Accessing the SSL from Monday 6 September

Student sat studying at a desk in the SSL

photo (c) John Cairns

From Monday 6 September, the Bodleian Libraries will be stopping Space Finder and the requirement to book a time slot to use libraries and reading rooms for all readers. No time slots from that date will therefore be available on Space Finder. This change applies to the Social Science Library.

The Click and Collect borrowing service will also be stopping.

We will still:

  • Strongly encourage readers to wear face coverings in our library spaces
  • Request readers scan the NHS Test and Trace QR codes displayed in our entrance area
  • Encourage all library users to limit close contact and respect others
  • Maintain an increased level of cleaning in our library

Visit the Bodleian Libraries Service Updates webpage for all the latest information

Our Summer Vacation hours start on Sat 26 June

Our Summer Vacation hours will be starting on Sat 26 June. From then our hours will be:

Sat: 10am- 4pm


Mon – Fri: 9.30am – 7pm

If you wish to use the library, please book a study space via SpaceFinder. Note that we now accept bookings from Bodleian Reader card holders, as well as Oxford University staff and students.

Our booking time slots are as follows:

Sat – 10.00am – 12.30pm and 1pm – 4pm

Mon – Fri: 9.30am – 1.30pm and 2pm – 7pm


External Readers can now book a study space in the SSL

Desks with partitioned seating in the SSL

We are pleased to announce that external readers (holders of a Bodleian Reader card) can now book a study space to use the SSL.

Bookings must be made via Space Finder.

Our booking time slots are as follows:

Sunday – CLOSED

Mon – Fri: 9.30am – 1.30pm and 2pm – 7pm

Sat – 10.00am – 12.30pm and 1pm – 4pm

For further information see the Bodleian Libraries ‘Book a library time slot’ webpage.

What does it mean when you make an Open Plan Desk Booking at the SSL

When you book a study space via Space Finder, you have a number of options you can choose. One of them is for ‘Open Plan Desk Booking‘:

When you choose this option it basically means you can sit at any study space in the library that doesn’t have a PC at it or isn’t a Height Adjustable Desk (see photo below for an example of one of our Height Adjustable Desks):

A photo of a height adjustable desk.

The study spaces you can choose from are listed below:

The seating located around the corner, to the left of our issue desk.

A photo of our open plan seating area to the left of our issue desk. Desks are large tables.

The seating at the back of the library, opposite St Catherine’s College (except the Height Adjustable Desks located in this area).

A photo of the desks at the back of the library. All desk have partitions screens.

The partitioned seating in front of the Central Graduate Study Room.

A photos of the desks in front of the Central Graduate Study Rooms. There are individual spaces in a row and all are partitioned on all sides.

The seats in either of our Graduate Study Rooms (except the Height Adjustable Desks located in these rooms). At the moment these two rooms are open to anyone to use and not just Social Science Graduates.

Photo of desks in the EGSR. Large desks that have a partition down the centre, height adjustable seating.

Photo of desks in the Central Graduate Study Room. Large desks with no partitions.

If they are not booked by a group, you are welcome to use either of our Discussion Rooms.

Photo of our Small Discussion Room, showing students participating in a group study session.

photo (c) John Cairns

There are also some individual desks along the west side of the library, opposite the St Cross Building (though do note they don’t have power sockets).

Photos of individual desks, spaced out along a wall/windows adjacent to the St Cross Building.

You can also use our Study Carrels. Do note that occasionally some of these may be booked but this is clearly displayed on the door to each carrel.

Photo of our study carrels. Small individual study rooms.

Once you’ve chosen the area you want to sit, look out for the ticks in green boxes and red no-entry symbols.

Sit at a desk space with a tick in a green box.

Photo of a notice on a desk, which has a white tick in a green box and the words Please take a seat.

Avoid the red ‘Desk not in use’ spaces. This ensures everyone is adequately spaced apart.

Photo of a sign on a desk which has a red no entry symbol on it and the words Desk no in use.

Finally clean your study space before you start work and also before you leave.

Cleaning stations are located close to all seating areas. Help yourself to the materials located there (returning after use) and do let library staff know if supplies are running low.

Photo of a cleaning station. A table which has cleaning supplies on it for use in the library.


How to book a study space to work in our Library: Update

Student say studying (wearing a face mask) at a desk in the Social Science LibraryIn order to study in the library you will need to book a time slot in advance using Space Finder.

Bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance and will close 30 minutes before the timeslot starts. New slots are released between 8 – 9am each morning. Cancellations will be released back into the system, meaning that slots may become available on the day you need them.

At the SSL the following time slots can be booked:

After making your booking, we will send you a confirmation email.

Cancelling your booking

If you are no longer able to attend the library, please cancel by clicking the ‘cancel your booking’ link in your confirmation email to automatically cancel your slot and make it available to others.

We are currently experiencing a high demand for study spaces, therefore please:

  • book with other readers in mind;
  • check the evening before your desired slot for cancellations;
  • and cancel your booking if you no longer need it.

Suspension policy for non-attendance

Due to continuing problems with readers not arriving to take their slots in the Bodleian Libraries reading rooms, and the effect this has on other readers who have been unable to book a desk, a suspension policy for repeated non-attendance has now been introduced. Further information can be found on the ‘Book a Library Time Slot’ webpage.

We have tried to make it as easy as possible to cancel your booking by including links in the confirmation and reminder emails, and bookings can be cancelled up to 8am on the day of your booking.


Change in SSL Opening Hours from Tuesday 6 April

3 brightly coloured alarm clocks sat on a wooden serviceFollowing our Easter Vacation closure period (Friday 2 April to Monday 5 April inclusive), our opening hours will be extended from Monday to Friday. The new opening times are as follows:

Opening Hours (Easter Vacation and Trinity Term) from Tuesday 6 April

  • Monday – Friday  9.30am – 7pm
  • Saturday – 10am – 6pm
  • Sunday – 11am – 7pm

Entry to the library is strictly by advanced booking only via the SpaceFinder web tool. All days will be divided into morning and afternoon study sessions.


New Extended SSL Opening Hours (Monday 15 March to Thursday 1 April)

An alarm clock sat in a field of daisies.We are pleased to announce that we will be extending our opening hours from Monday 15 March onwards.

Our new opening hours will run until the library closure over Easter (Friday 2 April to Monday 5 April inclusive), at which point we will update you of any futher changes.

Opening Hours Monday 15 March – Thursday 1 April

  • Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm
  • Saturday – 10am – 6pm (from Saturday 20 March)
  • Sunday – 11am – 7pm (from Sunday 21 March)

Entry to the library is strictly by advanced booking only via the SpaceFinder web tool. All days will be divided into morning and afternoon study sessions.

The SSL is currently open to readers via advanced booking only

Image of a pink alarm clock on a table.

Following the Government’s announcement of Tier 4 restrictions for Oxford, a limited number of Bodleian libraries have re-opened today (including the SSL).

The SSL’s current opening hours are:

  • Sunday : Closed
  • Monday-Friday : 9.30am – 7pm
  • Saturday : 10am-6pm

Note that entry is strictly by advanced booking only, which can be done via the Space Finder web tool.

For the latest information on which libraries are open and the remote services we provide, please consult the Bodleian Libraries Hilary Term Updates webpage.


Discover Space Finder: View all study space availability across the Bodleian Libraries with one search

If you can’t find a study space on the day you want in the SSL and are happy to study in an alternative library, you’ll be interested to hear about the Bodleian Libraries new Space Finder tool.

Find upcoming study space availability in all Bodleian Libraries by following the simple steps below on Space Finder:

Please Note: Demand for desks in the Bodleian Libraries is very high and therefore you may need to check regularly for available slots. Slots are released each day due to cancellations and same day bookings can be made up to 8am each morning. Additional slots are released, 7 days in advance, between 7.30am – 9.30am each morning.