Booking a Discussion Room at the SSL

Do you need somewhere for your study group to meet? Do you have an online meeting with your tutor and need somewhere to talk without disturbing others? Then you might want to book a discussion room at the SSL! We have 2 discussion rooms – one large and one small – available to be booked by members of the Social Sciences Division (and students of Economic and Social History) for academic, University of Oxford-related purposes. They are the only places you can undertake a phone call or group study session in the SSL and so are very popular – booking is usually necessary! The small discussion room can be used for groups of up to 4 people, and the large can have groups of up to 10.

How to book a discussion room

To book one of the rooms, you first need to check the booking calendars for the date and time you require. You can do this by scanning the QR code outside the discussion rooms, or visiting the calendars on our website. We have a different calendar for each of our bookable rooms.

Image of the SSL booking calendar as it appears on our website

You can book up to 2 hours before the session, or as far in advance as you would like. Once you’ve checked the room you want to book is available, you can fill out our new online form, also found on our website. It asks for some personal information such as your email address in case we need to contact you regarding your booking, and what department you are from so we can verify you are a member of the Social Sciences department. You then fill in the date and time you require, and there is a link to check the calendars in case you have forgotten or want to double check your slot.

Image of the SSL room booking form. Text says: I have checked the room is free at the requested day and time; What date would you like to book the room for? When would you like the session to start? When would you like the session to finish? What would you like to name the session?If you’re unable to fill out the online form to book the room, you can also email the SSL (, telephone us on 01865 271093, or speak to a member or Library Staff at the issue desk. Please not, your booking is not confirmed until you recieve a confirmation email from the library.

Using the Room

Both rooms have a boardroom layout with a whiteboard and LCD projector, and there are markers and a remote available to borrow from the issue desk. Additionally, they both have power sockets and ethernet points. The large discussion room has a television and video/DVD player in addition to this.

When using the room, the same library rules apply as in our other study spaces.

  • No drinks other than bottled water unless they’re in a Keep Cup
  • If you want to eat something, either visit the cafe upstairs or enjoy a break on one of the picnic benches outside
A photograph of our small discussion room. 3 library users sit around the table with a laptop and books and another library user stands by the whiteboard talking to them.

photo (c) John Cairns

If the room is not in use and there are no bookings on the calendar, then you are free to use the room until the next booking. We ask you to be considerate when using our discussion rooms as staff are not able to clear each group out before the next session, so leaving promptly when your booking is complete or before the next group is due to arrive is much appreciated.

If there are any problems with the discussion rooms, such as faulty equipment or a booking query, staff are more than happy to help! If you have any questions, drop us an email at or come and talk to us at the issue desk.

Not sure where to study in the SSL? Find out more about our study spaces

Not sure where to study in the SSL? We have a variety of study spaces/seating for you to choose from. We also have different volume levels assigned to our study spaces, so you can easily find a silent space or somewhere you can talk. Read on below to discover the different options and then all you have to do is decide what suits you best.

Prefer to study with your friends? Does being surrounded by other people studying help you get down to work?

Our open plan seating might be your best choice. We have 2 options available:

A large open plan seating area on the south side of the library. Floor to ceiling windows ensure lots of natural light. The desks are roomy which means you can spread out your study materials. Desks are equipped with devices to lock your laptops to, ethernet and power sockets (either above or below the desks). This area of the library is designated a Silent Zone (silent study, no conversations)

Our second area of open plan seating is located on the east side of the library. These desks are partitioned, to allow for a degree of privacy. Again there is plenty of natural light from the windows adjacent to the seating. Desks are equipped with power and ethernet sockets. This area of the library is also designated a Silent Zone (silent study, no conversations)

Is being surrounded by others distracting for you? Do you prefer a space where you can be completely on your own or with only a few people nearby?

Our study carrels, individual partitioned seating or individual study desks will be your best choice:

We have 10 study carrels. Two are double carrels and the rest are single. All are sound proofed, have power sockets and Wi-Fi. All have over head lighting and are equipped with desk lamps. The carrels designated for general use operate on a first-come, first served basis. See our guide to study carrel etiquette.

If the study carrels are all in use, there are individual desks situated on the west perimeter of the Library, overlooking the car-park, which are also helpfully removed from distractions and noise (turn right at the end of the Issue Desk and then go left past the Discussion Rooms to reach this area). Note that these desks do not have power sockets. This area of the library is designated a Silent Zone (silent study, no conversations)

photo (c) John Cairns

The alternative is the study area at the back (north) of the library (running along from in front of the Central Graduate Study Room towards the East Graduate Study Room) this is a partitioned seating area for quiet individual study. Half of these seats have been designated a laptop free zone. We request that readers do not use a laptop or a device with an external keyboard at these seats. Tablets and other devices with silent keyboards may still be used. The seats in this area are clearly labelled. All desks in this area have power and ethernet sockets. This area of the library is designated a Silent Zone (silent study, no conversations)

Looking for a space to have a discussion, give a presentation or engage in group work? Our Discussion Rooms will suit your needs.

photo (c) John Cairns

The small room comfortably seats 8 and the larger room seats 16.  Both rooms are equipped with whiteboards and projectors. Marker pens, board rubbers and remote controls for the projectors can be borrowed from the issue desk. Ethernet and power sockets are also available. Both rooms are equipped with dimmer switches, so you can choose the light level you require. These rooms can be booked in advance by members of the departments in the Social Sciences Division for academic-related purposes. If they are not booked, please feel free to go in and use them. These 2 rooms have been designated a Discussion Zone: Discussions, presentations, group work and conversations are permitted

Are you a Social Science Graduate student and want a dedicated area to study? Do you want plenty of desk space to spread out? Our 2 Graduate Study Rooms will be a good choice for you.

The Central Graduate Study Room is equipped with white boards and all desks have power and ethernet sockets. A Manor Road IT printer is also located in it. The room contains two electronic and one manual height-adjustable desk. Windows along the back wall provide natural light. This room has been designated a Quiet Zone where brief, low volume conversations are permitted.

The East Graduate Study Room contains desks with partitioned seating and power and ethernet socks. The room contains a standing desk and an electronic height-adjustable desk. Widows on 2 sides provide natural light. This room has been designated a silent zone (silent study, no conversations).

An alternative space is the Q-Step Centre Teaching Lab. The room is used for teaching Quantitative Methods from 1pm – 6.15pm every weekday of the teaching term (Weeks 1 – 8). Outside of these hours the room is accessible to all Social Sciences graduate students. Undergraduate students who attend Q-Step sessions and who wish to practice on these PCs may be registered to use the room on request: ask a member of Library staff.

Forgotten your laptop or would prefer to work on a proper computer with desk space? Our computer area or Information Skills Training Room will be a good choice.

Our main computer area is equipped with 23 PCs, this includes a dedicated Data Area with PCs containing specialist software.

The Information Skills Training Room offers 20 PCs, LCD projector and screen. It is occasionally booked for training sessions but if it is free, you are welcome to use it. This area is normally less busy than our main computer area. All the monitors and keyboard are housed within the desk, so lift the covers of the desks to access them. This room is equipped with a dimmer switch, so you can choose the light level you require.

Prefer to be more relaxed and sit in individual comfortable seating? Our comfortable seating area will suit your needs.

There are 8 blue comfortable chairs on the south side of the library next to the open plan study area. There is plenty of natural daylight and a power socket available under the coffee table in this area.This area of the library is designated a Silent Zone (silent study, no conversations)

We also have a range of ergonomic furniture for you to use:

The Library has 7 height-adjustable desks (5 electronic, 2 manual) and 6 fixed height standing desks in the following locations:


Electronic Height-Adjustable Desks

  • 1 at the end of the Reader PCs Area (also equipped with a PC)
  • 2 in the study area on the east side of the Library
  • 1 in the Central Graduate Study Room
  • 1 in the East Graduate Study Room


Fixed-Height Standing Desks

  • 3 in the study area on the east side of the Library
  • 1 at the end of the partitioned searing area outside the East Graduate Study Room
  • 1 in the quiet study area on the west side of the Library, outside the Q-Step teaching lab
  • 1 in the East Graduate Study Room

Manual Height-Adjustable Desks

  • 2 in the Central Graduate Study Room

Ergonomic Chairs

The Library also has 10 RH Logic ergonomic chairs in the following locations:

  • 2 in the study area on the south/southwest side of the Library
  • 2 in the Laptop-free zone / partitioned seating area
  • 5 in the study area on the east side of the Library
  • 1 in the Reader PC area (with the height-adjustable desk)

Standard adjustable chairs are available in the Graduate Study Rooms and at desks equipped with PCs. Library staff will fetch or move these on request.

Look out for signage indicating the volume level for a zone:


Silent Zone: Silent study, no conversations

Main seating areas & East Graduate Study Room



Quiet Zone: Brief, low volume conversations permitted.

Central Graduate Study Room



Discussion Zone: Discussions, presentations, group work and conversations are permitted

Large Discussion Room and Small Discussion Room




Large Discussion Room and East Graduate Study Room not available for use Mon 19th to Tues 20th March


Our Large Discussion Room and East Graduate Study Room are being repainted on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th March.

These two rooms will be out of use while the work is completed and while the paint dries.

Our Small Discussion Room and Central Graduate Study Room will be available for use as normal. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.


New projectors in our group Discussion Rooms

Projector 2

We are pleased to announce that our two group Discussion Rooms have recently been fitted with fixed projectors and screens.

The remote controls for the projectors are available to be borrowed from the Library Issue Desk.

Our Large and Small Discussion Rooms are available to be booked by academics and students who are members of the Social Science Division (and students of Economic and Social History) for University of Oxford-related purposes.

We also have a Library IT Room that may be booked if the equipment in it is needed (this also contains a projector, along with 20 PCs and a trainer’s PC)

  • Room bookings must be made at least two hours in advance.
  • There is no limit on how early a room booking may be made, but please do not make a booking unless you are certain you require it.

To book a room please first check availability by consulting our ‘Book a Discussion Room’ webpage. Once done either email or telephone 01865 2-71093 with the following details:

  • The date you want to book the room
  • The time (include a start and finish time)
  • Your name, telephone number, and email address
  • Name of the session

When any of these rooms are not in use for a booking, they can be used by any reader using the library.