After a relatively low turnout for this year’s Library Open Day, we thought that it might be timely to publish a post with a few pearls of wisdom for new readers. Note that more information about library rules and collections is to be found on the OIL website, which also has links to materials which have been made available on WebLearn: http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/oil
- The Library Door: the door operates using the SALTO system, which is used around several libraries in Oxford and requires you to hold up your Bod card to the little box on the doorframe. This does not always work if your card is in your wallet alongside other cards, particularly bus-cards or other cards with a chip. Removing your Bod card from your wallet and holding it close to the little box usually works, but please be patient and wait for the green light!
- Downstairs: the Library has a downstairs! This comes as a surprise to some readers (one had been here several years before discovering the Lower Ground floor), and will prove especially useful to those people studying Chinese or Japanese, South Asian subjects, Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Syriac and related Eastern Christianity subjects or Korean. While some materials from these collections are held up on the ground floor in the reference section at the far end of the library, more extensive collections are to be found downstairs. Please note however, that some Hebrew and Jewish studies books were recently moved to the Muller Library at the Clarendon Institute on Walton Street, so there may be gaps. The stairs are located round the corner from the Front Office and just along from the Back Office.
- Reference vs. Apply Staff: If a book on SOLO says “Reference” that means it is confined to the Library and cannot be borrowed. These books are for the most part shelved in the general sequence if they belong to the collections on the Ground Floor, or will be found at the back of the Ground Floor in the Reference section if their collections are usually on the Lower Ground. Do ask staff if you aren’t sure. “Apply Staff” books are on the shelves in the Front Office and are for use in the library. These are books nominated by the Faculty members and appear on reading lists, so are restricted to avoid them disappearing for long periods when everyone needs them for essays.
- Shelfmarks: There are a number of different shelfmarks in use in the Library, but the main source of confusion is among those beginning with letters such as DS, PJ and PK. A rule of thumb is that the short shelfmarks without a date will be for books with BLACK labels, in the middle and at the side nearest to the windows, and the long shelfmarks with a date will be WHITE labels, which start behind the Front Office and work their way around the outside of the library. Shelves are labelled, but do ask the staff on duty if you are really stuck. Kate, who works at the desk on several afternoons in the week, is gradually reclassifying the old (black-labelled) sequence, so books do sometimes move without warning!
- And finally: ASK if you can’t find something! There will always be someone on the desk who can help.