDF).

Oversize books are in a separate section at the back of the ground floor.

The collection is intended primarily for use by undergraduates at the University, although other readers are welcome. 


Research Collection books are housed upstairs, as well as in the basement. It includes the Linguistics Collection and the Women's Studies Collection. All readers can access the shelves to fetch their own books.


For West European languages you can find a selection of journals in PRR, the reading room for Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American, Linguistics and Italian, and a selection of French and German journals in MRR, the Main Reading Room. PRR is on the second floor, opposite the Enquiry Room. There is also a Basement Periodicals (BPer) section. All West European titles are shelved alphabetically.

Slavonic periodicals are housed in Room 3 (Slavonic Reading Room) and the Basement. Slavonic journals are shelved using an in-house classification sequence.


Rare materials are generally housed in closed stacks, either onsite or offsite at the Bodleian Libraries' Book Storage Facility. Onsite items are fetched by library staff upon request. You can request these using the online form.

You can request offsite items online via SOLO, and these may be collected in the Enquiry Room.