2016 Highlights

Happy New Year!

We trust everyone had a pleasant holiday!

Before we get on with the serious business of reminding everyone of the exciting things which happened at OIL in 2016, readers interested in Rumi may wish to attend the lecture on the Poetry of Rumi which takes place on January 20th at the Weston Library: (details here). Note that you will need to book a place for this; we will post a reminder on the Facebook page nearer the time.

2016 Recap


Last year saw a number of adjustments and changes at the Oriental Institute Library; the Japanese collections were relocated to the Bodleian Japanese Library after a decision was made by the Faculty to consolidate all the Japanese holdings in one place.

The space freed up by the Japanese move enabled us to rearrange the books in the basement, so that the Korean Studies Library is now on the shelves just at the bottom of the stairs, with the Indian Institute section now also moved so it resides on the shelves on the ground floor by the photocopiers.

The space where the Korean books were kept is currently being used by the Taylorian Library for a number of their periodicals which are to be barcoded, but which needed to be moved out of their previous locations to make room for the books from the Taylor Slavonic library which left its previous location over the summer. We have welcomed a few slightly baffled Modern Languages scholars who were looking for their usual publications over the last few months, some of whom had no idea we were here!

At the end of Michaelmas Term a number of periodicals which had previously been shelved among the Library of Congress books were shifted to the empty shelves near the other OIL periodicals; these have had a suffix “Per.” Added to their shelfmarks on the system which should make them easier to locate, but do ask staff if something has vanished from its usual place!

Finally, as we mentioned in the previous post, Kate has finished the “D” section in the reclassification project, as well as a few smaller groups of books under “L”, “M” and “N” and will be starting the “P” section as soon as she has finished a bit of essential moving to make space. In the last calendar year, 1808 shelfmarks were reclassified, many of which were multivolume works – the total number of individual books reclassified was 2136.


In December we said goodbye to Jonathan Acton, who had worked with us since 2010. We hope he is enjoying retirement and able to spend more time with his grandson!

During the summer we had a number of guests from the Muller Library after a minor fire in the Clarendon Institute forced them to close and relocate for a number of weeks while the building was repaired. The library is happily now open and the staff have returned to their normal workplaces, but it was interesting to have different people around at OIL for a few weeks!


New PCAS – and with it shiny new photocopiers – was launched successfully in September, with only a few minor glitches being identified in what is otherwise a very similar system to the old one. Those of you with long memories may shudder at the thought of the original PCAS launch in 2009 which was very different; in the case of the new system we are happy to report that only minimal staff time has been taken up showing readers (usually those new to the system entirely) how to use the machines.

Building works

Over the summer we had the excitement of the replacement of the Library skylights, which actually proved far less disruptive than most of us had feared (visions of the entire LC section on the back wall being sheeted off proved unfounded), with crash-towers erected, but not preventing access to the books. One of these came into its own on a memorable Friday when Vasiliki was at the desk, heard a shouted expletive, and saw one of the workmen fall through the hole from the roof! Fortunately he was unharmed.

During the work we were given an interesting opportunity to see the sky from parts of the library which usually can’t…


Directly before Christmas work began to replace the lights in the common room area. This has taken longer than anticipated due to an unfortunate incident on the last Friday before Christmas when one of the workmen drilled through a water pipe in the common room ceiling. Library staff brought in a preventive conservation expert from the Bodleian to monitor the humidity in the basement during the weekend immediately after the accident, and happily there was no change, so the books at the end of the basement are at no increased risk of mould at present. Work to fix the problem is ongoing; we will keep readers informed if the library is affected.

And finally…

Readers who need to find out more about Open Access and how it affects them are encouraged to attend one of the following drop-in sessions this Term:

OA poster