World Book Day 2024

We’re celebrating World Book Day at the Social Science Library by highlighting the value of reading for pleasure.

As well as being a way of travelling through time, space, and perspectives, reading for pleasure has been proved to be a highly important factor in future academic success and mental health

We’ve curated a selection of past Booker, and International Booker, prize winners to provide a taste of some to the titles that are held by the Bodleian.

These are just some of the books on display around the corner from the issue desk.

If you’re inspired to read more you can find loanable fiction at your college library, and of course it is free to join the Oxfordshire County Library Service.









Winter Wellbeing book display

Brighten up your day with a book from our Winter Wellbeing book display.

Looking to take more self-care cues from the seasonal shifts?

We’ve selected some titles to help with embracing winter as a season for rest and recovery. Now is an excellent time of year to learn more about the Danish concept of hygge, or read up on the benefits of connecting with nature.

These books are perfect for reading with a hot drink – which you’re welcome to bring into the library provided they are in reusable cups with a lid.

You can find the display just around the corner from the issue desk.

Find more information on wellbeing at the Bodleian Libraries on the Wellbeing in the libraries webpage.


Think we’re missing a title? Email us at

Beating the 5th Week Blues – Wellbeing at the SSL

5th Week at Oxford is sadly known as the week in which many students struggle with burnout, low mood and homesickness. At the halfway point in the term, it’s easy to neglect wellbeing in favour of putting university assignments first. However, here at the SSL, we have collated some ways you can prioritise your welfare whilst at the library or as a student in Oxford more generally.

Take regular study breaks

Whilst studying, it’s important to take regular breaks to care for your mental health and prevent burnout. Taking a rest also stops you from having too much screentime and ensures you’re more productive too. We have a comfy seating area at the back of the Reader PC section where you can take a break away from your desk and unwind in the middle of a study session. There are also power sockets if you need to charge up your phone.

A photo of a woman in a yellow jumper reading a book on the blue comfy seats in the SSL

Study in a group in one of our discussion rooms

Studying in a group can be helpful to combat isolation, stress and pressure in academic environments. A 2017 study even discovered that a study group could be beneficial for mental health at university. Additionally, studying with others can help to avoid procrastination and break up the monotony of spending hours revising alone. You can book one of our discussion rooms for a study group via our online form here.

A photo of library users using the discussion room

photo (c) John Cairns

Enjoy the fresh air outside on the picnic benches

Time outside in the fresh air is proven to increase creativity, aid concentration, and boost your mood. Getting outside and away from the library environment can help to clear the head and get a fresh perspective. The Manor Road Building now has picnic benches situated outside under cover, so you can take a break in the fresh air in all weathers. You can also visit the University Parks if you’re looking to take a slightly longer break, as they are only a 5 minute walk away from us here at the SSL.

A photo of the picnic benches out the front of the Manor Road Building


Stay hydrated – visit the cafe upstairs for drinks, snacks and hot meals

Drinking plenty of water while studying helps to avoid headaches and maintain good health. You can bring bottled water into the SSL, and any other drinks must be contained in a Keep Cup. We have a water fountain available outside in the main foyer of the Manor Road Building where you can refill your bottle also. Eating regularly is important too, so why not visit the Manor Road Cafe upstairs where you can buy snacks, drinks and hot meals? It’s open from 8am-3pm, and outside of those times coffee, cold drinks and a selection of snacks are available to buy from the vending machines opposite too.

An image of the Manor Road Cafe. There is a slogan, "First things first, coffee", printed onto the left wall and seating on the right.

Make plans to do something you enjoy after studying

Having plans to look forward to after a long session at the library can help you to relax and switch off after an intense day of studying. It’s also motivating throughout the day to have a goal to work towards! Making plans with a friend or buying tickets to a new film in advance can help to ensure that you’ll definitely take that much needed rest away from studying.

A photo of a reel of tickets

Access the University Counselling Service

The University Counselling Service is there to support all students at the university, working with 11-12% of the student population each year. With individual counselling sessions, group sessions and workshops, there are a variety of ways to access the service however would be most beneficial to you. Talking to a professional about your mental health, worries or problems can be important for wellbeing at university, and with appointments available both online and in-person, the service is more accessible than ever this year.

A photo of two people talking whilst sat in comfy seats

Peer Support Programme

The Peer Support Programme at Oxford is a first-step/early intervention structure that deals with mild mental health needs. Trained students act as Peer Supporters, facilitating conversations about mental health and sharing their own experiences, as well as allowing for mutual support through challenges. This offers social support whilst fighting the stigma and encouraging empathy around mental health issues. Additionally, there are also Peers of Colour and Rainbow Peers who identify as people of colour or LGBTQ+ respectively. They have undergone further training and you can reach out to them if it would be helpful to talk about issues relating to race/racism and sexuality/gender.

A photo of 3 students chatting together whilst sat on the grass amongst trees

Free access for Oxford University Students to Togetherall

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact this has had on our mental health and the student experience at Oxford, the university has expanded its welfare services to include Togetherall, a free service for all Oxford students giving you access to a global welfare community 24/7. It is a safe online community where people support each other anonymously to improve mental health and wellbeing. Millions of people in the UK have access via their participating employer, university, college, NHS provider or local council.

An image of the togetherall logo - black rounded text with a yellow and green set of speech marksServices external to the university

There are various local and national organisations that can provide support to you whilst you’re at Oxford too.

Nightline – a completely independent listening, support and information service run for and by students of Oxford and Oxford Brookes universities. The line runs from 8pm-8am Monday to Sunday, 0th week to 9th week during Oxford University term time. (01865270270)

Students Against Depression – self-help resources and signposting specifically for student mental health issues.

Oxford SU Student Advice Service – an independent advice and information service for Oxford University students. The service offers a space for you to talk in confidence and information on a range of issues you might encounter during your time at Oxford.

Samaritans – a crisis line run 24/7 for anyone who’s struggling to cope or who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. Call 116 123 anytime to talk through anything from study-related stress, bereavement to mental health problems, or anything else you may need a neutral ear for.An image of someone sat in front of a laptop. They are holding their phone and have pink painted nails.

Take a Break: Where to get refreshments when studying at the SSL

Taking regular breaks is important when studying, so we’ve compiled a handy list of where you can go nearby if you want to grab a coffee or something to eat.

Note that although food is not allowed in the library, you can bring in water in bottles and also hot drinks, as long as they are in a KeepCup. If you wish to purchase a Bodleian branded KeepCup, they are available to buy from the Bodleian shop (located at the Weston Library). They are currently being sold at a special discounted rate for University and Bodleian Readers card holders (prices listed above).

Manor Road Building

Although the Manor Road Café is currently closed, the company that run it are offering a Click & Collect food delivery service. Food can be ordered via their Yoyo app and collected in the Manor Road Building Reception between 12.30 – 1.30pm, Monday – Friday. They are offering a range of self-heat hot dishes, sandwiches, salads, and snacks.

Alternatively, vending machines selling snacks, soft drinks and hot drinks are available on the first floor (behind the café).

The seating in the café and adjacent to the café is available for you to use.

The Missing Bean

Located at the top of Manor Road in the St Cross Building (on level 2, access via Reception) The Missing Bean offers speciality coffee, tea, soft drinks, snacks, sandwiches and hot soup. Opening hours are 8.30am – 5pm, Monday – Friday. Seating is available both in and outdoors.

University Club

The café at the University Club is currently offering a ‘grab and go’ food service of sandwiches, salads, wraps, snacks, and drinks. This is a take-away service and café seating remains closed for now, though it is hoped this will change shortly. Contact the Club for updates.

The café is open Monday to Friday, 10.30 to 15.30, during Michaelmas Term.