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Bodleian Library (Old Library & Radcliffe Camera): Introduction

Bodleian Library

Bodleian Library & Radcliffe Camera homepage

The Bodleian Library is the central research library for the Humanities and the main University Library for the University of Oxford. It is one of approximately 30 libraries that form the "Bodleian Libraries", Oxford University’s library service.

Founded in 1602, the Bodleian Library has been a Legal Deposit Library since 1610. This means a copy of all print material published in the UK should be deposited in the Bodleian Libraries. This has enabled the Bodleian Libraries to develop large and varied collections, holding over 13 million items. The Bodleian Library is also a national and international centre for research, supporting scholars from across the world with its collections.

The Bodleian Library is reference-only. This means none of its material can be borrowed and so items should always be available to readers. 

Drawing of the Bodleian Library site (side view)

Opening Hours

As of February 2021, until further notice, the Old Bodleian Library's opening hours are: 

Monday to Friday     10am - 7pm (except Duke Humfrey's Library which opens 10am - 6:30pm)
Saturday                  10am - 4pm
Sunday                    CLOSED


Standard opening hours change between term and vacation, and may be different for different reading rooms:*

Term:       Monday to Friday     9:30 am - 10 pm
                Saturday                  10 am - 4 pm
                Sunday                    12 am - 6 pm
Vacation: Monday to Friday     9:30 am - 7 pm
                Saturday                  10 am - 4 pm
                Sunday                    12 am - 6 pm

Please check the Old Bodleian Library Reading Room Opening Times webpage for the current opening times of the areas you wish to use and check for closed periods.

* Please note:

  • access to the Gladstone Link reading space ceases 45 minutes before closure of the Radcliffe Camera, and must be fully vacated 30 minutes before the closure.

Introductory Sessions and Further Help

On-site introductory sessions are currently suspended. For guidance and assistance: 

Bodleian Reader Common Room

A Reader Common Room is open to Library members and staff, accessed from the stairs behind the South Proscholium entrance. The Reader Common Room is available for readers to consume their own food and drinks. (Note, the common room is currently not accessible to readers while Covid restrictions are in place).