Returning to our Reading Rooms: A Guide

From Monday 17th August, the Rad Cam will open its gates to readers once again for pre-booked reading room slots! If you haven’t done so already, you can reserve a slot up to 2 weeks in advance on our booking page. As well as desks in Upper and Lower Camera, we have a height-adjustable desk and Reader PCs available to book.

As you might expect, we have some new procedures and adjustments to help
keep you safe in the library, so here’s a guide to what to expect on your visit:

1. Please remember to bring your seat booking confirmation email, and most importantly your University/Reader card with you. As the Admissions office is currently not issuing Day Passes, we won’t be able to let you in without your card.

2. You will be asked to wear a face covering in the library, including at your desk, and unless exempt (see below*) staff will ask you to come back with a face covering if you arrive without one. We are following University guidance that wearing a face covering can aid alongside hand hygiene and social distancing in helping to keep us all safe in university buildings.

*Some readers will be exempt from wearing a face covering under government regulations, and this need for exemption may not be obvious.
Please be mindful of this if you see someone without a face covering in the library.
If this exemption applies to you, we can provide a sign to show at your desk if you would like to indicate that you’re exempt in this way, although this is completely optional.

3. You may need to queue on the path outside when you arrive at the library. Keep a distance of 2 metres between you and other readers when queuing, and for the duration of your visit.

4. When you arrive, show your booking confirmation to the member of staff at Reception, and they will give you your assigned desk number and directions to your seat. To help with distancing, most seats will not be in use; these will be indicated by a sign with a red cross. Staff will also be wearing face coverings subject to the procedure above, and we have installed protective screens at staff desks.

5. As well as hand sanitiser at the library entrance, we also have convenient sanitiser stations throughout the library. Please make regular use of these during your visit!

6. Want to find some books? As some spaces in our building are quite snug, please be cautious and considerate of other readers when browsing the shelves, ensuring a 2 metre distance. In Lower and Upper Camera, enter each bay on the right-hand side to reach the shelves, as there will be no reader desks in use on this side.

7. Want to borrow a HFL book? Due to the Bodleian’s membership of the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service, which allows for access to selected ebooks during this period, we currently have license restrictions on the books we are allowed to loan. Please bring any books you wish to borrow to the issue¬†desk, and staff will check whether they are loanable. Alternatively, you can use our Click & Collect service to order books from home; please note that this process can take 2-3 working days before books are ready for collection.

8. And finally, welcome back! If you have any questions in advance of your visit, you can email us at library.history@bodleian.ox.ac.uk, and if you’re unsure of anything in the library just ask a member of staff and we’ll be happy to help.

(Photos credit: George Kiddy & Gareth Evans)