RSL Decant to VHL Project 2020-21


20 December: Planned closure of the VHL on Saturday 18th January. >more on this.

20 December: Planned works on Thursday 9th January, some disruption expected. >more on this.

21 October: The History Addendum (pdf) has been updated to outline the latest planning, some in response to feedback already received. It also includes additional book move plans following the realisation that in fact 70% of the RSL collections will need to be on the open shelves (as opposed to 60% as originally envisaged). As a result of this change, the consultation period has been extended to 23 October midday.


As part of the planned Parks College Development, it has been proposed that the Radcliffe Science Library’s undergraduate collection and services would be temporarily decanted to the Vere Harmsworth Library, from the period of January 2020-Summer 2021.

The proposal would provide Radcliffe Science Library (RSL) readers with study space, group study rooms, open shelf teaching collections and a service point for RSL related enquiries, during the Parks College development and the redevelopment of the RSL.

This will impact on the VHL, its readers and staff, and, being embedded in the Rothermere American Institute (RAI), also on the RAI, its fellows, visitors and staff. Both the VHL and RAI as the foremost library and institution respectively for supporting the teaching and research activities in American studies in the UK. It is therefore very important ensure that the temporary science provision in the VHL will not harm those activities in any way. Having said this, it is also important to be welcoming to the science students and readers who need a temporary library space and service.

Therefore, the Bodleian has been working, in advance of the decant, to ensure that any potential inconveniences to current users of the VHL and the RAI are identified and mitigated. This includes a consultation on these possible impacts and their amelioration with VHL staff, the Institute, the History Faculty and across the relevant academic divisions. The Consultations are a way of ensuring that our readers are able to feedback their concerns regarding the Decant Project, and consider possible ideas for the VHL’s future.

Timetable for consultation was as follows:

14 Oct. 4-5pm: Open Meeting, Lecture Theatre, Weston Library

16 October, 9.30am: Committee in Library Provision & Strategy (CLiPS) in Humanities/ROQ-Schwarzman Humanities Centre Library Users Group

16 Oct. 2.30-3.30pm: Townhall meeting for history students, Lecture Theatre, History Faculty

17 Oct. 12.45-1.45pm: Group VI (US History), History Faculty, Seminar Room 1, RAI

22 Oct. 5pm: Deadline for online feedback

24 Oct. 1.15-1.45pm: RAI Exec, Seminar Room 1, RAI

24 Oct. 2-4pm: CLiPS in History, Gerry Martin Room, History Faculty

The Proposal and Consultation papers for the RSL Decant Project, 2020-21 are available for you to view:

Any issues or questions about the consultation process can be directed to the Vere Harmsworth Librarian .

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