January News and reminders

Happy New Year!

We daresay that all our readers had a pleasant holiday and have now got back into the swing of Term. As we write this on a very snowy Friday afternoon it is pleasing to see that many of our regulars have not been put off by the weather! On a more serious note, however, we ask that readers, if they do come in covered in snow, brush themselves off properly (preferably not in the foyer or the library) before handling the books. Last week we had a few which got covered in droplets of water from readers’ coats and gloves, and we’d rather the books stay as dry as possible, for obvious reasons!

We will, of course endeavour to stay open during any further periods of winter weather, but please watch the Facebook page and other outlets for any updates.

Reader Survey

As you’ll have seen on the Facebook page, the Bodleian Libraries’ reader survey is being run again this year: www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/reader-survey. We urge everyone who uses the library to please respond; it is a valuable tool for us in gauging reader satisfaction and identifying areas which we need to work on or to improve. The survey runs until 17th February, so you still have a couple of weeks to fill it in!


Open Access Oxford Week

The next event in the Bodleian’s Open Access week preparations will be a talk on “Open Access and Plan S” by David Sweeney on 11th February: http://openaccess.ox.ac.uk/2019/01/23/open-access-and-plan-s-david-sweeney-talk-11-feb-2019/


The Week itself is from 4th-8th March: http://openaccess.ox.ac.uk/home-2/open-access-oxford-week-march-2019/ please see the website for details of related events throughout the week.


That’s all for this month! As ever, please see the Facebook page for updates on more immediate matters such as SOLO, deliveries etc.



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.

March News and April Announcements

Move of the Japanese Collections

During March, the Japanese Collections at the Oriental Institute Library have been moved to the Bodleian Japanese Library. This includes the Short Loan books, the books under the Library of Congress classification, and the majority of the collection, which was housed downstairs.

The decision was taken by the Committee for Library Provision in Oriental Studies – subcommittee on Japanese Studies to move the books from OIL so that all the Japanese material would be accessible in one place.

Meanwhile, readers who have borrowed Japanese books may return them to OIL and we can transfer them to the BJL, or may just take them straight to the BJL.

Reclassification and reorganising

Kate is currently undertaking one of her epic bookmoves, moving the books in the Library of Congress section into the space most recently vacated by those books reclassified since the last move in September of 2015. She is currently in the DS section on the back wall of the Library and hopes to take no more than another week (bearing in mind she works 3 afternoons with us and is elsewhere in the Bodleian the rest of the time) to finish up to the As.

Please bear with us while this work is taking place. Care is taken to make sure that not too much noise is generated by the occasional toppling book, but some disruption is inevitable so we try to use the vacations when there are fewer readers around to do this kind of moving.

SOLO downtime

A note from the Bodleian Libraries:

SOLO will have limited availability from 5pm on Friday 8th April until 9am on Monday 11 April.

This is due to essential maintenance on associated background systems. Users will still be able to search the catalogue but:

You will not be able to request items
The Find & Request tab will not be visible, so there will be no live item or availability information
It will not be possible for users to view or renew their loans
It will not be possible to place requests

The silver lining is that online access to electronic resources will be unaffected.

Just a short one…

A short post this month, but with fewer readers due to the vacation it has been rather quiet. We hope to update everyone on the skylight news next month!


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.


November Headlines and Reminders

November Headlines

The library has been gratifyingly busy during the past month, with various readers from departments other than the Oriental Institute borrowing books as their courses demand. We naturally expect things to quieten down slightly as the end of Term approaches.

Readers of our Facebook page will have seen that Kate found someone’s lunchbox (still with the remnants of their lunch in) on a desk at the back of the library recently. We would like to remind everyone that food of any kind is *not* allowed in the library, and nor is any kind of drink other than water permitted. This is not because we are trying to be awkward or make the library less welcoming; it is simply because crumbs and bits of discarded food attract pests such as insects and rodents, which can damage library collections. Sugary drinks spilled on books can cause them to become unusable, while water damage is fairly easy (if sometimes a bit expensive) to fix.

Please respect this rule of the library and confine your food consumption to the Common Room downstairs.

We received a number of queries after a blanket email about outstanding fines was sent out last week. This is a new initiative by the Circulation Task Force of the Bodleian Libraries which is intended to ensure that fines are paid promptly; however the emails seem to have gone to people who are no longer regular users as well as the current borrowers they were intended for and have caused some worry for some of our former readers (one of those who enquired had graduated in 2006!). We will be offering feedback to the CTF about this matter.

Announcements for December

Vacation Loans started on Monday, 30th November, so any books checked out from now on will be due back on the 19th January, which is Tuesday of 1st week. Please remember to renew any books taken out before the vacation loans period began to take advantage of this if you wish to take your books away over the holidays.

The library will close for the Christmas break on Tuesday 22nd December at 5pm and re-open on Monday 4th January at 9am. Please note that other Bodleian Libraries will be open on the 23rd; we are closing a day early because the rest of the faculty building is closing on the 22nd.

Watch this space: the 2015 retrospective post is being compiled and will be added to the blog shortly after we return from the Christmas break.

In the meantime we would like to wish all our readers a peaceful holiday and we’ll see you in the New Year!


July Headlines and Announcements for August

Not Much Library News…


As ever, your humble blogger is struggling to find anything to say about July. Various members of staff have taken holidays and the library has been its usual slumbering summer quiet with dedicated readers quietly getting on with their work and only the occasional enquiry to wake us up.

We have had our SunRay computers – the two nearest the windows – replaced by the new Kiosk PCs; readers have alerted us to the fact that there are blocks to some popular websites on these machines, so do let staff know if you come across anything you feel should be accessible. This is a new system so will take time to settle in, but we should be able to request that IT provide access to resources which our researchers require.


We have an exciting announcement for those of you who use the Book Storage Facility books: from August 1st, the clever people who run Circulation will be switching on a new tool which means that readers will receive an email to inform them that their request is going to lapse, meaning that readers will no longer need to remember when they ordered something and when they need to extend the consultation period.

The emails will be similar to the ones which readers who have borrowed books receive, but the wording will be slightly different. If you receive an email about a book which you do not wish to continue consulting you need do nothing, but if you wish to retain a book on the reserve you will need to renew it using your patron functions on SOLO. Do ask library staff if you have problems with this and we can renew items for another week.

We hope that this will mean that fewer books are sent back in error, which readers will know can cause problems at busy times for the BSF as it can take a while for items to be returned to library locations.

That’s everything, really

Except to remind everybody in advance that the Library will be closed over the August Bank Holiday weekend as usual – that’s the 29th-31st August this year.


June Headlines

First things first…

Most of our readers will hopefully have heard the good news by now, that the proposal to move the Oriental Institute Library’s collections into the Sackler Library has been withdrawn.

Library staff are delighted with the news and would like to extend an enormous

Thank you!!

to everyone who signed petitions, spoke up in various meetings and generally made lots of noise on our behalf. We realise that there were many reasons besides the ones we had for not taking the option to move us out of the Oriental Institute (not least the disruption it would have caused to the readers and staff of the Sackler), but the end result is just as important and just as welcome. We all look forward to remaining where we belong and to continuing to provide a friendly and efficient library service to all our users, be they from the faculty or from everywhere else in the world.

It really is an enormous relief, and it has been lovely to talk to many indignant regular readers who were unanimous in telling us how much they wanted us to stay put.

June Headlines

Well, there’s not much we can say to top that, is there? We have had a busy month in terms of the reader numbers, and hope that everyone’s exams went – or are still going – smoothly.

Automated Finalist notices went out last week, which resulted in a flurry of readers bringing in books and paying off fines. If you still have items to return, please do so before your card expires as you may find it harder to get into the building afterwards!

For other borrowers we are now in the Vacation Loans period; all books borrowed from the Library will be due for return on the 13th October (Tuesday of 1st week) unless your card expires before that, in which case they will be due the day before the date on your card.

Readers who are in on Thursdays and Friday evenings will have met our new colleague, Vasiliki Giannopoulou, who started working with us at the beginning of June. Vasiliki comes to us with experience of the Library of Congress Classification as she also works at the History Faculty Library. We would like to welcome her to OIL, and we look forward to her pointing out all the weirdly shelved books in the LC section!

On the subject of LC classification, Kate will be doing some moving over the next few days to accommodate the ridiculously crowded DR (Turkish History) section. These books (formerly in DS 162 and DS 165 in the old sequence) have taken over what was previously a relatively small area and the reorganising of shelves from PJ back to DS in order to make room is necessary as Kate was finding it was taking longer to make space for the reclassified books than it was to reclassify them in the first place.

A larger move, which will see all the LC books shifted round to the empty spaces left by the reclassification of the DS section, will take place towards the end of the summer.

Finally, advance warning that the SunRays (the computers by the windows which don’t require a log-in) are being retired on July 10th. The good news, however, is that they will be replaced by a similar system the following week. We’ll put something on here or on the Facebook page when that has happened.



February news and announcements for Easter


The eagle-eyed amongst our readers may have noticed that there was no news blog at the end of January. This was because we decided that it would seem excessive to blog twice in a week – having announced the results of the Stapler competition a few days earlier (and besides which that was the most exciting thing which happened in January!).

February has been busy for us in terms of readers; it is always gratifying to see the library being well used! With this in mind, however, we do have a few little reminders for people.

Firstly, please remember that you are allowed bottles of water in the library but other drinks are NOT allowed as they could potentially damage the books if spilled. We will remove drinks if found on desks, and they can be claimed when you leave.

Secondly, as the library is busy and the turnover of books is quite high at the moment, the library staff are endeavouring to maintain a more regular shelving routine, including clearing desks in the mornings and doing a whizz round in the afternoons so that there is not too much accumulation. We hope that this will help to solve the perennial problem of readers not finding books on the shelves because they are on desks. Readers are reminded that you are permitted to keep books on a desk to be used the following day as long as you fill in one of the paper slips provided around the library for that purpose (if the area where you are working has run out, please inform the staff and we will print more). Books left with out-of-date slips (i.e. not the previous day’s date) will be reshelved.

Thirdly, please do not leave books from the BSF on desks at the end of the day. These books belong to the Bodleian and should be returned to the staff desk so that they can be put back on the reserve in the office. We receive a daily lapse-list of BSF books which should be sent back, and endeavour to keep on top of this, so keeping all the books in one place greatly facilitates this. If you wish to keep BSF books for longer than the initial week, you can renew them on SOLO. The main reason a renewal would not be allowed would be if someone else had requested the same book, either to OIL or to another of the Bodleian reading rooms. Please note that if you do not remember to renew, and the book is returned to the BSF, there may be a delay of at least a few days before it is re-ingested at the BSF and can be returned to the library. Unfortunately this is something over which we have no control, so it is essential that readers make sure that their books are promptly renewed (or let us know so we can do it for them in an emergency).

And fourthly, a further plea; if you have used a book and are not absolutely sure where it came from on the shelves, please do not panic and shove it into the most convenient space in roughly the right section! We find mis-shelved books on a daily basis and it does make everyone’s lives harder if the item they want is somewhere other than where it should be. A book can effectively vanish if it is shelved out of sequence, and although we do regular moves which do pick up these situations it helps us immensely if people don’t put things in the wrong place to start with. If you are not absolutely sure where you got a book from, please leave it either on one of the reshelving points between the desks on the right-hand (window) side, or on the trollies near the staff desk.

And finally, advance warning that the library will close for Easter on Thursday 2nd April and re-open on Tuesday 7th. Vacation loans will start next week, with books due back on the 28th April.




New! Ebrary Academic Complete collection now available

Following a successful trial in Trinity Term 2013, Oxford readers now have access to over 84,000 extra e-books in the Ebrary Academic Complete collection. The books come from 500 prestigious academic publishers and range across all disciplines.

The books are all displayed and searchable on SOLO http://solo.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/  or in OxLIP+ as Ebrary Academic Complete (you will need your SSO – single sign on username and password).


The ebooks are mounted on the ProQuest platform with multiuser access and University members also can download ebooks for a period of 14-days onto mobile devices. The package will be updated regularly. Our subscription runs until August 2015.

Publishers include OUP and other UK academic presses, various US academic presses (e.g. Yale, Princeton, Harvard), Brill, Garnet, Sage, Routledge, I.B. Tauris and many more.

Brill Online Islam Workshop

Eagle-eyed readers will probably have noticed the posters around the Library for next week’s workshop, but just in case you haven’t…

Next Wednesday, 16th January, there is a workshop on The Brill Online Islam Package as a Research Tool at the Radcliffe Science Library from 1400-1600. The package includes many useful resources including the Encyclopaedia of the Quran online, the Index Islamicus and the Bibliography of Arabic Books online.

Places are limited, and attendees will be given a token which allows FREE access to Brill’s extensive online resources for 7 days, which is a real incentive.

Email Dinah Manisty (dinah.manisty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk) to book a place.

Brill notice