RSL Refurbishment Update: 26.02.20

Group study rooms 

Two group study rooms at the VHL on the first floor are now available for use. They can be booked by any University of Oxford card holder. Please contact staff to make a booking (email enquiries.rsl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk or phone +44 1865 272800).

RSL group study room at VHL - entrance 

The rooms can also be used without booking, but readers should be aware they may be asked to move if someone else has already booked.


RSL Refurbishment Update: 07.02.20 

Break room 

There is now a break room for the use of RSL readers on the second floor of the Vere Harmsworth Library. A vending machine is now available there which takes both cash and card payments.

RSL break room at VHL - entrance RSL break room at VHL

Deliveries of Closed Stack items 

Closed Stack items requested to Radcliffe Science Library locations are now being delivered to the Vere Harmsworth Library (VHL), which is in the Rothermere American Institute. They can be picked up from the VHL service desk on the ground floor of the library. The street address of the Rothermere American Institute is:

  • 1a South Parks Rd
  • Oxford
  • OX1 3UB

VHL closed on Saturday 18 January 2020 

The Vere Harmsworth Library will be closed on Saturday 18 January to allow construction work on the Ground Floor to be completed. More information about the closure can be found at http://blogs.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/vhl/2019/12/20/vhl-closure-saturday-18th-jan/. If you have any queries, please contact the VHL internal number (2)82700, or email vhl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

The VHL will be open 11am to 5pm on Sunday 19 January, subject to completion of the works.


RSL Refurbishment Update: 03.01.20 

The RSL is now CLOSED for refurbishment until summer 2021. RSL staff are now based in the Vere Harmsworth Library and the Bodleian Libraries science library services will operate from there while work on redeveloping the RSL takes place.

All RSL books available for loan are now on the 2nd floor of the VHL. To borrow items, please bring them to the VHL Enquiry Desk on the ground floor. 

Reference-only books are now held in the VHL's closed stack. To access these, please fill in a blue request slip at the VHL Enquiry Desk. Staff will fetch the items as soon as possible.

Please email enquiries.rsl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk or phone +44 1865 272800 if you have any queries.

You can find out more about the new RSL and the Parks College Project, including the latest plans for the library spaces, at www.ox.ac.uk/about/organisation/future-projects/parks-college. Regular updates on developments will be posted on this page. 


RSL Refurbishment Update: 18.12.19 

Book availability 

All the books from the RSL's open shelves have now been moved to the Vere Harmsworth Library

All RSL books available for loan are now on the 2nd floor of the VHL. To borrow items, please bring them to the VHL Enquiry Desk on the ground floor. VHL staff will liase with us to register the loan on your record.

Reference-only books are now held in the VHL's closed stack. To access these, please fill in a blue request slip at the Circulation Desk in the RSL Entrance Hall. RSL staff will fetch the items as soon as possible.

Please email enquiries.rsl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk or phone +44 1865 272800 if you have any queries.

Please note that the VHL will close for the Christmas break this Friday, 20 December at 5pm and we will not be able to fetch books after this. Details of the VHL's opening hours can be found at www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/vhl/about/hours. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

The RSL will remain open until 5pm on Monday 23 December, and access to reader spaces, electronic materials and books already fetched from the VHL will be possible until this point.

From 9am on Thursday 2 January 2020, RSL staff will be based in the VHL and the Bodleian Libraries science library services will operate from there until summer 2021 while work on redeveloping the RSL takes place.

You can find out more about the new RSL and the Parks College Project, including the latest plans for the library spaces, at www.ox.ac.uk/about/organisation/future-projects/parks-college. Regular updates on developments will be posted on this page. 


RSL Refurbishment Update: 27.11.19

Work will start on moving Radcliffe Science Library books to the Vere Harmsworth Library on Monday 9 December. A fetching service for books will be provided for readers whilst the transfer is taking place.

We will not be accepting requests from closed stacks and offsite storage to the RSL after Friday 13 December. Staff will clear reserves and return requested materials back to closed stacks on Friday 20 December.

Extended vacation loans on all RSL books are now in force. The due date for all vacation loans is Tuesday 4 February.

The Radcliffe Science Library will close to readers at 5pm on Monday 23 December until summer 2021.

RSL readers will need to use the Vere Harmsworth Library from Thursday 2 January 2020. The opening hours for the remainder of the vacation will be 9am-7pm on weekdays only (no weekend opening). The transfer of books will still be continuing at this point, as will the fetching service.

A full service to Bodleian science library readers will resume at the VHL at the start of Hilary term on Sunday 19 January 2020. The opening hours will be 9am to 10pm on weekdays, 10am-4pm on Saturdays and 11am-5pm on Sundays.

Please send any questions that you might have to rslmoves@bodleian.ox.ac.uk and we will be happy to assist you.

You can find out more about the new RSL and the Parks College Project, including the latest plans for the library spaces, at www.ox.ac.uk/about/organisation/future-projects/parks-college. Regular updates on developments will be posted on this page.


RSL Refurbishment Update: 19.11.19

Exciting plans are underway to reshape and improve the Radcliffe Science Library.

The refurbished RSL will be a much more comfortable and modern space with improved facilities and will be open to all members of the University and the Bodleian, in the same location as it is now. The library will hold a large collection of undergraduate and graduate textbooks for students to consult or borrow including all MPLS and non-clinical MSD reading list materials and thousands of other textbooks.

You can find out more about the new RSL and the Parks College Project, including the latest plans for the library spaces, at www.ox.ac.uk/about/organisation/future-projects/parks-college  Regular updates on developments will be posted on this page.

Latest news:   

The RSL will close for refurbishment at 5pm on Monday 23 December 2019. The Vere Harmsworth Library (the VHL) will be used as the main base for the delivery of Bodleian science library services from January 2020 until the RSL reopens in its current location in the summer of 2021.

Located just five minutes from the RSL, the VHL will hold all of the books that are now in the RSL and we will be increasing the number of study spaces, group study rooms and introducing a reader common room at the VHL to accommodate the current users of the RSL. RSL staff will be on hand in the VHL to assist readers.

Library books will start to be moved from the RSL to the VHL from the 9th of December  and a fetching service for books will be provided for readers whilst the transfer is taking place. We will also be providing extended vacation loans on all RSL books from 25th November to 4th February.

We’re keen to update students and staff on the plans for the refurbished RSL and on services from the VHL and to get their feedback. RSL staff have been meeting with a range of student and academic committees and other groups over this term across MPLS and MSD departments. We are also working with student representatives on the Parks College Building Group and with other student representatives.

If you would like one of our team to come and talk to you and your colleagues then please get in touch.

Please send any invitations for meetings or any questions that you might have to rslmoves@bodleian.ox.ac.uk  and we will be happy to assist you.


RSL Book Moves Update

Exciting plans are underway to reshape and improve the Radcliffe Science Library!

The refurbished RSL will be a much more comfortable and modern space, open to all members of the University and the Bodleian with access via a separate library entrance. The library will hold a large collection of undergraduate and graduate textbooks for students to consult or borrow including all MPLS and non-clinical MSD reading list materials. The collection will also include all of the textbooks that have been borrowed or consulted in the RSL over the last two years as well as thousands of other textbooks selected by our subject expert Subject Librarians. We anticipate this will be up to c26,000 books in total. Library users will also be able to order books from our Book Storage Facility to use in the RSL as they can now.

The new RSL’s opening hours will be at least what they are now and the library will have an improved variety of individual study spaces with an increased number of group study rooms and improved training facilities as well as retaining current facilities such as accessible study rooms, IT spaces, and vending machines and break out spaces. The library will be warmer in winter and cooler in summer and will have far more comfortable study chairs and other furniture.

You can find out more about the new RSL and the Parks College Project at
http://www.ox.ac.uk/about/organisation/future-projects/parks-college where you will see the current plans for the new library layout.

RSL Temporary Closure

To allow the building works to take place, the RSL will be closing to readers on 23 December 2019 and will reopen in the summer of 2021. We are keen to minimise disruption to students and so we will be spending much of the Christmas vacation moving our RSL collections, staff and services to a new temporary location in Oxford to be ready for the start of Hilary term 2020.

Subject to approval by Curators and with work now ongoing to finalise the details with the Rothermere American Institute, the History Faculty and the relevant academic divisions, the Bodleian’s science library services will be delivered from the Vere Harmsworth Library from Hilary 2020 until the summer of 2021.

The VHL is the only Bodleian site with sufficient space (after some minor works) for RSL stock and readers that meets the key requirement of being close to the centre of the science site.

All of the books borrowed or used for reference in the RSL over the last two years (including all reading list textbooks) as well as all other books added to the collection since 2017 will be transferred to the VHL and made available to readers. In addition, our Subject Librarians will ensure that new books continue to be added to our open shelves. We anticipate this will be up to c23,000 books in total. There will be a c70/30 split of books on open shelves (the most heavily used) and the VHL local stack (the lower use items) with a fetching service for the stack items available all the time the VHL will be open.

Other books that have not been used in the last two years will be held in our book storage facility but readers will be able to request any of these titles via SOLO for delivery to the VHL or to other Bodleian sites. Any book sent offsite can be put back on to open shelves within a day or two and will be if requested.

The RSL's books are likely to be moved from 9 December onwards and plans are in place to provide a fetching service for readers over the Christmas vacation.

We are very grateful to the VHL/RAI for taking on the RSL staff and users as guests in their space, and we are keen to ensure that the presence of science library services does not cause them inconvenience. The Bodleian is therefore undertaking work in advance of the decant to ensure that any potential inconveniences to current users of the VHL and the RAI building are identified and mitigated. This work includes a consultation on these possible impacts and their amelioration with VHL staff, the Institute, the History Faculty and across the relevant academic divisions that is being undertaken in early Michaelmas Term. The move will also bring benefits to the VHL – these include additional staff to enable longer opening hours and to support collections projects as well as the provision of additional group study rooms and the installation of a door entry security systems.

Work Already Undertaken

It takes some time to move a library as large as the RSL, so in order to minimise disruption to students during Michaelmas Term work was undertaken over the summer vacation to move those books not borrowed or consulted in the last two years to the Book Storage Facility. Our team have now also moved all of the 23,000 books remaining in the RSL to the top floor of the library. This will  help new and returning library users better find their way around the collection and gives library users a change to see how the collections will look in the refurbished RSL and to give us feedback on the arrangements that we can feed  into our plans for the refurbished space.

We constantly monitor how our collections are being used and therefore have very good data on what books are being borrowed or used in the library. However, if you cannot find a specific book that you feel should be on our open shelves then please do let us know. Any book sent offsite can be put back on to open shelves within a day or two and will be if requested.

Want to Know More?

You can find out more about the new RSL and the Parks College Project at
http://www.ox.ac.uk/about/organisation/future-projects/parks-college where you will see the current plans for the new library layout. These plans are also on display in the RSL.

RSL Subject Librarians and other staff are setting up updates and presentations with a range of student and academic committees and other meetings over Michaelmas across MPLS and MSD departments. We’re keen to update our colleagues on the plans for the refurbished RSL and the temporary location and to get their feedback.

Many of these meetings have already been organised, but if you would like one of our team to come and talk to you and your colleagues then please get in touch.

We are also working with the student representatives on the Parks College Building Group and with other student representatives.

Please send any invitations for meetings or any questions that you might have to rslmoves@bodleian.ox.ac.uk and we will be happy assist you.

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