Skip to Main Content

St Hilda's: Using the Library

Study Spaces

We have 120 study spaces across the library.

There are places for silent, individual study in the Main Reading Room on the Ground Floor and Gallery, as well as in the four rooms that make up the library basement level (the Sheila Nemet and Cinderford Trust room, the Winslow room, the Joan Hill room and the Library IT room). All study spaces have access to lamps and power points.

Lower Ground Floor

Winslow Room

The Winslow Room is located in the Basement and the head-height windows look out on to the College gardens. It contains the majority of the Science books, including Maths, Computing, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Palaeontology, Biology and Zoology).
The self-service machine is located in the Winslow Room.

Library IT RoomLibrary IT Room

The IT room has 4 PCs and desk space with height adjustable chairs. There are two comfy chairs located next to the Wellbeing section - ideal for study breaks! A quick print PC and photocopier are also in this room, as well as a PC for searching the catalogue.


Sheila Nemet and Cinderford Trust RoomSheila Nemet and Cinderford Trust Room

Located in the basement, the natural light is provided by openable skylights. There are 6 study spaces in this modern room which also houses the collections for Art, Music, Languages, Classics, History, Law and Sciences (Psychology, Medicine and Engineering).

Joan Hill RoomJoan Hill Room

This spacious room is located in the basement and receives natural light from overhead skylights. There are rows of desks around the outside of the room and as there are no books housed here, it can make it a particularly quiet place to study.


Ground Floor

Main Reading RoomMain Reading Room

The oldest and most beautiful wooden reading room in the library, opened in 1935. Windows looks out on to the gardens, River Cherwell and playing fields beyond or Cowley Place. Desks are available in each of the alcoves as well as the central bank of desks. It houses the Linguistics, Bibliography and English collections. The overnight shelves can be found at the back of the room.

Law Library

This silent study space on the Ground Floor houses the entirety of the Law collection, though any students are welcome to use the space. Anthropology books are located just outside, in the corridor to the room.

The Dame Rosemary Spencer Room

Located adjacent to the Law Library, this is a bookable study room with priority for graduate students. Books on Education can also be found in this room.


Situated above the Main Reading Room, there are even better views of the gardens, River Cherwell and across to the skyline of Oxford. Desks are situated in each alcove. It houses the Philosophy, Sociology, Politics, Economics, Management and French collections.

Group Study Room

Group Discussion RoomThere is a bookable Discussion Room, ideal for small groups, in the Thornton Room on the Basement Level, next to the Winslow Room. You can book this using the sign-up sheet on the door. 

Overnight Shelves

You can leave books in the library overnight. Just complete the overnight books form with your details, the date, and details of the books you would like to reserve until the next day. You can then leave the books on the shelves in the island case at the back of the main reading room. You will also find the forms on top of this case. 

Gate Alarm

If the alarms go off on the security gates:
1. Return to the self-service machine and check that you have issued all items correctly
2. If the alarm persists, send details of your name, time, barcode and details of the book to

As long as you email us, you are free to take the item!

Library staff follow up any unreported alarms using the security software and will issue the books remotely to your account. Please respond promptly to any emails otherwise you may be charged for the missing books.

If your Bod card is not recognised by the self-service machine, please see Library staff at the Issue Desk.

Lost Property

Any personal items that are left in the library will be put in our lost property box next to the library desk. Any items that might be valuable we keep in the library office or hand in to the Lodge - just ask us if you're looking for something you've misplaced!

Food and Drink

Please don't bring any food into the library*.

We do not allow food in the library

You can bring in bottled water, there's a water fountain available at the lodge.

Hot drinks are also allowed as long as they are in a Keep Cup style mug with a lid.

*If there are medical reasons you need to bring food into the library, please make library staff aware.

Library Rules

And now for the serious bit...


Registration as a library user entails acceptance of the following rules:

1. The library is open to members of St Hilda's College only. Visitors may only be admitted at the discretion of the library staff.

2. Eating in the library is strictly forbidden. Water is permitted, as are hot drinks provided that they are in a reusable cup with a lid.

3. Silence is requested.

4. Mobile phones must always be kept on silent mode while in the library. No telephone conversations may be held in any part of the library.

5. Users of the library are expected to comply with general health and safety regulations and with college fire regulations. In particular, care should be exercised when using the library's mobile shelving, and also when using library steps. Care should also be taken to avoid placing items on the balustrades in the gallery, in case they should fall and injure anyone in the reading room below. Readers are required to comply with any health and safety notices that should be issued by the Librarian.

6. Places in the library may not be reserved.

7. Injury to any volume, paper or other possession of the library by marking, erasure or mutilation is forbidden under severe penalty.

8. In no circumstances may books be lent to persons who are not members of College.

9. The person who has borrowed a book is ultimately responsible for its safe return or replacement in the case of loss or damage.

10. Readers must comply with such instructions as the Librarian may issue for special purposes. These will be posted in the library.