Readers' Guide



Access to the Library

Readers will always need a valid swipe card (University card or Bodleian ticket) to use the Library. The main door from the street and the access and exit gates in the entrance hall are operated by swipe cards. Please always swipe at the exit gate to ensure statistical accuracy.


Bags up to the standard laptop size (approximately A3) can be brought into the library. Readers are required to leave other bags and briefcases in the lockers, which are located by the entrance and are operated by £1 coins. Please note we do not provide a bulky item storage service. Any unattended items found in the locker rooms or the lobby will be disposed of. Plastic bags for use in the Library are provided free at the reception desk. All lockers MUST be emptied each day before closing time.

If triggered the book detector in the entrance hall will sound an alarm and lock the exit gate. Please seek assistance from a member of staff.

Opening hours

Monday to Friday 09:00-22:00 (last entry 21:40)
Saturday 11:00-18:00 (last entry 17:40) | Sunday 12:00-18:00 (last entry 17:40)

Closed periods are advertised in the Library and on the Library website.

Closing time

The closing bell will ring 30 minutes before closing time, 20 minutes before closing time and finally (3 rings) 10 minutes before closing time. Readers are required to be ready to leave immediately when this final bell is rung.

There is no admission to the Library or borrowing after 21:40 (17:40 on Saturdays). The building will be progressively cleared and locked as soon as the final bell is rung.

Fire evacuation procedure

Please 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 authorised to return by a senior member of the 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 Floor and remain there for use by the Fire Service only.


As well as the 2 staircases there is a lift to all floors of the Library. The lift is equipped with an emergency call button which can be used in the event of a lift failure to summon assistance

Cycle parking

Secure cycle parking is available in the courtyard off Pusey Place during library opening hours. Bicycles must be retrieved before closing time.


A telephone for use by readers to make telephone calls on the University network is situated near the Library Reception. Mobile telephones may not be used in the reading rooms (see code of conduct below).




Important: By registering at the Sackler Library, readers are deemed to agree to abide by the Regulations Relating to the Use of the Facilities of the Bodleian Libraries, by any local regulations set out in this document and by amendments as posted on notice boards.

Local regulations

The following are strictly forbidden

Bringing food, drinks, chewing gum, ink, tippex, hand cream, and similar into the Library. Such substances will be confiscated without return. Only water in clear bottles may be brought into the Library, as long as the bottles are kept on the floor under the desks.

Reading rooms – code of conduct

· Readers are requested to abide by the code of conduct published on notices in the staircase lobbies and the notices posted at desks.

· In particular, please maintain quiet at all times and turn off mobile phones in the reading rooms; the intermediate landings on the staircases (as indicated) may be used for quiet conversations or essential phone calls. Please ensure laptops and other electronic devices are in silent mode.

· Library computers are for research purposes only. Only those near the entrance should be used for e-mail.

· Please treat library stock with due care. In the interests of safety and quiet please use rolling cases gently and with awareness of other readers.

Reshelving and reservation

Please help us to help you by:

a) returning books to a reshelving point as soon as you have finished with them so that they can be made available to other readers;

b) clearing your desk and switching off the lamp when you leave it;

Readers may reserve up to 10 items at one of the reservation points for use the following day. Books may only be reserved on the floor to which they belong. If not collected the following day they will subsequently be reshelved.

 Desks may not be reserved.



Help Desk

The Help Desk is near the entrance on the Ground Floor and is open 9:00-21:40 (Saturdays 10:00-16:40).

Arrangement of stock

A summary chart of the content of each floor is posted on the staircase landings and in the lift lobbies as well as in the entrance hall. More detailed guides are displayed on each floor, indicating the shelfmark sequences.

Closed access material

The following locations are not open to readers. Please apply at the Help Desk:

Rare Books Room, Archive Room: Books will be fetched twice a day (not on Saturdays). Material should be consulted at the designated desks near the Help Desk.

Items from the Swindon book depository (SOLO location “closed stack”) can be requested to the Sackler and are delivered twice daily (Mon-Fri only). They may normally be consulted at any desk but must be returned to the Help Desk after use.

Wind Collection and Haskell Collection: arrangements are as per the Rare Books Room.

CD-ROMs, Loose plates and microfiche

Accompanying material such as CD-ROMs, loose plates and microfiches are stored separately – please apply at the Help Desk.

Inter-library loans

For books and theses not available in Oxford libraries, members of the University may apply for an inter-library loan. There is a non-refundable charge of £5.00 for each item ordered, whether the search is successful or not. Requests for overseas searches will not be accepted. Readers can expect a delay of up to 2 weeks for any ILL request.

Classics Lending Library

The Classics Lending Library is located on the Ground Floor of the Sackler. It is intended to provide for the course requirements of undergraduate classicists and may also be used by postgraduate students.

New accessions

New books and periodicals are displayed on the Ground Floor, with separate displays for Ancient Near East / Egypt (Floor 1), History of Art (Floor 2) and Eastern Art (Floor 3). Accessions lists are posted on the Library website.

Book suggestions

There is an online suggestion form on the Library website. Readers are encouraged to recommend for purchase relevant titles which are not in stock.



IT/electronic resources/catalogues

There are computers on all floors of the Rotunda, in the Papyrology Library, the Haverfield Room and in the entrance area. All computers allow access to SOLO (some on each floor are restricted to this purpose). SOLO displays holdings in the Sackler and other University libraries. User guides are available at the Main Help Desk.

From the SOLO homepage you can access a variety of internet resources, including bibliographic reference and full-text databases, available in the Oxford domain (OXLIP) and the University's holdings of electronic journals.

Use of laptops

Every reader desk is fitted with a power socket and a data socket, and wireless connectivity is available throughout the building (simply enter university or Bodleian library card number and associated password as prompted). Please observe restrictions in quiet areas.

Printing copying and scanning (PCAS)

Anyone wishing to make photocopies and scans or to print documents is required to set up a PCAS account and add credit to it online. Payments to these accounts can be made from any computer. When copying and scanning readers must abide by the terms of the Copyright Act (see notices by the machines). For higher quality scans (required for presentations, publications, theses etc.) please apply to staff.

Printing from online resources or memory sticks can be ordered using the PCAS account and delivered to any PCAS machine.

PCAS machines are self service and are available on floors LG to 2.

A camera stand to assist in taking digital images is available on the 3rd floor.

The use of personal scanning devices is permitted in reading rooms provided it does not disturb other library users.



Borrowing privileges

Borrowing privileges are extended to holders of current (blue-stripe) University Cards. New borrowers should present themselves with their card at the Main Help Desk for card registration.

It is expected that material is borrowed for use at home or in other Oxford libraries – borrowed items should not be taken elsewhere, in particular on holidays or field trips. Borrowers are required at all times to be able to return a borrowed item at the end of each loan period.

Confined material

The following categories are currently confined to the Library and not available for borrowing (additional categories may occasionally be added):

a) all items on Floors 2-3;

b) any work published before 1850 and/or fetched from closed access;

c) large folios and portfolios of plates;

d) most reference works;

e) classical texts and commentaries in sections N.i and N.ii (LG Floor);

f) periodical parts without barcodes;

g) archive material;

h) any item judged not to be in a fit state to be borrowed;

i) any item with a confined label, including all legal deposit items.

j) all first floor folios excluding papyrology 

Borrowing limits and periods

The maximum number of items which may be held on loan is six. Undergraduate and postgraduate students only may also borrow from the Classics Lending Library; they may hold up to nine items from the combined collections with a maximum of six items in any category (main library book, main library periodical, CLL book, CLL article).

The borrowing period for books is one week. Periodicals, where borrowable, may be borrowed for two days, with no renewals. Vacation borrowing is not permitted except for CLL items.

All items should be returned to the Main Help Desk by 21:30 on the due date. The Library staff cannot guarantee to check in items returned after this time and fines may be incurred.

Renewals / reminders

Books may be renewed up to 3 times providing another reader does not want the book. Periodicals and overdue items may not be renewed. Renewals may be made in person, by telephone (2-78092) or by using SOLO patron functions. Reminders are sent by e-mail the day before a book is due back: please alert us if you do not have e-mail.


Borrowers are subject to fines for late return of books. Fines will accrue at a rate of 20p per book per day up to a maximum of £10 per book or, on short loan items and periodicals, £1 per item per day up to a maximum of £10 per item. Any borrower with outstanding fines of £10 or holding an item more than 21 days overdue will have their borrowing privileges suspended until they have cleared the debt in full and returned the item.

Lost or damaged books

Borrowers will be required to pay the replacement cost of stock which is lost, damaged or stolen while on loan to them, together with a fee of £5 to cover the cost of administration.

The charges will be waived if the reader can supply a replacement copy in satisfactory condition. The charges will be refunded if the original copy is found before a replacement is ordered.

Back to top