Information for Visiting Readers

Admission to the Library for Visiting Readers

The Historic collections of Oriel Library are open to bona fide researchers by prior appointment only. If possible readers should bring a valid Bodleian or British Library reader’s card to serve as identification. Postgraduate students should also bring a letter of introduction from their supervisor. 

Since seating for external readers is limited, we may not always be able to accommodate you. In particular, external readers will not be admitted during the months of May and June, when our undergraduates are preparing for their final examinations and the space has to be devoted to serving the needs of our current members.

Readers are asked to use larger libraries, such as the Bodleian Library, the British Library and other university libraries where possible. In general, researchers will be refused access to materials which are also held by the Bodleian, unless there is a special reason for seeing the Oriel copy. You can search the Bodleian’s holdings using OLIS.

Opening Hours

The Library Office is open 9-5 from Monday to Friday. This information is given only for guidance, as readers must make appointments in advance when wishing to use the library. Please avoid arriving between 12 noon and 2 pm, as we may not be able to fetch materials you need. The library has certain closed periods during vacations, so please check when you are making your appointment.

Contacting the Library

Visiting readers should contact the Library in advance of their visit to make an appointment. The preferred method of contact is by email or letter.  

The e-mail address for initial enquiries is

The postal address is: 

The Library
Oriel College 
Oriel Square 
OX1 4EW.

Our telephone number is 01865 276558. 

If you are calling from outside the United Kingdom, please use +44 1865 276558, where the + should be replaced by your international dialling code. From an Oxford University internal phone you may dial 76558.