BODLEIAN LIBRARY: INSTRUCTIONS FOR OBTAINING A READER’S CARD

Oxford University Library Services:
There are almost a hundred libraries in Oxford, with differing subject coverage, admission
policies and opening times. The largest is the Bodleian Library, the central research library of
the University. The Bodleian covers all subject areas and is spread over a number of different
sites. The Bodleian offer access to in-depth research level collections on a reference-only basis.
The extensive printed and manuscript collections in the Bodleian have developed over the
centuries and cover all subject areas. As a Copyright Library the Bodleian receives a very large
proportion of UK material through legal deposit.
Alongside the Bodleian Library, there exists a system of faculty and departmental libraries.
Admissions policies to college libraries vary depending on the individual college.

Obtaining a Bodleian card:
A letter of recommendation or a completed admission form is normally required to gain
admission to read in the Bodleian. A copy of a standard admissions form, and further details
of the Bodleian’s location, opening times, and payment options, are available for printing in a
‘pdf’ file linked to Website: www.ouls.ox.ac.uk/services/admissions and click on to
‘Admissions’ on the bottom left hand side of the screen.
The letter should, if possible, be signed by someone who knows you well and include brief
descriptions of the topic of your research and/or category of material you wish to consult
(making clear whether this includes any unique manuscripts, pre-1800 printed books, or other
rare material). If you are not able to print out the form, a formal letter of recommendation is
equally acceptable if it is addressed to the Bodleian, and contains the same details as are
required on the form, including descriptions of the applicant’s academic/professional status,
and of their research interests and/or library requirements.

The Bodleian Admission Office is Weston Library Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BG, normally
open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-1pm. The admissions procedure is likely to
take about half an hour.
Admissions@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
Tel. +44 (0)1865 277180

Catalogues and requesting material:
While the Bodleian’s collections are extensive, the vast majority of the material is located on
closed access shelving. Users of the collections are encouraged to search for material using the
Library’s online catalogue, OLIS (www.lib.ox.ac.uk/olis). Once relevant material is located,
users can request the material to a specific reading room where the books/journals will be kept
for consultation.

Users can read material in any of the Central Bodleian Reading Rooms but the Lower Reading
Room in the Old Library (BOD Lower Res) and the Lower Reading Room in the Radcliffe
Camera (BOD Lcam Res) both contain theological material on the open shelves.
If you already know which documents you want to see in the Bodleian, and especially if any
of them are unique or unpublished or similar rare material, please sent precise details in
advance, as soon as possible. This should help you to avoid or at least to obtain advance
warning of any initial difficulties and delays. Material requested from the bookstack will take
a couple of hours to arrive in a reading room.
Contact addresses:

1. Manuscripts of any date, and pre-1640 published material, in Roman, Greek or
Cyrillic script; duke.humfrey@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
2. Post-1640 books and periodicals in Roman, Greek or Cyrillic script:
reader.services@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
3. Published and unpublished material in other scripts (e.g. Hebrew, Coptic, Syriac,
Arabic): oriental@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
For further information on theology collections within OULS please contact the Theology
Librarian, Kate Alderson-Smith (kate.alderson-smith@ouls.ox.ac.uk, (tel. 01865 270732)

Opening hours:
Full details of the Bodleian Library’s opening hours are available on the web pages –
http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk

 

 

BODLEIAN LIBRARY: INSTRUCTIONS FOR OBTAINING A READER’S CARD

Click on the link below to download the form

Bodleian Library Form