Equipment to borrow at the RSL

Forgotten something? If you’ve left your charger or headphones at home, the RSL has you covered!

Photograph of a person holding a laptop and mobile phone

Credit: Maxim Ilyahov, Unsplash

We offer a surprisingly large range of equipment to use in the library: from HDMI cables and plug adapters to book snakes and book rests. You can also grab back supports and footrests too.

Head to the Library Desk to borrow items.

We stock a range of computer equipment and peripherals:

  • Adapters for screens
  • Laptop lock
  • Adjustable laptop stand
  • Mouse
  • laptop power station
  • USB memory stick

    Photoraph showing laptop stand, power bank, headphones, and book rest displayed on a shelf.

    You can borrow headphones, laptop and book stands, powerbanks and more from the Library Desk


All sorts of cables and adapters:

  • Plug adapter (European, American, Japanese)
  • C-type charging cable
  • USB Type-C to HDMI adapter – For hooking macs up to study room screens
  • Micro USB cable
  • iPhone charging cable
  • HDMI cable laptop to screen

These items can be borrowed from the Library Desk.

Close up photograph of an HDMi cable

Credit: Srattha Nualsate

As well as:

  • SONY headphones
  • Magnifying glass
  • Foam book rests
  • Book snakes
  • Bookstands
  • Brightsign remote control (for use with study room screens)

Back supports and foot rests can be found in baskets in front ot the Library Desk.

Two photographs of footrests and back supports in baskets

Footrests and back supports can be found in front of the Library Desk

We hope you find this equipment useful!

Let us know if you think we’re missing anything or if you’ve any feedback:

Laptop Tables

Have your say!

We know you want more seats in the RSL, and we are working on it, but with some of those seats you’ll need tables. We have two different laptop tables that we are testing and we’d appreciate your feedback.

Both tables are height adjustable but have slightly different styles.

Table 1 has a round shape and a solid base.

Two images, one showing a person sitting at a laptop table, the other showing a person standing at a laptop table.

Table 2 has a square design.

two images, one showing a person sitting at a laptop table, the other showing a person standing at a laptop table.

 Give us your feedback by adding a vote for the table you like, use the whiteboard near the tables. You can also leave a comment.

Photograph of a whiteboard with the text that reads, New laptop tables? Help us choose. Add your vote or grab a post-it and leave your comments. Below that are spaces with headings Table 1, Table 2 and Comments.

Cast your vote!

If you have any further comments or suggestions you’d like to make about laptop tables you can reply here or email

Other Bodleian Libraries

Spaces, spaces, where are the spaces?

Since the RSL reopened in October 2023 we have had record numbers of students through our doors. We’re very pleased to have so many people using the library but we’re aware that this busyness has a downside. We’d love to fit everyone into the RSL but we only have so many seats (226 for now). We’re looking into possibilities to get more seating in the library but in the short term we have some suggestions.

Book a group study room

If you are working with friends or colleagues consider booking one of our group study rooms. The group study rooms can be booked up to 10 weeks in advance.

Photograph of Group Study Room 1 showing a desk surrounded by 6 chairs with a screen on the wall.

If you are working alone, you can book one of our individual study carrels by emailing

Avoid peak times

The library tends to get quite busy between 11 and 3pm. You could try coming earlier in the morning, we open at 9am. During term we are open until 10pm so consider an evening session of study.

Photograph of several students in the RSL reading room.

Photograph by John Cairns.

Try one of the other Bodleian Libraries

As wonderful as the RSL is we just can’t fit everyone, but there are 25 other wonderful Bodleian Libraries that you can try. As a member of the University, you have access to all the Bodleian Libraries. A full list is available on the Bodleian Libraries website along with a list of all the different group study rooms available. The list includes information on room size and how to book so check it out.

We have also highlighted some of the Bodleian Libraries sites that are near the RSL so you don’t have to walk too far.

Bodleian Law Library

The Law Library isn’t just for lawyers. Located a few minutes from the RSL in the St Cross Building, the library has four spacious floors of study spaces including individual study carrels and group study rooms which can be booked online. The main entrance to the Law Library is at second floor level via a set of 36 steps, but there is an alternative entrance at the front of the building for those who can’t use stairs. More information on how to access the building is available on the their website. During term the Missing Bean café is open in the St Cross Building.

Photograph of students and desks in the Law Library taken from above. By John Cairns.

photo (c) John Cairns

Social Science Library

Located next door to the Law Library, in the Manor road building, the Social Science Library (SSL) hosts a range of well-lit seating areas. The library is located all on one floor so it is accessible to most people. The SSL also has two bookable group study rooms and ten soundproofed study carrels. The carrels work on a first come, first served basis. There is a café in the Manor Road building also has a café and comfortable seating are on the first floor. During term, the SSL is also open until 10pm.

Photograph of a workspace in the Social Science Library with white desks and bright pink chairs.

photo (c) John Cairns

Taylor Institution Library

For those who prefer a more classical library, the Taylor, established in 1845 is an excellent choice. Enter on St Giles through the majestic columns, to gain access to five floors of library space. The main entrance has ramp access but due to the age of the building some parts of the library are not accessible. More details are available on the website.

Photograph of a student at a desk in the Taylorian Institute reading room.

photo (c) John Cairns

Exterior photograph of the Taylor Institute, Ashmolean Museum.

Image By Philip Halling, CC BY-SA 2.0

Vere Harmsworth Library

Our home away from home. We shared a space with the Vere Harmsworth Library, located in the Rothermere American Institute, for over 3 years. Now that the RSL has moved out there is even more space available. They also have group study rooms that can be booked online and seating areas across multiple floors.

Students sitting at desks in the Vere Harmsworth Library. e Vere

Weston Library

It’s the big building at the end of Broad Street, you can’t miss it. Along with the three main reading rooms there are further sofas and comfortable seating outside the reading rooms. Every floor is accessible by lift or stairs so everyone can use the space. Excellent for those who enjoy silent study. If you need a break from studying you can pop down to the café or check out the excellent exhibitions in Blackwell Hall.

External photograph of the Weston Library by James Brittain.

Image credit: James Brittain.

Photograph of the Weston Library Manuscripts Reading Room by John Cairns.

photo (c) John Cairns

These are just a few of the many sites available across the Bodleian Libraries. Try exploring them all and see which is your favourite.

RSL Portraiture – Nikolaas Tinbergen and Oliver Sacks

Nikolaas Tinbergen – ethologist, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1907-1988)

We celebrate Nikolaas Tinbergen for his illustrious contributions in the field of ethology alongside his lifelong battle with depression.

About Nikolaas Tinbergen:

 Further resources:

 Oliver Sacks –neurologist and author (1933-2015) 

Oliver Sacks is one of the few scientists whose work became well-known through his published accounts of neurological case stories, particularly the adaptation of his book ‘Awakenings’ into a film starring famous American actors. He was also a man who lived at a time when he had to hide his homosexuality for fear of imprisonment or chemical castration. We are grateful to his foundation for allowing us to include this eminent Oxford alumnus in our portraiture.

About Oliver Sacks:

 Further resources:

Find the full list of the pioneering members of the scientific community featured in our portraiture on our previous blog post.

RSL Portraiture – Edith Bulbring

Edith Bülbring – pharmacologist and smooth-muscle physiologist (1903-1990)

About Edith Bülbring:

 Further resources:

Find the full list of the pioneering members of the scientific community featured in our portraiture on our previous blog post.

RSL Portraiture – John Radcliffe

John Radcliffe

About John Radcliffe:

Further resources:

  • Cranston, D. (2013). John Radcliffe and his legacy to Oxford. Words by Design.  Available in SOLO
  • Pettis, William. (1715). Some memoirs of the life of John Radcliffe [by W. Pettis.]. (2nd ed.).  Available in SOLO.
  • Nias, J. B. (1918). Dr. John Radcliffe: a sketch of his life with an account of his fellows and Foundations. Clarendon Press. Available in SOLO

Find the full list of the pioneering members of the scientific community featured in our portraiture on our previous blog post.

RSL Portraiture – Acland Map of Oxford

Acland Map of Oxford 1854

Sir Henry Acland was a physician, educator, and Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford. One of his main interests was sanitary and public health matters. In 1854, he published his Memoir on the cholera at Oxford, in the year 1854: with considerations suggested by the epidemic. The map indicates areas of three outbreaks in 1832, 1849, and 1854 in Oxford. Very little is known about the identity of the illustrator apart from the notation that his ‘Memoir was drawn by a Lady,’ reflecting the lack of full recognition of female contributions in science in the 19th century.

More about Henry Acland and the map:

  • Fox, R.  (2014, September 25). Acland, Sir Henry Wentworth, first baronet (1815–1900), physician. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Acland, H. W. (Henry W. (1856). Memoir on the cholera at Oxford, in the year 1854: with considerations suggested by the epidemic. J. Churchill. Available in SOLO
  • Acland, H. W. (Henry W. (1855). Map of Oxford, to illustrate Dr. Acland’s Memoir on cholera in Oxford in 1854, : showing the localities in which cholera & choleraic diarrhœa occurred in 1854, and cholera in 1832 & 1849; together with the parts of the town described as unhealthy, by Omerod, Greenhill & Allen, and a writer in the Oxford Herald; the parts remedied since the date of their descriptions; the districts still undrained; the parts of the river still contaminated by sewers, in 1855; and the contour levels.. [Map]. J. Churchill.

Find the full list of the pioneering members of the scientific community featured in our portraiture on our previous blog post.

RSL Portraiture – Alan Turing

Alan Turing – mathematician, computer scientist (1912-1954)

Alan Turing is remembered for breaking the German naval Enigma Code during World War II, which helped end the war earlier. He is also considered to be the forefather of modern computer science. He faced profound discrimination due to his homosexuality and his life ended tragically.  Alan Turing represents an important LGBT historical figure in science whom we honour in our portraiture.  The University of Oxford is one of the five founding universities of the Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for data science, located at the Oxford Internet Institute in St Giles, Oxford.

About Alan Turing:

Further resources:

Find the full list of the pioneering members of the scientific community featured in our portraiture on our previous blog post.

RSL Portraiture – Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani – mathematician (1977-2017)

Maryam Mirzahkani is an inspiring Iranian mathematician who was the first woman to be awarded a Fields Medal.  The society for women and non-binary students studying mathematics at the university of Oxford bears her name.  Maryam visited Oxford in 2015 to meet the society and collect the Clay Mathematics Institute Research Award.

About Maryam Mirzakhani:

Further Resources:

Find the full list of the pioneering members of the scientific community featured in our portraiture on our previous blog post.

Booking Rooms at the RSL

At the Radcliffe Science Library, we have five group study rooms and a seminar room available for any reader to book for academic purposes.

We recently launched a new room booking tool to book any of our group study rooms. We are using this tool as part of a pilot along with our colleagues in the Social Science Library and the Vere Harmsworth Library. The aim is to make booking rooms as quick and easy as possible.

To book any of our group study rooms using the new room booking tool, use the search options on the page to check availability and place a booking for your chosen times. Use the Search by Space tab to select a room and browse for available times.

When booking a room please use your Oxford email (email ending If you don’t have have an Oxford email address, please email with details of your requested booking, including the date, start time, finish time and the number of attendees.

Screenshot of Room Booking Tool with the 'search by space' option selected.

Other spaces in Bodleian Libraries

Even though we think the RSL is great there are many other great libraries in Oxford. The Bodleian Libraries website has a page on all the group study rooms available across Bodleian Libraries. It includes seating capacity and information on how to book. Hopefully, that will make finding a space to work with your group easier.