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Rare Books in the Bodleian Library: Home

Guide to finding and using rare books in the Bodleian Library

Purpose of this guide

This guide is intended for students and researchers at the University of Oxford using rare and early printed collections, particularly those held in the Weston Library.

Use this guide to find out about resources available to support the use of rare and early books in all subjects.

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All enquiries: or see our website.

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The Centre for the Study of the Book provides a common ground for scholars and librarians with shared interests in understanding, documenting, and interpreting the intellectual and material history of the book.

Restricted Books

A small number of our items are restricted. This is most often due to outstanding rarity and value (called 'select' items), vulnerable physical condition, or because they are subject to legal restraints (reserved).

The SOLO catalogue entry will indicate that restricted books cannot be ordered electronically but many ‘select’ books are available to readers in print, film, or digital facsimile. If you feel your research requires access to the original, please contact staff in Rare Books directly (, giving as much notice as possible (at least 24 hours), and stating why it is that you wish to see a restricted book.

Where restricted books can be made available to readers they may be viewed in the Rare Books and Manuscripts reading room on weekdays only. Select books will normally be delivered by 10am and they must be returned to reading room staff by 4pm on the same day. Visiting researchers from outside Oxford are advised to book in advance as seating is at a premium at certain times of the year, notably Hilary (Spring) and the summer months. For advice and general enquiries, please email