Reading rooms at the Weston Library

Two readers sit opposite each other each consulting special collections material - bookshelves run down the walls on either side of the room

The Weston Library has three reading rooms for readers to consult special collections material.

Detailed accessibility information is available on the University Access Guide.  

You can order special collections material for delivery to a Weston Library reading room. Browse our finding aids and catalogues, or learn more about placing an order and delivery times.


For general enquiries about special collections, email  

For reading room bookings and to pre-order material, email

Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room is on the first floor of the Weston Library. The following material is consulted in this reading room:

  • Medieval manuscripts
  • Early modern and modern archives and manuscripts 
  • University Archives
  • Rare books
  • John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera
  • Maps

Sir Charles Mackerras Reading Room

The Mackerras Reading Room is on the first floor of the Weston Library. Music materials are consulted in this reading room. 

The reading room has a record player, a cassette deck and a CD player, as well as an electric piano. In addition to playing Bodleian Libraries recordings, readers may bring in their own recordings if they wish to listen to them in conjunction with Bodleian Libraries material. A reel-to-reel tape recorder is also available on request.

The reading room also has microfiche and microfilm readers. 

The Charles Wendell David Reading Room

The David Reading Room is on the fifth floor of the Weston Library. The following material is consulted in this reading room:

  • Asian and Middle Eastern manuscripts and rare books  
  • Commonwealth and African archives and manuscripts
  • Open shelf reference books relating to the above collections, and those from the Indian Institute Library collection  
  • Oxford University theses

The reading room has a Print, Copy and Scan (PCAS) machine for self-service printing, photocopying and scanning. It also has microfiche and microfilm readers.

Using the reading rooms

The library has specialist equipment available, including ultra-violet lamps and a fibre-optic light source for examining watermarks. If you would like to use this equipment, please ask a member of staff.

If you are using special collections material, read our guidance on handling material.

Rules and regulations

To help us preserve the Bodleian Libraries' special collections for future generations, we ask all readers to observe the following when using the reading rooms:

  • Please leave bags and laptop cases in the lockers by the entrance.  
  • You must not bring any food (including sweets, chewing gum, cough sweets and medicine) or drinks (including water) to the reading rooms.
  • Please switch laptops and mobile phones to silent mode.
  • You may only use pencils or a laptop. You may not use pens, paints, or obliterating or erasing liquids in the reading rooms.  
  • Computers, bags and other personal property cannot be left with staff.
  • Chosen or allocated desks may be reserved throughout the day, but material may not be left on a desk overnight.
  • If the fire alarm sounds at any time readers should leave special collections material and personal property at their desks and leave the building as quickly as possible as directed by reading room staff.
  • Books may not be transferred between reading rooms in the same building without the explicit permission of a member of reading room staff.