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

From 29 July, a maintenance project will be taking place in the Taylor Institution Library basement for approximately 6 weeks. During this time, parts of the basement will be closed from 5–7pm, and there will be no access at any time to the central section of the Slavonic and Modern Greek research collections for the duration of the project. The library will also be closed on Saturday 3 August, Saturday 10 August and Saturday 17 August. Ahead of the move, there may be some disruption in the basement as staff prepare the area. If you have any queries, please contact the Librarian-in-Charge, Joanne Ferrari (, or Taylor Enquiries (


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Hello and welcome to the Taylor Institution Library, commonly known as the Taylorian. We are the the University's centre for the study of modern European languages and literatures, other than English. We also have collections in Linguistics, Film Studies, and Women’s Studies.

You can find us on the corner of St. Giles and Beaumont Street, next to the Ashmolean Museum. The main entrance is on St. Giles. We are open to anyone with a University or Bodleian Reader card.
Hold the card to the pad as shown, and the doors will open.

Library staff are on hand to help you. Do approach staff at the desks and around the library if you need help finding something, or have a library-related question. You can also contact us by phone or email as shown on the screen.

The Taylorian has a team of subject librarians with subject and language expertise who can help you with more detailed research queries.  

The Taylorian has approximately 750,000 volumes in its collections, although many of these are held in offsite storage. The library spans all 5 floors of the building, and the layout may seem confusing at first.
The collections are divided into two main sections; the Teaching Collection, chiefly on the ground and first floors; and the Research Collection, chiefly on the 2nd and 3rd floors and in the basement. Most modern books in the Taylorian collections are borrowable.

As well as books, the library holds a wide range of print journals in the subject, both modern and historical. We also have special collections such as manuscripts and early printed books – and even objects such as a piece of the Berlin Wall!

You can look up all our library resources using SOLO, the library catalogue, including our electronic resources such as ebooks and online journals.

Seating is available on all five floors of the library. The Main Reading Room on the second floor is a popular spot, as well as our numerous smaller reading rooms.

The issue desk, where you can check out and return books, is on the ground floor. There is a self-issue machine and a book drop for returns. The research enquiry desk is on the second floor.

Library computers and quick search terminals are available throughout the building, as are print, copy and scan machines. We also have a bookable film viewing room, and facilities to read microform material.

A lift is available by the library entrance, and we have a range of accessibility equipment available to borrow from the issue desk.  The library also has two height adjustable desks with ergonomic chairs.

You are allowed to bring bottled water into the library, with the exception of the Voltaire Room. Food is not allowed in any part of the library – please use the Common Room instead, accessed by the ground floor corridor.

We hope you enjoy your time here in the Taylorian and we're looking forward to welcoming you!

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).

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 and taught postgraduates at the University, although other readers are welcome. 


Research Collection books are housed on the second and third floors, as well as in the basement. The collection includes books for Linguistics 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 the Periodicals & Reference Room (PRR), the reading room for Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American, Linguistics and Italian, and a selection of French and German journals in the Main Reading Room (MRR). 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 the Slavonic Reading Room (Room 3) 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 in person at the Enquiry Desk, or by emailing with details.

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