New Books November 2021

It’s the final week of Michaelmas term – congratulations, scholars, you’re almost there! With vacation loans now available, it’s time to think about what you want to read over the holidays. From our selection of newly acquired treats, I’ve picked out a handful of suggestions for some well-deserved quiet time with a book that will engage, excite, and whisk you away on a journey. You can check out the full selection over on LibraryThing: EFLOxford’s books | LibraryThing

Lisa Carey. The Stolen Child. 2017.

My first recommendation, The Stolen Child takes its reader to the isolated, wind-swept, and almost claustrophobic island of St Brigid’s off the west cost of Ireland. This is a place of myth and dwindling community, which is rumoured to be home to a hidden healing well. Part fairy-tale, part magical-realism, part gothic intrigue, this story explores the bonds between two local sisters – Rose and Emer – and a stranger searching for a miracle. Remember, dear reader, that everything comes at a price, and passion comes dearer than most.


Rosanna Bruno and Anne Carson. The Trojan Women. 2021.

We don’t often get comic-books in the EFL, so I couldn’t resist highlighting this adaptation of Euripides’ classic tragedy from one of my favourite publishers, Bloodaxe Books. Troy has been left in ruins and its men are dead – but what about its women? Well, Hekabe and Andromache (and almost everyone else) are depicted as animals. And Kassandra? She’s in another world, of course. Poet and classicist Anne Carson has teamed up with artist Rosanna Bruno to create a book that is described as “both wacky and devastating”.

Travis Alabanza. Burgerz. 2018.

Burgerz is a performance art piece turned script, but it’s more than that. It’s an obsession playing out on pages and stages. It’s a response to an act of violence that depicts a culture of violence and complicity. Crucially, it’s a hopeful blue-print to exploration and reclamation for the trans and gender non-conforming community. Travis Alabanza explains it in their own words: It is about telling you that this pain and that hurt exist and that society is complicit in this. But also, with that, I hope it is a text that reminds you of our resilience.” (Foreword)

Purchased through the Drue Heinz Fund.

Penelope Shuttle. Lyonesse. 2021.

Our next journey will take us into the depths of the ocean and the mists of history. Ever heard of Lyonesse? According to the myths, Lyonesse was once part of the Cornish coasts before it was swept under the sea during a Bronze Age inundation. It was a symbol for lost paradise in the Arthurian legends, but Shuttle uses it as a metaphorical springboard for the universality of loss, both human and mythic – Lyonesse as a paradoxical place. The book proceeds to a decidedly more hopeful note in it’s second part, New Lamps for Old, lighting a way through the darkness.

Purchased through the Drue Heinz Fund.

Alan Garner. Collected Folk Tales. 2011.

This collection holds eighteen previously unpublished folk stories and poems alongside some better known favourites. From the seemingly innocuous titles (The Adventures of Nera, Jack and his Golden Snuff-Box, and Baldur the Bright) to the disconcerting (A Voice Speaks from the Well, The Goblin Spider, and R.I.P) to the downright baffling ones (Vukub-Cakiz, Moowis, and Glooskap), any folklore, fairy tale, or mythology fan should find something to suit their fancy here. As Garner himself points out, “this book is not technical. It is for anyone that loves a story, whether the story be anecdote or epic.” (Introduction)

Service Update: Winter Vacation 2021

This year’s winter vacation begins on Sunday 5th December. From this date, the following changes apply.

Vacation opening hours

The library’s opening hours will reduce to 9:00-17:00, Monday to Friday.

Vacation closure

The library will be closed Thursday 23rd December until 3rd January inclusive.

Vacation loans

Vacation loans begin Monday 29th November. With the exception of short loans and DVDs, any items issued, reissued or renewed from this date will be due back during First Week of Hilary Term.

Short loans and DVDs are eligible for vacation loan from Thursday 2nd December.

Please visit the library’s website for details: English Faculty Library | Bodleian Libraries (

Happy Holidays!

Getting to grips with journals

We talk a lot about monographs on this blog and understandably so, the English Faculty Library has got lots of them and new ones are arriving all the time. However, just as important in our mission to support the teaching, study and research activities of the English Faculty are the journal runs that make up a significant chunk of our collections. They come in print and electronic formats, referred to here as journals and ejournals.


In addition to the 40+ in-print publications residing on the open shelves of our ground floor reading room, there are a number of journal issues that can be requested from the Rare Books Room and Turville-Petre Room during opening hours. Those with a preference for print can also make use of the collections housed in the Old Bodleian Library and off-site store. Stay apprised of the latest developments in your chosen topic by viewing the new journal displays in the ground floor and upper reading rooms of the English Faculty Library and the Old Bodleian Library respectively. You can also set up contents alerts for literature journals using ZETOC.

A photo and floorplan of the ground floor reading room of the English Faculty Library, showing the location of the new journals display.

New journals display at the English Faculty Library.


A significant number of journals are now available electronically, with the Bodleian Libraries boasting online subscriptions to a whopping 118,000 ejournals! Don’t fret if that sounds like a tad too many to get your head around; two powerful tools can help you to filter and refine this number down to a more manageable and relevant list of titles. Ejournals A-Z allows users to search by title, topic and citation, while BrowZine’s sleek interface provides a neat way of filtering by an increasingly specific selection of subjects. Those who choose to create an account with BrowZine are rewarded with customisable services including ‘My Bookshelf’, ‘My Articles’ and integrated citation services. Unlike print journals, ejournals have the added benefit of being accessible away from the library, 24/7.

Searching for Journals and Ejournals

Searching for and requesting serials has never been easier. In the vast majority of cases they are discoverable through SOLO, the library catalogue for Oxford University.

Signing in to the catalogue affords users the option of having a journal article scanned and sent to their email address or for off-site volumes to be sent to a specified Oxford location for in-person consultation.

There are a number of ways to search for the journal issue you want via SOLO. For example, you can search using:

• the title of the journal
• the title of the article
• the ISSN

Different searches can yield markedly different results, so it is worth trying more than one before throwing in towel.


Ulrichsweb is a directory service provided via the Bodleian Libraries that allows users to search for information on over 300,000 periodicals of all types. It is a rich source of metadata that proves a great starting point for constructing a successful search query on SOLO. You can distinguish between different journals of the same name, check whether a particular journal is still in print or if it is available electronically, and what its ISSN is. Find Ulrichsweb in Databases A-Z on the SOLO homepage, or by clicking the link above.

Screenshot of a search for 'Vanity Fair' in Ulrich.

Screenshot of a search for ‘Vanity Fair’ in Ulrichsweb.

Though we’re only just scratching the surface here, the take home message is that there’s never been a better time to get to grips with journals and there’s plenty out there to help you on your way!

New Books October 2021

We have had a lot of books hit the shelves at the EFL this October (125 in total!) so this month has some ripe, juicy pickings for our new books display and blog. In the interest of celebrating Black History Month this October, we’ve picked out some thematically appropriate books by black authors and editors to highlight in this month’s blog! As always, you can see the full selection of our new titles over on LibraryThing:

Without further ado, let’s dig in…

Sojourner Truth (et al.). Ain’t I A Woman? 2021.

This miniature but brilliant book contains the speeches of Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), abolitionist and women’s rights advocate, as well as a select few speeches of those who came after her: Maria Stewart, Sarah Parker Remond, and Jennie Carter, among others. The written reproductions of these speeches have been thoughtfully chosen, mindful of the inaccuracies of dialect (which is often over-wrought, and thought unfair by Sojourner) and recorded in standardized English.

Purchased through the E. H. W. Meyerstein bequest grant.

Zora Neale Hurston. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance. 2020.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance. She wrote short stories through the 1920s and 30s and was considered by Toni Morrison to be “one of the greatest writers of our time”. Her stories explore love, migration, gender, race, and class. This particular collection includes her pieces that were considered to be “lost”, dug up from archives and periodicals deep in the literary dusts.

Purchased through the Drue Heinz Fund.

Nella Larson. Quicksand: Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism. 2020.

Nella Larson’s 1928 literary debut (originally titled Cloudy Amber) from the Harlem Renaissance is presented in this Norton Critical Edition with a whole host of extra features: an introduction and annotations by Carla Kaplan, contemporary biographical and cultural contexts, a chronology and bibliography, and related writings by Larson herself. That’s not even mentioning the critical accompaniments from academics such as Ann duCille, Deborah E. McDowell, and Cherene Sherrard-Johnson.

Purchased through the Drue Heinz Fund.

Una Marson. Selected Poems. 2011.

The eagle-eyed Bodleian blog reader may have spotted a post that recently went up on the Oxford Libraries Graduate Trainee blog also celebrating Black History Month! If you’re keen to know more about Una Marson (1905-1965), I’d suggest beginning your search there. For now, this selection contains poems from all four of Marson’s published collections, as well as a few poems that went unpublished too. Editor Alison Donnell, who’s written about Marson on multiple occasions, has chosen a fascinating selection of work that demonstrates the breadth of an often underappreciated poet.

Ayanna Thompson. Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage. 2008.

Ayanna Thompson, Director of the Arizona Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, has used this book to delve into the relationship between depictions of race and performances of torture in Early Modern Theatre. Her work draws on Antonin Artaud’s manifesto for the Theatre of Cruelty before delving into specific examples through titles such as Titus Andronicus, The Indian Emperor, and Amboyna. Her interest goes beyond mere analysis – with an emphasis on recovering these plays from their past.

New Recycling Project at the EFL

Hello lovely readers! We hope that you’ve had a suitably autumnal October. We’ve got a new blog post for you today, and we’re not even going to talk about books in it (that’s right, we said it). Instead, we want to talk about… silica gel desiccant sachets. These little things:

                                                                      Pillows for mice

Specifically, we’d like to talk to you about the sachets that you get in your lateral flow kits. We’re currently collecting these particular sachets on behalf of the Ashmolean Conservation Department, who can reuse them to create dry conditions for museum objects.

Here’s our snazzy new sachet drop-off point:

As you can see, it’s right by the entrance to the EFL. So the next time you pop in, you can drop off your silica gel desiccant sachets at the same time as picking up your books!

Guest Review


Things We Lost in the Fire. By Mariana Enriquez. Translated by Megan McDowell. London: Portobello Books, 2017.

BY Charlotte Haley

Things We lost in the Fire Cover Image

Things We lost in the Fire

Exploring in monstrous form the true crime genre and violence against women, Enriquez’s short story collection remains relevant in 2021.

Trigger Warning: gore, self-harm, suicide, gender-based violence.

While the 12 stories of Mariana Enriquez’s Things We Lost in the Fire are mostly entrenched in the preter- and supernatural, the horror of reality is always knocking at the door. This collection answers to a world of police brutality, dead children, political torture, and domestic violence, each taking its own monstrous form. Though she has been compared to Shirley Jackson and has herself discussed the influence of H. P. Lovecraft in her work, Mariana Enriquez is, as translator McDowell says in her note, ‘the heir…of Argentine gothic’, following writers like Jorge Luis Borges and Silvina Ocampo.

There are recognisable elements in this collection of the True Crime genre, a dark corner of media which has as many fans internationally as it does critics. The examination of real crimes, more often than not focusing on grizzly murder, has always captured the public’s most grotesquely-inclined imaginations, and this has peaked in the last fifty years with the rise in awareness of criminal psychology. This morbid fascination has been argued to disconnect us from other human beings, and yet has resulted in the successful apprehension of long-obscured culprits. Many of Enriquez’s stories and characters live in this liminal space between a need for desensitisation to the horror of real life, and a comprehension of how the normalised should be understood as horrific, through the metaphor of her many ghouls and monsters.

The truth of crime is something that Enriquez appears well-versed in, and about which she writes with startling clarity. In this collection alone, she draws from real cases of police brutality, murder, and poverty for the meat of her stories. She digs deep into the soil of her native Argentina, exploring lives wracked by decades of political conflict and human rights abuses. She has spoken about the country as its own character in her narratives, and this can certainly be seen in many of the stories in this collection. In Spiderweb, for instance, the natural world’s silent, Leviathan presence complements the tension felt under the eyes of soldiers serving Paraguayan dictator, Alfredo Stroessner. On a trip to Northern Argentina, a tiresome husband, Juan Martín, his wife, and her cousin, Natalia, end up stranded by a broken down car. When the trio get to a hotel in Clorinda, the husband disappears, and though this may be the most dramatic thing to happen in the narrative, it certainly doesn’t stand out as the most important. A story told earlier by Natalia, in which a burning house mysteriously disappears from the field it was in, sets the tone for Juan Martín’s disappearance to thread seamlessly into the atmosphere. When it happens, we are already unsettled. The floor upon which we stand as readers is already trembling.

Disappearing in the context of the political history of Argentina is also integral to Enriquez’s particular Gothic. During the Dirty War of the 1970s and 1980s, it is estimated that between 9,000 and 30,000 people were ‘disappeared’ as part of the military dictatorship’s attempt to rid themselves of political dissidents. Many groups of people suffered from the violence, and their families still seek answers. The threat of the military state is aptly hinted towards in Spiderweb, with the appearance of three boisterous soldiers who harass a waitress, and a disturbing story later told about the military building dead bodies into a bridge. Thus when Juan Martín disappears as though he never existed, there is a sense that something underhand but totally normal has occurred, that the narrative itself swallowed him up without a need to explain.

Spiderweb takes place from the point of view of the wife of Juan Martín, and many of Enriquez’s stories in this collection are told from the perspective of women. These characters exist in a country which in the last decade alone has seen mass protest and demonstration against femicide and gender-based violence. Nowhere is this explored so deeply as in the title narrative, Things We Lost in the Fire, the final story in the collection. Despite the exaggerated premise, Enriquez does not shy away from the reality of domestic violence as a systemic issue: when separate incidences of women being set on fire by their partners occur – and people choose to believe they did it to themselves – a widespread protest of self-immolation begins. Women begin to set themselves on fire en masse, organising bonfires and banding together in an attempt to reclaim power over this most destructive act, as well as the men who started it. McDowell’s choice of the word ‘bonfire’ is especially evocative, and the character Marίa Helena, who runs a secret hospital for the burned, alludes to the historical significance of death by burning: ‘I tell them that we women have always been burned — they burned us for four centuries!’

Young women in Enriquez’s stories have a distinctly irreverent shade to their characters, often rebelling against societal expectations, explicit instructions, and parental guidance. In Adela’s House, a young girl enters an abandoned house against the advice of her parents and her own instincts, and never resurfaces, ‘not alive or dead’. Once again, her disappearance is never solved, and the people who loved her are destroyed by the loss. In The Inn, two girls experience a ghostly encounter while trying to set up a prank in empty guest rooms. When about to lie down together, a symbol for the sexual relationship that the main character, Florencia, would like to pursue with her friend, Rocío, they are interrupted by the cacophony of men shouting, car motors, boots stomping – the ghostly sound of state terror and horrific political crimes. There is a sense that the blossoming of these girls’ sexuality and self-knowledge is interrupted by Argentina’s tumultuous recent history, a sense of the impact of intergenerational trauma.

Things We Lost in the Fire plays with anxieties by dancing in the doorway, as all good Gothic material does. Liminal spaces create a pervasive sense of unease, and while characters confront the supernatural and the monstrous, there is also an insidious, creeping anxiety imposed on the reader. In The Dirty Kid, the protagonist exists outside of the central horror, a middle-class woman who chooses to live in her old family home, despite its neighbourhood, Constitución, being plagued with poverty and criminal activity. She chooses to inhabit a contradiction of her own status. The reader almost feels lulled into a false sense of security, seeing this world through the protagonist’s comfortable but alienated eyes, rather than those of the five year old boy who sleeps on the street opposite her house, and who she takes to get ice cream after finding him without his mother, a drug addict. The protagonist likes the neighbourhood for making her feel ‘sharp and audacious’, and yet remarks that the ‘desperate lives’ she sees daily seem ‘natural’ to her. Enriquez so effortlessly highlights this character’s hypocrisy when the boy turns up dead and mutilated, and her fantasy of goodwill towards him is exposed to be diaphanous and impotent.

This story sets the tone for Enriquez to push us to confront the things in life which are morally reprehensible, to which we may have become immune. In An Invocation of the Big-Eared Runt, a murder-tour guide develops an obsession with a serial child-killer, and his attitude towards his wife and the envy he feels towards his new baby leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Here, the message is clear: not only do our True Crime obsessions prompt a desensitisation to violence and evil, but they might just start to warp our own morals too. In Under the Black Water, a Lovecraftian series of events leads District Attorney, Marina Pinot, to a defiled church and a ghostly procession in honour of the dead. The poisoned river into which two young men were thrown by police officers – this aspect inspired by a real case of police violence – bloats and fizzes with evil, and once again, the protagonist’s proximity to real horror is melded with her encountering the supernatural.

The desensitisation topic is explored further in Green Red Orange, a story which deals with Hikikomori, or acute social withdrawal. The narrative centres on Marco, a social recluse who is locked in his bedroom and sustained by his anxious mother, and the narrator’s attempts to connect with him over a chatroom. During their increasingly infrequent conversations, Marco reveals details about his dive into the deep web, and the dark corners of exploitation and murder therein. One can’t help but feel that this is a story we are becoming increasingly familiar with, as some young men undergo online radicalisation and turn to extremes.

Another important element of this collection is the age of many of the characters: Enriquez brings to life a cast of high-school aged children in many stories, an older category than is usually employed for the horror genre, since the involvement of young children in the sordid and gory packs an instant emotional punch. Stories like The Intoxicated Years, End of Term, and Green Red Orange explore the particular horror of the period of ‘coming-of-age’, a time that is often romanticised in popular media. This reworking of the pubescent nightmare that is adolescence is part of Enriquez’s reality-check: our media has allowed us to deal with this period of self-discovery by taking the sting out of it, but she retaliates by warping the sting into something grotesque. The sting, for Enriquez, is important, and her portrayals of teenage angst reach disturbing extremes because of it.

End of Term focuses on Marcela, a pupil attending the school of the narrator who describes her as ‘forgettable’ in pretty much every way, except her terrible fashion sense. She wears ill-fitting clothes which cover her completely, a sign of obvious discomfort with her body, and a recognisable tactic to readers who remember their own body problems during puberty. Issues quickly arise, however, when Marcela rips her own fingernails out in class, causing uproar and her notoriety to spread. A slew of acts of self-harm, prompted by an invisible man who seems to haunt Marcela, remind the reader of very real and common mental health crises that many young people go through, and how supernatural horror has often been the genre chosen to explore mental illness. Thankfully, Enriquez avoids the damaging ways in which this genre can stigmatise mental health crises by injecting each story with supernatural antagonists and an otherworldly atmosphere, thus resting in metaphor, rather than exploitation.

Enriquez never fails to disappoint when it comes to extremes: she is in no way afraid to explore the sordid and perverse, and to push ideas to their limits. The collection mostly avoids shocks for the sake of shocks, though her descriptions of gore and the damage done to the human body are certainly visceral and could upset the under-prepared horror reader. Her narrative style is commanding and wastes no ink on extensive descriptions, a factor which makes her concise creation of eeriness all the more engaging.

Charlotte Haley is a recent graduate of Regent’s Park College (2020), with a BA in Classics and English. For the last year, she has been working in Switzerland as a Gallery Assistant for a rare book dealer (while frantically trying to learn German!). Since graduating, she has co-written a short film about sexual health,The Clinic, produced by the BBC Arts New Creatives programme, and won the Kunsthalle Basel’s Online Writing Workshop in May of 2021 for her poem, I Like Basel But. Charlotte’s writing of all forms, published or otherwise, can be found on her blog, IOLIS (I Only Like It Sometimes). Her pronouns are she/they.

Spying and Espionage: Something Different

Those who frequent the English Faculty Library in the Michaelmas term may spot our not-so-top-secret display on Spying and Espionage Literature, which showcases some key texts of the genre and highlights the relationship between international tensions and the spy novel. We have works on display from giants like John Le Carré and Joseph Conrad, a few James Bond films, and even a copy of Blackwood’s Magazine in which John Buchan first published The Thirty-Nine Steps.

However, in curating the display, we found a lot more than we could put on display. This seemed like a brilliant opportunity to draw your attention to our online collection and to resources available in the wider Bodleian and beyond. Please find below a (not exhaustive!) selection of alternative resources:

Lauren Wilkinson brings a more modern take to the genre of spy novels with her debut, The American Spy, published in 2019. Her book is built around the historical figure of Thomas Sankara, revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, and explores the experiences of a black woman working in the white-male dominated intelligence community. In an interview with Electric Lit, Wilkinson said: “My experience as a black American was in line with [spying], where you spend a lot of time thinking about how you portray yourself.” Her book is available to read via ELD on Bodleian PCs.

Helen MacInnes was an espionage novelist inspired by her husband, who served in British Intelligence in World War 2, to write her first novel Above Suspicion (1941). Her work is intensely political and deeply opinionated, roiling against fascist ideologies and political systems. A list of her books available at the Bodleian can be found here, and a full biography of her life is available via the Bodleian subscription to American National Biography.

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathiser won the Pulitzer Prize – and for good reason. The novel follows the story of a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist sleeper agent stranded in exile in America after the end of the Vietnam War. It’s an honest and at times hilarious look at identity and politics with style and flair. If you’re lucky (and quick!), you can get your hands on a physical copy at the EFL – go go go!

Some other good resources (besides a fascinating assortment of novels) include:

  • Toledo Library have published a Brief History of the Spy Genre, which is (as promised) brief but very informative. It also includes a much bigger reading list than the one above!
  • This list published by CrimeReads is a carefully curated selection of ‘Literary Thrillers about Espionage, Spies, and Double Agents’ and includes titles not mentioned in this article or in our display.
  • The Novels of John Le Carré by David Monaghan – A critical analysis of Le Carré’s work that was incredibly helpful in curating the display. This is available in a physical copy at the EFL.
  • The display alludes briefly to a very important piece by Chinua Achebe called An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness – the piece is worth reading in its entirety and available online.
  • James Bond Uncovered by Jeremy Strong is a fascinating read for film fans, with a clear focus on adapting a classic text to a variety of media for changing audiences. An electronic copy is available through Bodleian Libraries.

New Books September 2021

A new academic year is upon us, and a whole host of new books have arrived at the English Faculty Library. We’ve cherry-picked a few of our fresh, shiny favourites to share with you all, but you can check out the full list over on Library Thing:


Jessica Glueck (ed.). 2021. Wykehamist Pattern Poems 1573-1618.

This delightfully surprising book was anonymously donated to the English Faculty Library.  Within its pages are an assortment of ‘Frivolous Boyishe Grammer Schole Trickes’ (p.1) – a collection of pattern poems written in Latin by pupils, teachers, and alumni of Winchester College. Rendered in their original image with transcriptions, translations, and commentary, these charming and challenging poems shed a light on a scholarly past.


Caroline Magennis. 2021. Northern Irish Writing After the Troubles: Intimacies, Affects, Pleasures.

Magennis uses feminist theory to explore how Northern Irish Writers have engaged with intimacy, the body, and pleasure in the period since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 and even since the Covid-19 pandemic. This book features pieces from Lucy Caldwell, Jan Carson, and Bernie McGill to present a contemporary and timely examination of Northern Irish identity as well as community.



Teresa Zackodnik (ed.). 2021. African American Literature in Transition: 1850-1865.

This book is just one of five African American Literature in Transition books to line the shelves of the English Faculty Library this month. The chapters in this book explore a diversity of topics, from Semi-Citizenship, to Black Romanticism, to Antislavery Activist Networks. As Zackonik says, “we read not for event but for multiple conditions productive of and for Black literature.” (p.6)




Matthew Sussman. 2021. Stylistic Virtue and Victorian Fiction: Form, Ethics, and the Novel.

Aristotle first described the concept of stylistic virtue. Sussman’s book attempts to unearth this largely forgotten element of rhetoric and aesthetics from its Victorian heyday, before delving into an analysis of how stylistic virtue alters our understanding of Thackeray, Trollope, and Meredith.




Andrew Murphy. 2021. Shakespeare in Print: A History and Chronology of Shakespeare Publishing. Second Edition.

We’ve got a treat here for the publishing, printing, and editing fans. The second edition of this gorgeous, hard-back bibliographical book is revised and expanded. New additions include a carefully-mapped history of digital editions of Shakespeare, fresh material in every chapter, and an expanded chronological appendix. Murphy’s entertaining narrative draws out the enlightening social, cultural, and biographical editing of Shakespeare’s work.

Service Update: Michaelmas Term, 2021


This post is intended for new and returning members of Oxford University and offers an update on services at the English Faculty Library effective from the beginning of Michaelmas Term, 2021.

First-time visitors are invited to view the short welcome video at

Welcome tours of the library are available from 6th to 8th October. Booking information can be found at

For new students wishing to learn more about the Bodleian Libraries as a whole, guidance is available at

Opening hours

During term time the library is open 9am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays (from 9th October).

Service updates

  • Advanced booking is no longer a condition of entry, but visitors must bring a valid University Card. Arrivals can check in using the NHS Track and Trace app or the paper form provided.
  • A fetching service is available to those wishing to consult confined items and special collections.
  • Scan and Deliver and Print and Deliver services will continue.
  • Readers can request to use the Turville-Petre Room at the library help desk.
  • Library related payments must be made online (minimum spend £2); cash transactions have been suspended.
  • Physical interlibrary loans will resume.

Staying safe in our library

The University’s key general health messages are as below:

A GIF of the key health messages from the University of Oxford relating to COVID-19: Your actions matter. Help keep everyone safe. Get vaccinated as soon as possible. Wear face coverings where indicated (unless exempt). Test regularly, and if you have symptoms. Stay at home if you are unwell. Keep washing your hands. Be considerate of other people’s space.

Oxford University COVID-19 guidance

  • Your actions matter. Help keep everyone safe.
  • Get vaccinated as soon as possible.
  • Wear face coverings where indicated (unless exempt).
  • Test regularly, and if you have symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you are unwell.
  • Keep washing your hands.
  • Be considerate of other people’s space.

Accompanying signage is displayed throughout the library to remind and encourage visitors to adhere to this guidance.

To help keep visitors safe, the library is taking the following steps:

  • Encouraging visitors to wear masks at all times and in all library spaces, unless exempt. The University’s face covering policy is available at
  • Providing hand sanitiser throughout the reading rooms, including the library entrance and help desk.
  • Providing cleaning products at designated points for readers to clean desks and shared library equipment before and after use.
  • Regularly cleaning touchpoints.
  • Ventilating shared spaces by keeping windows open during opening hours.
  • Limiting the capacity of the Computer Room to a maximum of 15 people.
  • Suspending cash transactions.
  • Retaining Perspex screens at the help desk.

Online Support

Further information relating to the English Faculty Library, including contact details, is available on the webpage: Alternatively, library users can speak to a librarian in real-time using SOLO Live Chat.

For Bodleian Libraries service updates, please visit

Writers and Reviewers for 2021-22

We are now scheduling posts for the 2021-22 academic year and are looking for contributions of articles and reviews.

Submission of articles is open to any member of the university, or alumni, but priority with be given to English Faculty members (past and present).

Articles should be between 500-3000 words and can be on any topic that would be of interest to members of the English Faculty, though the library favours articles relevant to its collections.

We are also looking for regular reviewers to join us in writing about upcoming books, as well as drama and film productions.

For enquiries and submissions please email