Category Archives: Library of Congress Collection

Late Summer news and reminders

We’re back!

Enormous thanks to our colleagues at the Sackler Library for their help in ensuring that our readers were able to access the books from OIL which they needed during the closure, and for bringing everything back so promptly when we re-opened! It would not have been possible to ensure accessibility to our collections without their help – not least because most of us were on holiday for most of the closure…

Building Works

We have yet to receive a timetable from the builders for the remainder of the building work still to be done, some of which will be carried out in the library. They have now started on some of that work as of this week, however.

If any areas of the library need to be sheeted off to protect them during the works we will ensure that staff can get into those areas at least once a day to retrieve books which readers may need; we will endeavour to keep everyone up to date so keep an eye out for notices around the library.

Book Moves

Kate has been moving the Library of Congress section around again, we’re afraid. PK now starts in the middle of the library near the Reference section at the Sackler end, the PJ sequence having been extended into the shelves under the windows. This should facilitate her continuation of the reclassification project, which is gradually moving towards its completion. Shelf labels in the affected areas will be updated before the start of Term.

Opening times

A reminder that we are CLOSED on the August Bank Holiday Monday, August 27th, and also on the Monday and Tuesday of the following week – September 3rd and 4th for St Giles Fair.

Otherwise our opening hours will remain 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday until the start of Term.






April News

Welcome back!

We decided to delay the blog post for a couple of weeks after the start of April as we figured that it was better to wait until a time when most people are actually back in Oxford, rather than right at the start of the month when we were all sluggish from too many Easter eggs.

Ahem. We trust you all had a restful break?

New height-adjustable table/chair

We took delivery over the vacation of these new pieces of equipment, a height-adjustable table and a chair which can be configured for various positions for use with the table or elsewhere.

Anyone is welcome to make use of them, but please note that readers with a specific need – such as the need to work at a high desk due to a back problem, for example – will take priority.


Two lectures about Persian books

Readers of Persian may be interested in the above event on May 16th. Bookings may be made through the website. We will mention this again on Facebook nearer the time to remind everyone.


Mundane library matters

Last week we said goodbye to Natalija, who has left OIL to work as a cataloguer for the Bodleian, based at the Osney offices. We would like to wish her the best of luck in her new job – she will be missed by the rest of the team.

The PJ section has been rearranged again over the vacation to make room for the end of the 6000s, which were rather too crowded. We hope this will facilitate the reclassification for some time, although these things are notoriously hard to predict.

Finally, a reminder that we are now back to our Term time opening hours, so will be open from 9 am to 7 pm on weekdays and 11 am to 5 pm on Saturdays.

Summer Announcements

We apologise for the late blog post; this has been largely due to waiting on confirmation about several matters which will affect the Library over the Long Vacation. Having finally had some information, please note the following:

Opening Hours

There will be changes to the Library’s opening hours in the vacation:

From Monday 3rd July to Saturday 30th September, the new hours will be Monday to Friday: 09:00-17:00 and closed on Saturdays.

A system of transfer of material from OIL to the Sackler Library from 16:00 on Fridays from 7 July will be trialled (and adjusted if the quantity proves to be unmanageable).  This will cater for non-lending material and for readers without borrowing privileges.  It is expected that material transferred in this way will be returned to OIL by 10:00 on the following Monday but staff may consider requests from readers to keep the material on reserve in Sackler for their convenience.

The library will be closed as usual on August Bank Holiday Monday (28th August) and the two days of St. Giles’ Fair (4th-5th September).


Building Works and Library Closure

During the summer vacation, the Oriental Institute Library will need to close temporarily to allow for work to install a new central heating system in the Oriental Institute building. The closure dates will be communicated as soon as the library receives a detailed schedule of work from the Faculty. Should the closure be prolonged, we will make arrangements for books to be fetched from the Oriental Institute for use in the Sackler, subject to it being safe for staff to enter the building.

The graduate student vacation loan limit has been raised to 20 books and we strongly advise people to borrow their books at the beginning of the vacation.

We would ask readers who are planning to work in the library over the summer vacation to watch for further communications and/or to get in touch with library staff to let us know as soon as possible when you are planning to work in the library and which Open Shelf books you are intending to use.

If you know of any colleagues from outside of Oxford who are planning to use the Oriental Institute Library over the summer, we would be grateful if you could share this advance warning with them.

We will post further updates to this as and when we get them, both on the website and on the Social Media platforms.

Book Moves

When other factors allow, Kate will be undertaking another move of books around the LC section over the summer. Having cut down her hours to two afternoons a week for unrelated operational reasons, she reckons that this will take slightly longer than previous moves, but will endeavour to get it done with the minimum of noise and disruption. As part of this, the last of the periodicals currently not shelved over by the photocopiers (the Z. Per. Section) will be moved across the library and the LC sequence will continue from under the windows by the reader computers to the central section from where Kate has been moving the PJs. We will ensure that the shelf labels are kept up to date so that readers can find everything.



Summer News, Autumn Announcements


The start of a new Term always seems to creep up on those of us who are here in the Library all year round; the sleepy quiet of the summer months being swept away by the influx of readers. September ends with a whimper and suddenly we are busy again!

This week marks Induction Week at the Oriental Institute Library; with graduate inductions having already mostly taken place and the Undergraduate Induction and Library tour taking place late Friday morning. We urge new users (and readers of this blog) to take advantage of these opportunities to meet the staff and to be shown round the library; we know you will have questions later, but for now it is just good to know we’ve told you roughly where the books you need are and how to access them!


Summer News

So… what’s new? Lots of things, actually!

The skylights in the library and the office were replaced over the summer, necessitating some disruption, mainly to the staff office, which had to be emptied for a number of weeks. The towers under the skylights in the library came into their own when one of the builders fell through the hole (amid much swearing) having tripped on the roof, so it was worth having them there, and the work itself was carried out from above, which lessened the dust and general unpleasantness for those of us beneath.


At the end of the summer term we rearranged the periodicals into a slightly tighter arrangement in order to make some space for other materials on the ground floor, while at the same time moving the KSL (Korean Studies Library) books into the space vacated by the Japanese books which moved out earlier in the year. The area where the KSL books were is now a temporary home to a number of Taylorian periodicals which have been moved here to make space for the Slavonic and Modern Greek material which moved into the Taylorian; the Indian Institute Government Publications still occupy most of the rolling shelves downstairs, while the other Indian Institute material is now up on the ground floor just opposite the photocopiers. (Phew!) Everything is labelled; if you can’t find anything please ask a member of staff – we have updated our map of the collections accordingly.

The Library of Congress material has been moved round again by Kate into the space she made since her last move, so books may be in a slightly different area than they were; the shelf labels are up to date and Kate is currently working her way through the DT section in the corner near the reader computers.

In the last year, a total of 2388 items, representing 1993 shelfmarks, were reclassified and reshelved into the proper sequence. Kate is hoping to get past 2000 shelfmarks in the next year, but isn’t promising anything!

We now have a sale trolley, to be found just inside the door in the Front Office, which contains duplicates of books the library already holds and other items. Unsold books will be sent to Betterworld Books for resale, but we thought we would give readers the opportunity first. Hardbacks cost £3, paperbacks £1.50 and multiparts are 50p each. Lydia is adding new things regularly, so do feel free to browse.

Finally, PCAS has now changed to a new system which automatically links to a user’s reader card. Readers with existing PCAS accounts will need to transfer the funds from that account to their new one using the portal created for the purpose. Please see the PCAS pages on the Bodleian’s website for details:

Autumn matters

As mentioned before, undergraduate inductions take place on Friday 7th October, so there may be more noise in the library during that period.

We would like to remind readers that food and drink (with the exception of water in bottles) are not permitted in the library – there is a common room downstairs for that purpose.

Finally, there may be a few more readers than usual for a while this Term as the Muller Library, which suffered a small fire on the upper floors of its host building on Walton Street in August, is still to re-open. Please check their webpages ( for more information, in the mean time staff are able to bring books round to the Oriental Institute for readers to use and Muller materials held at the BSF may be ordered here.

January and February headlines

Firstly, an apology…

Attempts to publish a blog post in February were hampered by a technical issue with a number of Bodleian blogs including ours. This was not resolved satisfactorily until last week, so we have decided to publish one post for the first two months of 2016.

There has not been a lot going on besides the usual library matters, but we do have a few bits of news:

New Skylights!

At some point before July (we don’t know when exactly yet) the skylights in the Library and the Library Office are going to be replaced with new ones. We will keep everyone informed as to when the work will take place when we know ourselves; for the moment please don’t be surprised by occasional visits from practical-looking people with tape measures. The skylights are in need of upgrading, especially the ones in the office which are rather draughty on windy days, so this should improve the general comfort of the whole area.


The Oriental Institute Library’s LibraryThing account has been on hiatus since Dawn left us, but recent acquisitions will begin to appear on the sidebar on this blog again soon. In the meantime do check our New Books Display (just inside the library), which is kept up to date with choice items of interest.

Meanwhile, readers with an interest in South Asian materials can check out the new Bodleian South Asia LibraryThing page, new additions to which can be seen on the South Asia Libguide page here: Please note that new items on this feed are being added as they are catalogued and will require a short time to be ingested into the BSF before they can be ordered.


Kate has been working her way steadily through the DS section since sometime last year, and is now reaching the end of the shelves around the corner from the reader PCs. She will be doing one of her periodic bookmoves when Term finishes as the Library of Congress DS section is getting very short of space and there is an urgent need to rearrange that side of the library to accommodate both the materials which are being reclassified (currently mostly about Central Asian history) and new books which are arriving and for which we cannot find space.

As ever, during this move period there will be afternoons when Kate would normally be at the desk during which it will be unstaffed, but do feel free to either find Kate (follow the sound of shelves being emptied) or come round to the office where there should be a member of staff who can help. We realise that there will still be a number of readers using the library that close to the end of Term and apologise in advance for any inconvenience, but hope that everyone will understand that this is an essential part of our work and unfortunately unavoidable at this time

Easter Matters

As usual, the Library will be closed over the Easter long-weekend. We will be closed on Thursday 24th, Friday 25th, Saturday 26th and Monday 28th March, reopening on Tuesday 29th. Note the extra day on Thursday – this is due to the Faculty offices closing that day. Other Bodleian Libraries will be open on that day.

Finally, we will be starting Vacation Loans next week (8th week) and books will be checked out until the Tuesday of 1st week – April 26th. Any books which you have already checked out for the usual two weeks should be renewed to take advantage of the longer loan period.

2015 retrospective


Happy New Year! Please indulge us while we present a reminder of the exciting year that was 2015…

2015 was a busy year at the Oriental Institute Library, with many changes taking place. Most of these have been behind the scenes so we hope that as far as our readers are concerned things have remained calm and peaceful, but for the staff it has been quite a year!

The move that wasn’t

It was early March when the staff of the Library were told of the proposal to close the Oriental Institute Library and move the collections into the Sackler Library. We were told before any other discussions had taken place, in order that we could field questions if anyone heard rumours. Consultations with staff and students were carried out over the next couple of months, with a great number of people expressing to library staff their disquiet at the idea of removing the Library from the Faculty building.

Various points were made about the practicalities of moving our collection into an already full library and the problems which might arise for both sets of staff – Oxford is an institution with a long memory, and it is not uncommon for people to come back years after they left and be confused by changes which took place in the interim, so it would not be a case of taking a few months to get used to different materials.

We were finally told in June that the proposal had been withdrawn, which was an immense relief to both the staff of the library and our loyal readers – not to mention the Sackler readers and staff who had been as dubious as we were about the idea. We hope to continue for a long while as we are, providing a service which is obviously valuable to the University as a whole.


In June we welcomed Vasiliki Giannopoulou to the Library, initially on Thursdays and Fridays, although her role has now expanded slightly to take on extra hours. Vasiliki had previously worked at the History Faculty Library, so her familiarity with the Library of Congress materials was a definite bonus in terms of shelving. She has now been with us for over six months and has settled into the team well.

The summer saw a couple of announcements; Dawn Vaux, who had been the Deputy Librarian at OIL since 2004 (check this) told us that her husband had been offered a job in Sydney, Australia, and that she would be leaving the Library at the start of September, while Dinah Manisty would be retiring at the end of September.

Dawn’s departure was, naturally, more of a surprise, but we all wished her well and she was given a good send-off at the beginning of September.


Meanwhile Dinah’s interim replacement as Subject Librarian for Middle Eastern and Islamic Collections is Lydia Wright, who worked for a month shadowing Dinah to get up to speed with the work before Dinah’s departure.


As both our senior staff had gone we underwent a bit of restructuring to compensate; Lidio has now taken on more responsibility and Jane Bruder from the Sackler has extended her role to include certain managerial duties at OIL. Both Natalija and Vasiliki have also taken on more hours to increase staffing levels. We hope that readers have not noticed any major change in service provision as a result of these adjustments.


At the end of the summer the staff of the Muller Library at the Hebrew and Jewish Studies centre moved some of the books in our collection over to Walton Street as they were deemed more appropriate to the collection there. Readers who find that books they were expecting to be here have moved are advised to check SOLO for new location information.

Kate has reclassified a total of 2342 books in the last calendar year. Over the 2014-15 academic year she reclassified 1688 shelfmarks, representing a 2223 items in total. During September she moved the books from the end of the LC sequence into the area vacated by the DS section and is currently working her way along the shelves near the computers. As ever, please check SOLO regularly if you are a frequent user of materials in the area which is currently being reclassified as things will move.

Looking Forward to 2016

Now that Term has begun again we look forward to welcoming our returning readers, hoping that everyone has had a relaxing break. At present the only major change of which we are aware is the move of some of our Japanese books to the Bodleian Japanese Library, but at present we have no timetable for that work and will keep the Facebook page and this blog updated when more information comes to light.


August Headlines


Although we are always very quiet in August in terms of our readers, those who have been around will no doubt have noticed that we have been very busy in other ways.

Staff staring stupefied at spreadsheets, piles of labels on desks, random running in and out with laptop bags… all may have contributed to an air of mystery, but the truth is simply that we – like almost everyone else in the Bodleian Libraries – have been caught up in the work to prepare for the move of Special Collections back into the Weston Library.

Our particular task has been to reclassify the collections which are going into the Charles Wendell David Reading Room, which will house the Oriental, Rhodes House, and Indian Institute collections. We have opted to use Library of Congress Classification, but have retained a prefix similar to those used at OIL to maintain the divisions between books as they currently are on the shelves, thus: [Arab.] will denote Arabic books, [Cat.] will indicate catalogues and so on.  It has been a long, complex and occasionally fraught task, but we have done our best and hope to get as much as possible re-labelled and re-organised before the SCRR closes on the 19th September.

We are proud to have been involved in this project, and also very pleased to have been able to maintain our own library services without a break during a period when at least one person at any given time has been in the Radcliffe Science Library under a pile of labels!

We would like to thank other contributors, in particular Joshua Seufert, who took time out from the opening of the new China Centre to print a mammoth lot of labels at the start of the project, and who gave Kate and Lidio a very interesting tour of the new Chinese Library when they visited to pick them up, and the staff in Systems who have been patiently sending us reports to enhance the original list of books so that we have been able to do a lot of preparatory work without being in the reading room.


September reminders


As usual the Library will close over the weekend of St Giles’ Fair – this coming weekend, 6-9 September. Other than that, we are open as normal and looking forward to gearing up for the start of Term!

As I mentioned before, the Special Collections Reading Room closes on the 19th September and the first of the new Weston Library reading rooms opens on the 22nd. Please see the Bodleian’s webpage for details of closures and collection moves over the next few months.


July News


As usual, once the vacation gets into full-swing, we have been busy in the library.

Firstly, in collaboration with Professor Sebastian Brock, we have now moved books on Syriac and Armenian subjects which were housed in the Library of Congress section into a new Eastern Christianity Library (ECL) collection in the basement, round the back of the staircase where the Minor Collections materials are still kept. The labels are slightly different – they now have a prefix [ECL] – but otherwise those books which could be borrowed before still will be. If you have problems finding anything do ask the library staff.

Secondly, as part of the ongoing reclassification into Library of Congress of the general collection on the ground floor, the Short Loan “Apply Staff” books which are held in the front office have now been reclassified. This will mean that items which were once in a particular place on a shelf will have moved, but please rest assured that we have not removed anything from the shelf (with the exception of a box containing three audio cassettes which nobody remembered being there in the first place). We think they look much better with their smart new labels! Please check SOLO for updated shelf marks for the Short Loan collection.


Over the next few weeks staff from OIL will be undertaking more reclassification work, this time for the Oriental materials which are going into the Weston Library. We will post more about this later in the summer.

Finally, on Tuesday 29th July we said a fond goodbye to Andrew Blades, who has been covering Friday afternoons and Saturdays at OIL since 2010, and who worked in various other parts of the Bodleian for a number of years before joining us. Andrew is leaving for an exciting teaching post at the University of Bristol, and we wish him all the best and thank him for his dedicated service.

Announcements for August

The Library will be open as normal over the next month, apart from the August Bank Holiday – we will be CLOSED on Saturday 23rd and Monday 25th. There will be further closures in September for St Giles’ Fair, but we will remind everyone of that nearer the time. Notices will be posted accordingly.

April News

April Headlines

April was a busy month for the Library! Various subtle changes have been afoot while most of our readers were off enjoying the Easter Vacation (and yes, we know a lot of you were revising for exams).

Book Moves

Most obvious are the adjustments which we have made to the shelving arrangements in the Library of Congress Section, where the large folio-sized books have been moved to the back walls of the two last bays at the far end of the section towards the windows. This move is designed to allow the rest of the LC section to gradually move towards that end of the library and round to occupy the space currently used for the old D sequence, which is gradually diminishing as Kate works on it. Some of the LC books are now on the shelves under the windows, in the space where the last of the BPs were, and the sequence will continue to move up as and when the space is available.

The folios will hopefully remain where they are for the foreseeable future, when the space they occupy is full we will have to have a rethink but for now there should be enough room for the remainder of the Fol. DS section which is still to be done. Space left by the folios will be used to make room in the more congested sections of the rest of the LC sequence, so please don’t worry about a few empty shelves! Nothing stays like that for long…


As those of you who use the Reader PCs will note, during the vacation they were upgraded to Windows 7. The basic functionality should remain the same but the appearance will be slightly changed.

Staff PCs have also now all been upgraded, too, so hopefully there will be no further disruptions, although we did have a bit if a wait for some extra applications to be installed. This work was necessitated by the fact that Windows XP, which all our computers had been running on up until now, is no longer supported by Microsoft, occasioning the IT department to have to upgrade the whole University of Oxford in a short time. Given how much they had to do, we are grateful that everything appears to have gone as smoothly as it did!

Other News

No other news right now (and I am rushing to get this out as it’s rather late), but just a reminder that we are open as usual on the next Bank Holiday (May 26th).

March Headlines and Announcements for April

From a Library point of view March has been quite a busy month, despite the end of Term and the subsequent emptying-out as many of our readers leave for the vacation.

The week of the 10th-14th was a SCONUL week, when we collect statistics of library attendance and the nature of our enquiries; if any of you were wondering why we were wandering the library counting you at particular times of day, that was why!

We had to contend with the visit from the men who were putting in new windows for two weeks at the end of the month, both in the Library itself and also in the back offices, along with a nice new fire door at the end of the building facing towards Blackfriars’. I hope that the plastic sheeting, banging around and persistent odour of glue were not too much of a distraction for too many people. Sadly they gave us minimal notice before the work began, we knew they were coming, but their schedule was somewhat of a mystery until they said “we’re coming next week”. We were just glad that they were so quick, and also that they managed to at least arrive now while it is vacation and not during exams, and we are sure that the additional easily-opened windows will help with the stuffiness which we sometimes suffer in the summer months. Sadly your humble blogger did not manage to get any action photos of the windows being done; we apologise for this oversight.

There is also an ongoing scheme to upgrade all the University computers still using the Windows XP operating system to Windows 7, which has seen several members of staff already upgraded. This is essential work as there will be no support from Microsoft for XP after the end of April. The programme of works will also affect the Library computers for readers, but we have yet to receive confirmation of the dates when this will happen. We will endeavour to give as much notice as possible of any times when the reader PCs will be out of action. Please keep checking the Facebook Page for further information.

Announcements for April:

The Easter closure of the Library will begin on Thursday 17th April and run through to Tuesday April 22nd, when the Library will open as usual at 0915. We will post signs nearer the time to remind people.

Vacation Loans are currently in operation, with all books borrowed due back on the 29th April (Tuesday of 1st Week).

Finally, the reclassification has once again necessitated a bookmove to make up the space once occupied by the BP section. This will be taking place over the next few weeks and will result in some noise, although we will try to keep this to a minimum. If items you are used to finding in a particular place have moved, do come and ask us where they are!