More Than Just Books – Accessibility

Hello, readers! Welcome to the fourth instalment in our More Than Just Books series. This series was created to draw attention to the wonderful things that the library offers beyond just the books on our shelves. You can check out the other posts in the series here.

Today we’re going to be talking about the accessibility provisions offered in the English Faculty Library. Topics include:

Building Access

The English Faculty Library is located across 2 floors in the St Cross Building. The building itself has level access through a lift in the main foyer, and all parts of the library have level access through a lift located in the library office. You can read more about navigating the building here.

Photograph of the exterior of the English Faculty Library

The English Faculty Library is in the St Cross Building at the corner of St Cross Road and Manor Road. Source: Access Guide (linked above)

Parking outside the building is limited and often in high demand, so we usually recommend using the Park and Ride service where possible. However, a parking space for Blue Badge holders is available.

Guide dogs and hearing dogs are welcome.

Specialist Services

We offer some specialist services to readers who are registered with the Disability Advisory Service or by individual arrangement, at the discretion of the library staff. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Hearing Loops
  • Extended loan periods and unlimited renewals
  • Large print or Braille copies of our informational leaflets
  • Permitting the consumption of food and drink in the library (only where medically necessary)
  • Pre-booking of socially distanced desk space
  • Proxy borrowing
  • Book fetching and reserving
  • One-to-one inductions
A photograph of a single-occupant table by the window.

Socially-distanced seating is available upstairs in the library.

You can find out more information about the specialist services we offer here.

Accessibility Station

We’ve talked to you about our Accessibility Station before, but it seems worth reiterating here. We keep a variety of accessibility equipment in the library for any readers to use as necessary. All we ask is that you put it back where you found it when you’re finished. The station includes:

  • Footstools
  • Bookrests
  • Coloured acetate sheets
  • Reading rulers
  • Earplugs
  • Daylight lamp (stored on the height adjustable desk upstairs)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Laptop stands
A photograph of our Accessibility Hub

The equipment in our Accessibility Hub can be used by any library users.

We also have some height-adjustable desks and ergonomic chairs. You can read more about our height-adjustable furniture here.

The Bodleian Libraries

Beyond just the English Faculty Library, the wider Bodleian Libraries offers a range of services to assist disabled readers with accessing and using resources. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • ARACU (The Accessible Resources Acquisition and Creation Unit): a team who can help you with accessing printed resources in alternative formats.
  • RNIB Bookshare: a database of accessible books and resources.
  • SensusAccess: a service that reformats inaccessible files into accessible ones, including ebooks, audio books, and digital Braille.
  • Self-Help Reading Lists: curated by the University Counselling service

You can see the full offering of services for disabled readers here.


If you’d like any more information on anything we’ve talked about today, you can contact:

More Than Just Books – Study Spaces

Hello, readers! Welcome to the third instalment in our More Than Just Books series, where we aim to share our information with you about our library provision beyond just the wonderful books on our shelves. You can check out the rest of the series here, if you’re interested.

Today, we’re going to talk about using the English Faculty Library as a study space. We’ll be showing off all the different study spaces available for you to use in the library and explaining the individual benefits of each one.

Our Study Spaces

Ground Floor Reading Room

The ground floor reading room is the first study space that you see when you walk into the library. Chairs are arranged on either side of seven long rectangular tables, with capacity for up to 76 readers. The chairs here are leather-covered and armless. This reading room is lit by ceiling windows as well as overhead light fittings, and each space has an individual study light over it. This makes it the area with the most customisable lighting in the library.

It’s worth noting that this is the space that readers have to use when consulting rare books or special collections items. It’s also the only space in the library with plug sockets available – though please keep in mind that these are only available at 36 seats.

The ground floor reading room in the English Faculty Library.

The ground floor reading room in the English Faculty Library is our largest study space.

Conveniently located for: Enquiries desk, displays, accessibility hub, film collection, Bodleian closed stack self-collect, reference collection, periodicals, English language material including prelims paper 1 materials, English literature up to the 16th century.

Gallery Reading Room

The gallery reading room can be found by going up the stairs, and crossing to the other side of the library. This space has a similar set up to the ground floor reading room, with 5 long rectangular tables and capacity for up to 57 readers. Lighting here is provided by overhead lights, and natural light coming in from large windows to one side of the room. This is an ideal space for silent group study, as readers can easily face one another over the tables.

Please note that there are no plug sockets available at the tables in the gallery reading room.

The gallery reading room in the English Faculty Library is an ideal workspace in which to spread out with lots of materials.

Conveniently located for: PCAS machines, English literature of the 16th century and beyond (including Shakespeare), Scottish and Irish literature, American literature, postcolonial literature, bibliography.

Computer Room

The computer room is located on the ground floor of the library, on the far side of the wall to the right of the entrance. It contains 28 computers, which can be used by readers, as well as some DVD/video viewing equipment. This room is lit by overhead lighting and some large windows on one wall. It is often well-regulated in terms of temperature, staying comparably cool in summer and warm in winter. These spaces also come with ergonomic chairs.

The computer room, complete with reader PCs and a presenting desk.

Please note that the computer room may occasionally be booked out for classes/training. We’ll always hang a sign on the door, if this is the case.

Single Occupant Desks

In addition to our larger study areas, the English Faculty Library also has some individual study spaces.

6 of these are located on the first floor of the library, secluded behind the bookshelves straight ahead of the stair case. They’re comprised of single-occupant desks, spaced out in front of the windows, each with a high-backed wooden chair with arms. These desks are primarily lit from natural light coming through the windows, supported by the overhead lights. They benefit from plenty of sunlight, and from being right next to the warm radiators in winter and open windows in summer.

These spaces are perfect for those looking to social distance, or who simply work best alone. Please remember that these spaces can be pre-booked by individuals registered with the disability advisory service (a sign on the desk will mark it as reserved, if this is the case).

Single occupant desks are arranged by large windows with views outside.

There are also 2 single occupant desks which are height adjustable and served by an ergonomic chair. One is on the edge of the ground floor reading room, near the enquiries desk. The other is on the first floor, between the top of the stairs and the PCAS machines.

A height adjustable desk, complete with ergonomic chair and daylight lamp – perfectly located for using the PCAS machines!

Turville-Petre Room

The English Faculty Library also has one more reading space, which may not be immediately obvious to our readers. We have a dedicated room to hold our Icelandic/Old Norse literature and language collections, known as the Turville-Petre Room. To access it (and the materials therein), readers must come to the enquiries desk and temporarily swap their Bodleian Reader’s card for a ‘TP card’. We’ll then show you down to use the Turville-Petre room.

This is a small study space. The walls are lined with caged books and one large desk fills the centre of the room, with capacity for up to 8 readers (seated on bamboo and wicker chairs). The room is lit by overhead lights and large windows on one wall.

This room provides excellent access for those referencing Icelandic and Old Norse materials.

The Turville-Petre Room is a cosy study space for those referencing the collections.

More Than Just Books – Reader Aids & Info

Hello there! A happy Friday to you all and a warm welcome back to those of you who read the first instalment of this series released back in October. In that first post we focused on all the library tech on offer to our readers, but today we turn our attention to reader aids and information in the hope that those visiting us in Hilary Term and beyond can hit the ground running. Specifically, we’re taking a look at the library’s signage, guides and website (the info); and equipment and furniture (the reader aids). Let’s dive in shall we?


The signs in our library are a useful way of staying abreast of the latest events and developments relevant to readers, from forthcoming student productions of Shakespeare to details about Bodleian Libraries service updates. But perhaps the most important one to keep an eye on is just outside the main entrance; it shows the opening hours for the week, which are subject to change depending on whether we are in term time or vacation.

Photo of the English Faculty Library main entrance showing the opening hours sign to the right of the automatic door.

Welcome to the English Faculty Library! Don’t forget to check our opening hours sign on your way in.

Many of our signs are displayed on one of four noticeboards or at natural confluence points in the library. You can find the noticeboards in the following locations:

  • Next to the entrance and exit gate.
  • In the computer room, to the left on entering.
  • Next to the Quick Search PCs on the ground floor.
  • Above the Quick Search PC at the top of the stairs.

Directional signs and maps are also displayed throughout the reading rooms to help you navigate our spaces and find the resources you need. At the bottom of the stairs you’ll also find a handy author look-up table, which lists alphabetically a number of noteworthy writers alongside their corresponding shelf mark.

Photo of the author lookup table at the base of the library stairs along with floorplans of the library.

Our author look-up table at the foot of the stairs is a great place to go if you want to browse our collections or research a particular individual.


A number of useful guides are available from the help desk and next to the Quick Search PCs on the ground floor. Need help placing a hold request? Want to find out more about Bodleian Libraries provision for disabled readers? Looking for the location of an Oxford library? You can find the answers to these questions and many more in our guides.

Photo of library guides at the help desk in the library with three rubber ducks in the background.

Our guides cover a range of topics and are looked after dutifully by a team of rubber ducks.

At the top of the stairs, next to our PCAS machines, you will also find laminated instructions for completing routine tasks such as scanning to email, photocopying, or printing from a personal device.

It doesn’t end there either. We have a wealth of resources available to readers online, including subject and research guides that cater to specific topics and periods of interest to members of the English Faculty. Click on the link below to get started.

Subject Specific Guides – English Language and Literature – Oxford LibGuides at Oxford University


The Bodleian Libraries website is one of the most useful places to go for up-to-date information on library services and resources for all the Bodleian Libraries, including the English Faculty Library. Take a look at the GIF below for a brief overview of the homepage and navigating to the EFL’s webpage. This webpage contains all the information you’ll need to get started in our library, including an introductory video, a virtual tour and links to our floorplans.

A GIF of replaying a mouse navigating the drop down menus of, scrolling to 'Find a library' and selecting 'English Faculty Library' from the options. is the place to go for lots of useful library information, including important service updates.


So now you know where to go for the info, how about the reader aids? Well, the library has a variety of equipment for readers to use onsite and most of it is kept at the Accessibility Hub adjacent to the help desk. Here you will find a foot stool, magnifying glass, reading ruler, laptop stand and acetate overlays. Need to block out the ambient noise of the library? There’s earplugs too!

Photo of the library's accessibility hub, showing bookstands, laptop stands, a foot stool, earplugs, a magnifying glass and coloured acetates.

The majority of our reader aids live at the Accessibility Hub and are free to take away and use in the library – you don’t need to ask!

There are multiple units of more popular equipment, such as bookstands. These are kept both at the Hub and on the gallery balcony by the first floor seating area, meaning you’ll never have to go far or wait long to get one.

Our daylight lamp is the only bit of kit that isn’t kept at the Hub. It’s plugged in with the height-adjustable desk on the first floor at the top of the stairs. Which brings us on neatly to the ergonomic furniture available for use…

Ergonomic furniture

Here we’re referring only to furniture that can be adjusted for different postures. There is of course plenty of different seating across our reading rooms, conducive to different activities, but we won’t go into that here.

On the ground floor, you will find two height adjustable desks, one accompanied by an ergonomic chair in the main reading room and the other in the computer room, topped off with an all-in-one monitor. It is a similar situation on the first floor, where you will find another adjustable table and chair combo at the top of the stairs and another adjustable desk with a monitor just beyond the PCAS machines.

And that’s all for this instalment of More Than Just Books. But before we let you go, a reminder that suggestions for future posts in the series can be sent to





More Than Just Books – Library Tech

Welcome to this first instalment of a new (and hopefully informative!) series on our blog – More Than Just Books. The series has two aims. Firstly, we want to highlight the many things included in the English Faculty Library’s offering aside from its marvellous print collections and secondly, in drawing attention to this additional provision, encourage our readers to make the most it.

We begin our series by focusing on library tech, specifically our Print, Copy and Scan (PCAS) machines, library PCs, Wi-Fi and AV equipment. Why? Because in this day and age it’s quite hard to get by without it. Indeed, a tally of reader enquiries at the library’s help desk made during the first week of term reveals that library tech was one of the most commonly raised topics. So, without further ado, here’s a rundown of what we have, where it is and how it works.

PCAS Machines

The EFL has two of these machines in the main library space. Head up the stairs and you will find them directly in front of you. If you’re taking the lift, head to floor two and you’ll find them either side of you once the doors open for that floor. Look for the PCAS icon on library maps:The icon representing the location for a PCAS machine in the EFL, as it appears on library maps. A black vector image of a printer accompanies the PCAS logo of blue and yellow squares.

As the name suggests, these machines allow for printing, copying and scanning. Scanning, both to a USB or to an email address is free, though there is a small charge for printing and copying:

Pricelist Single (simplex) Double (duplex)
Black and white (A4) 6p 9p
Black and white (A3) 10p 15p
Colour (A4) 20p 30p
Colour (A3) 40p 60p

To log in, you will need your University Card or Bodleian Reader Card. The number above the barcode serves as your username and you can set a password at Tap your card to the touchpad to the right of the display and enter your credentials. If you get stuck, a friendly member of staff is available at the help desk to unstick you.

A photo of the display screen and touchpad on an EFL PCAS machine.

The login screen for PCAS. Once you’ve tapped your card to the touchpad and entered your credentials, PCAS will remember you the next time you tap.

Details about how much can be scanned or copied under copyright is displayed on a poster behind the machines, as is a QR code linking to relevant PCAS webpages on the Bodleian website. Short A4 guides with step-by-step instructions for completing common tasks are also available.

A photo of the wall above the EFL's PCAS machine showing a blue folder with help guides inside; a poster displaying copyright information; and a poster displaying charges for printing and photocopying on PCAS machines.

PCAS information is displayed on the wall behind each machine.

You can send print jobs from a personal device using Web Print, though more savvy users might wish to download the Mobility Print driver to their device for quicker more flexible printing. It’s also possible to print from the library’s Reader PCs, which calls for a segue!

Library PCs

Broadly speaking, there are two types of PC available in Bodleian Libraries reading rooms. These are Reader PCs and Quick Search PCs. The latter allows readers to search the Bodleian Libraries’ main resource discovery tool, SOLO, without signing in, but additional functionality is limited.

Photo of a Quick Search PC in the EFL. The SOLO homepage is displayed on the screen.

A Quick Search PC next to the EFL’s entrance gate.

Those wishing to access a fuller range of desktop and online services are encouraged to use a library Reader PC. These PCs require you to log in, using the same Bodleian Libraries credentials needed for PCAS, but reward you with access to electronic Legal Deposit, or eLD, material, cloud services and Microsoft Office applications.

A photo of Reader PCs in the EFL computer room. The closest computer is displaying the login screen.

Reader PCs in the EFL’s Computer Room.

The EFL’s computer room has 28 Reader PCs, available year-round when the room is not in use for training sessions. There are two more Reader PCs upstairs for when it is. You’ll find the library’s Quick Search PCs next to the entrance and at the top of the stairs. Look for the respective PC icon on library maps to find Quick Search or Reader PCs:The icons for Quick Search PCs and Reader PCs as they appear on EFL maps of the library. The images are black vectors of a computer monitor with either 'Quick Search' or 'Reader PC' written across the screen.


For those using their personal devices in the library, we know that a Wi-Fi connection is a top priority. We have three networks available to choose from:

A screenshot of Wi-Fi options available in Bodleian Libraries as they appear on a personal device. The options are Eduroam (connected); Bodleian Libraries (Saved); OWL (No Internet access).

The three wi-Fi options available in Bodleian Libraries, as they appear on a personal device.


For students and staff of the University, and any visitors from other institutions also using Eduroam. The great thing about this network is that once you’ve set it up, you won’t need to log in each time you want to connect. Many University and college buildings offer access this network, so in central Oxford you’re rarely without coverage.

Get help with Eduroam: How to connect to eduroam WiFi | IT Help (

Bodleian Libraries Wi-Fi

For University and Bodleian Library Reader Card holders. Conveniently, logging in is the same as it is for PCAS machines and Library PCs. So just to recap, that’s your card’s barcode number as the username along with a password that you set for yourself at Trigger the login process by opening a browser window once you’ve connected to Bodleian Libraries Wi-Fi. The drawback of this service is that you’ll need to log in each time you visit the library.

Get help with Bodleian Libraries Wi-Fi: Library Wi-Fi and computers | Bodleian Libraries (


This service is for University visitors, but it also serves as a handy alternative for staff and students who cannot access Eduroam. Very few webpages are available to those that don’t sign in with guest credentials or connect to the University’s Virtual Private Network beforehand. Staff at the library can help you negotiate either of these steps to get you online.

Get help with OWL: How to connect to Oxford Wireless LAN (OWL) | IT Help

AV Equipment

Once you’re online, you might be inclined to search SOLO for one of the many films available from the EFL, on Blu Ray, DVD and yes even VHS. Once you’ve found one in the library you might then be thinking ‘how on earth do I watch AV formats developed in the 70s, 90s and 00s in the year 2022? My laptop doesn’t even have a disc drive!’ Well, that’s where the library steps in again.

Photo of EFL DVD drives in a drawer at the help desk.

The DVD drives live in a drawer at the library help desk when not on loan.

We’ve got two DVD drives that staff and students can check out on loan and a viewing area in the corner of the computer room, complete with a quaint box TV boasting a built-in VHS player. Headphones are available for use from the help desk.

A photo of the viewing area in the EFL computer room showing a box TV with a built-in VHS player (left) and a DVD player (right, both silver.

The viewing area in the EFL computer room.

And so concludes our whirlwind tour of tech in the EFL – we hope you found it useful! Suggestions for future posts in the series can be sent to