(updated 11 Jan 2020)
The Library is operating a very reduced service owing to the present Coronavirus lockdown. Requests to see material will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Requests for scanning or images may be made for material not accessible elsewhere, but response times will be longer than usual.
Those wishing to apply to become readers may do so. However will not be possible to make appointments before the end of the lockdown except in exceptional circumstances.
Any enquiries should be made via email, and we will do our utmost to assist as best we can.
Coronavirus Update 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 email@example.com.
- Scan & deliver: anyone may make a request for material not available elsewhere, full details are on the form here.
Limited On-Site Services
The Library is open, subject to Covid 19 restrictions, to Registered Readers by prior appointment only, and, for material which is:
- not available elsewhere
- not already accessible online/as an e-book
To request an appointment Registered Readers should email the Library at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- shelfmark/call number
- author/title/date of publication
- SOLO permalink
Previously Registered Readers do not need to re-submit an application form.
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 email@example.com.
Please be aware that bookings may be cancelled at short notice if the Library is unable to open.
The Library has c.185,000 volumes, about a third of which were printed before 1800. There are also collections of archives relating to the College’s estates and history; manuscripts dating from the 11th to the 20th century; architectural drawings; and particularly strong modern collections in law, history, and military history.
As well as books, the Library is guardian to a number of other objects: a death mask of Christopher Wren, a pietra dura table, the reading desks and steps commissioned by Blackstone, and memorabilia of T.E. Lawrence.
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 is in the process of having all its books catalogued on to universally accessible electronic resources. For the early collections (up to 1801), this is well on the way to completion (see ESTC and SOLO). Almost all of the modern collections have also been catalogued, though work is still on-going to complete this retrospective conversion from the card catalogue in some areas.
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.