RSL Decant to VHL Project 2020-21


4 November:Ground Floor Book Moves are taking place. Titles are being moved out and into the Ground Floor in order to create space for RSL titles. The Vere Harmsworth Library will aim to update you about the moves as soon as possible, and to provide assistance in finding any titles you require. > more on this.

29 October: Following the conclusion of the consultations, internal book moves in the VHL will now be taking place for the rest of term to prepare the transfer of selected RSL materials. We aim to keep disruption to a minimum, scheduling book moves between 7am and 10am, and apologise in advance to all our readers for any inconvenience. If you wish to learn more about the plans, please see the consultation documents or contact the Vere Harmsworth Librarian. A timetable advertising works and other disruption will be released as soon as possible, but the majority of the necessary changes will take place during Christmas Vacation.

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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