Covid Restrictions

(updated 8th June 2021)

The Library is operating a reduced service owing to the current Coronavirus-related precautions, and not all staff have returned to onsite working. Requests to see material can be made via email, but booking an appointment in advance is still necessary as detailed under “Limited On-Site Services”.

Requests for scanning or images may be made for material not accessible elsewhere, but response times may be longer than usual.

Those wishing to apply to become readers are welcome to do so.

Any enquiries should be made via email, and we will do our utmost to assist as best we can.

As restrictions are lifted, we will continue to review our access policies, and hope to be able to move to a less limited criteria when it is safe to do so. All updates will be posted here.

Oxford University Covid Response infographic: Continue social distancing - Keep washing your hands - keep wearing a face covering (unless exempt) - get tested twice a week AND if you have symptoms - continue to follow self-isolation guidelines


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Remote Services

The Library is continuing to provide the following services remotely:

  • General enquiries relating to access, holdings, services, research, etc are still being managed, though please note that answers requiring our access to physical collections may take longer than usual for us to answer.
  • Special collections research (archives, manuscripts, early printed books): queries and image requests. It is not possible to arrange visits to consult this material at present.

For either of the above, please email the Library directly at

  • Scan & deliver: anyone may make a request for material not available elsewhere, full details are on the form here.
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Limited On-Site Services

The Library is open, subject to Covid 19 restrictions, to Registered Readers by prior appointment only.

The Library is reference only.

Previously Registered Readers do not need to re-submit an application form, but need to email to re-validate their readership.

New Readers may apply using this application form. You may need to log in using your Oxford email address/SSO. Non-Oxford applicants should use this form instead. If you still have difficulty accessing the application form, please contact the Library at

Seats may be booked for morning (10am – noon), and/or afternoon (1pm – 4pm) slots, on the following dates:

  • 8th week -  Wednesday, 16th June
  • 9th week – Tuesday, 22nd June and Wednesday, 23rd June

Subsequent dates will be added in due course.

Please be aware that bookings may be cancelled at short notice if the Library is unable to open.

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"These Troublesome Times": All Souls College and the English Civil War

The first complete surviving All Souls College Minute Book, Acta in Capitulis, MS. 400a dates from 18th August 1601 to the final entry, dated 29th July 1707, when it was agreed that the Wood-House should be repaired. The manuscript comprises 260 folios, of which folios 1 – 258v are the text, and folios 259r – 260v are an index which may have been added when the papers were first bound. The fact that the edge of the text has disappeared into the gutter on a number of occasions does suggest that the papers were originally written on loose pages before being bound.

[Read the full article here]

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Library Information

The Library at All Souls College is, like all Oxford college libraries, an independent institution. Its modern collections are particularly strong in law and history, especially the history of Britain and early modern Europe, and military history. Philosophy, sociology, and the history of science are also well represented.

The Library welcomes applications for admission (supported by a recommendation from tutor or supervisor) by law and history undergraduates, and graduate students of the University of Oxford. Junior members in other faculties may also apply for admission. The Bodleian card is in itself not sufficient to secure entry to the Library.

The early collections, accessible by appointment to bona fide scholars, are rich in almost every subject, and supported by a growing collection of books on bibliography and book history.

The Library’s printed book collections are catalogued onto the University’s online catalogue, SOLO. This includes the early printed books, many of which are also available via EEBO, and an increasing number of digitized items are accessible via our digital resources website, here: Early Printed Books - The Library, All Souls College (

The developing digital resources website (The Library, All Souls College: Digital Resources ( also includes the fully digitized The Architectural Drawings of Sir Christopher Wren at All Souls College, Oxford: a complete catalogue, by Anthony Geraghty, which links to the high resolution images at Digital Bodleian; as well as digitized archives, and the Library’s blog, In Capitulis

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The Library at All Souls College, Oxford, is not only architecturally interesting in itself, but also has a distinctive place in the history of library design. The building of the Great Library started on June 21, 1716, to a plan by Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661-1736), but the fitting out was not completed until 1751, and certain aspects of Hawksmoor’s concept were not realised as he had intended. Further additions to the fabric were made in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but these are of far less merit than the Great Library.

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