New! Book the VHL group study spaces online

[UPDATE: room bookings can now be made at least 1 hour in advance, rather than the previous 2 hours – December 2023]

The Vere Harmsworth Library will be trialling a new online room booking system, alongside the Social Science Library and Radcliffe Science Library. 

Current University members will be able to book slots in any of the three VHL Group Study Rooms (including the Godfrey Hodgson Room). Users will be able to book up to 10 hours per week up to 10 weeks in advance. You must place your booking at least 2 hours before your booking starts. [UPDATE: this timeframe has been adjusted to 1 hour in advance – December 2023]

Screenshot of new online booking system homepage

Users of the Group Study Rooms on the 1st Floor of the Library will still need to come to the Enquiry Desk to exchange their University Card for the key to the room.

Visit our online page to check availability and place your booking here.

Please note that readers with a Bodleian Readers Card will not be able to place an online booking and should email vhl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk if they are interested in booking a study room.

New: Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive, part II: Slave Trade in the Atlantic World

[Partially re-blogged from the History Faculty Library blog]

We are delighted to announce that Oxford researchers now have access to Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive, part II: Slave Trade in the Atlantic World.

This collection provides access to a wide range of materials to help understand the inception of slavery in Africa and its rise as perpetuated on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, with particular focus on the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.

It covers a wide spectrum of subjects related to the history of slavery: legal issues; economics; the Caribbean; children and women under slavery; modes of resistance; and much more, from 1490 to 1896.

This collection will be of interest to those studying the broader institution of slavery. Individual source collections of particular interest to US historians are:

  • Correspondence to the US Secretary of the Navy from the Officers of the Africa Squadron, a US-British manned squadron which patrolled the West African Coast to intercept and search slave trading ships.
  • Legal documents, including backgrounds, proceedings and prior rulings related to The Amistad slave rebellion, which became an important rallying point for the abolitionist cause.
  • Manuscript collections related to enslaved and free people of colour in New Orleans, such as deeds and estate appraisals, bank and tax files, military rosters, bills of lading, and many other municipal materials.
  • US Customs Service Records for New Orleans, documenting the transfer of incoming and outgoing enslaved persons from the port. These important records include key details such as names, destinations, enslavers and shippers.
  • The papers of Oliver Pollock, a former commercial agent of New Orleans and Virginia, who was a major financier of the American Revolutionary War, primarily through his role in the slave trade.
  • Collections from the British Library, such as the letter books of the Virginia Colony (1634-41) and manuscript collections from the Egerton Collection of official papers relating to the English settlements in America, 1627-1699.

You can search across the above collections and other Gale databases via Gale Primary Sources. Please note that you will need to use your Single Sign On to access these resources.

Requesting US Elections Campaigns Archive material via the Bodleian Archives & Manuscripts catalogue

You may have seen the recent news regarding the new online request service for Bodleian Archives and Manuscripts. 

However, not all archival material can be requested using this service, and this includes the Philip & Rosamund Davies US Elections Campaigns Archive, which is housed in the Vere Harmsworth Library. However, you can still use the Bodleian Archives and Manuscripts catalogue to view the catalogue records of the wonderful collection, and send email requests for individual items of interest.

When visiting the catalogue page for the US Elections Campaigns Archive, use the blue box on the right hand side of the page to Navigate across the Collection. The Archive is ordered via election type (Presidential/Congressional/State and Local), and by Party and Interest Groups. You can then use the Navigate tool to narrow down the items to material format (e.g. posters/buttons) and years.

A blue box showing the search option, which is at the top, and navigation tool for the US Elections Archive on the Bodleian Archives and Manuscripts webpage. The navigation tool has been used to narrow results to literature materials for the Presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt (Progressive) in the 1912 election.

Use the Search tool (near the top) or the Navigation tool to search through the archive.

Alternatively you can use the Search function to search across the collections for individual names or policies.

Search results for "Prohibition."

This is an example search of the Archive. You can use the filters on the left side to search within your results or narrow them down to specific years.

When viewing an individual item that you would live to view, click the blue Request This button at the top left of the page. This will bring up a similar message to the one below, which advises you that the material can be viewed at the Vere Harmsworth Library and noting the item shelfmark (please make a note of this when putting through your requests, as this is essential for locating the material you wish to view).

An example message which will appear when you Request an item from the US Elections Campaigns Archive. In the right hand corner of the message is a blue Send Email button.

An example message which will appear when you request an item from the Archive.

Click Send Email and an automatic email form will appear, with the Bodleian Special Collections email address already included. Special Collections will then triage any requests to the relevant team, which for the US Elections Campaigns Archive, would be the VHL Librarian.

Note that any consultation of the US Elections Campaigns Archive would need to be held at the Vere Harmsworth Library, and be supervised at all times by the VHL Librarian. Please allow at least two days (preferably longer) for the VHL Librarian to locate requested items and organise the materials for viewing.

Materials are being actively added to the Archive by the donor on a regular basis, and some materials have not yet been catalogued. A recent cataloguing project means that post-2010 material will be added soon to the Archives & Manuscripts Catalogue. However, if you would like to ask any questions about more recent material available in the Archive, or if you have any general questions about the Archive, please email the Vere Harmsworth Librarian (bethan.davies@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).

Trial access: Colonial America (ended 20th March 2022)

[UPDATE: This trial has now finished as of 20th March, 2022.]

I am pleased to report that the Vere Harmsworth Library has organised trial access to Colonial America for Bodleian Readers. The trial will run until the 20th March, 2022.

Decorative screenshot of the Colonial America database.

Colonial America consists of all 1,450 volumes of the CO 5 series of Colonial Office files held at The National Archives in London, plus all extracted documents associated with them. This unique collection of largely manuscript material from the archives of the British government is an invaluable one for students and researchers of all aspects of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century American history and the early-modern Atlantic world.

Documents can be browsed by title, date, volume, theme, document type and colony/region. They are also indexed with relevant keywords, names, and places. Print and manuscript materials are full-text searchable, thanks to handwritten text recognition technology.

The resource is made up of 5 modules:

Module 1: Early Settlement, Expansion and Rivalries

The first module of Colonial America documents the early history of the colonies, and includes founding charters, material on the effects of 1688’s Glorious Revolution in North America, records of piracy and seaborne rivalry with the French and Spanish, and copious military material from the French and Indian War of 1756-63.

Module 2: Towards Revolution

This module focuses on the 1760s and 1770s and the social and political protest that led to the Declaration of Independence, including legal materials covering the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party. It is also particularly rich in material relating to military affairs and American Indians.

Module 3: The American Revolution

This module charts the upheavals of the 1770s and 1780s which saw the throwing off of British rule in the Thirteen Colonies. Contents include volumes of intercepted letters between colonists, the military correspondence of the British commanders in the field and material produced by the Ordnance Office and the office of the Secretary at War, as well as two copies of the ‘Dunlap’ edition of the Declaration of Independence printed on the night of the 4th-5th July 1776.

Module 4: Legislation and Politics in the Colonies

This module traces the colonies’ legal and political evolution between 1636-1782. Copies of council and assembly minutes record debates on international politics, including Britain’s war with Spain, expeditions against the French in Canada, and trade regulations. Court journals also trace legal cases and trials heard in the colonies, whilst series of official correspondence and revisions of acts reveal attempts to increase jurisdiction of British officials in the colonies, expand settlement, and improve public facilities and trade. The extensive revisions and annotations of these documents also expose the internal (and often personal) political agendas of their creators.

Module 5: Growth, Trade and Development

The preponderant part of this module consists of correspondence with the Board of Trade. There are also details of land grants, financial accounts and documents focusing on American Indian relations, as well as George Vancouver’s despatches to London from his 1791 expedition to the Pacific Northwest. The module contains a number of shipping returns, accompanied by a video interview with Hannah Knox Tucker (PhD candidate, University of Virginia), who discusses these documents and their value for researchers in detail.

You can access Colonial America using your Single Sign On here. 

Please send any feedback you have regarding this resource to bethan.davies@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

New e-Resource – Black Authors, 1556-1922: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia

[Item originally posted on on the EFL blogpost]

Black Authors, 1556-1922This online collection consists of 550 fully searchable works written by Black authors from Africa, the Americas, and Europe, and spans from the mid-sixteenth century to the early twentieth century. The collection is remarkable for the diversity of its content and contains texts that fall within a wide range of genres, including autobiographies, essays, letters and poems, as well as examples of more unusual genres such as maps and sheet music.

The archive may be browsed by author, genre or subject (such as agriculture, economics and trade, education, government, health, law and crime, literature, philosophy, politics, and slavery and race relations). It is also possible to narrow down search results within a given subject as each is further divided into several subtopics. The archive can also be searched by place of publication and by publisher.

Individual authors include Olaudah Equiano, Ignatius Sancho and Bethany Veney.

The Bodleian Libraries have committed substantial external funding to a one-off set of purchases of electronic research resources deemed to be important to researchers in the University. This follows a project to identify desiderata across all subjects and to list suggestions from readers.

Purchase of this resource was partly funded by the Drue Heinz Fund.

New in Oxford: Time and The Atlantic magazine archive

I am pleased to announce the the Vere Harmsworth Library has purchased the online archives for The Atlantic and Time magazines.

Both of these magazines greatly add to our 20th Century newspaper and magazine holdings, and provide fascinating primary resources for modern American history, politics and culture.

Time magazine archive (1923-2000)

Published weekly by Time Inc., Time Magazine has focused on conveying to a broad audience both domestic and international news and analysis on a spectrum of subjects.

Intended to be read in under an hour, each issue of Time contains reports of national and international current events, politics, sports, and entertainment. Capturing the relevant news for a given week, the magazine remains an important resource for researchers studying just about any aspect of 20th-Century history and life.

Four covers from Time Magazine's past editions.

An example of magazine covers from Time magazine. Top row, from left to right: Clarke Gable (August 31st, 1936); Jackie Robinson (September 22nd, 1947). Bottom row, from left to right: Richard Nixon (November 5th, 1973, “The Push to Impeach”); Ronald Regan (January 5th, 1981, “The Man of the Year”)

 

Articles and cover pages are fully indexed and advertisements are individually identified, ensuring researchers and readers can quickly and accurately locate the information they seek. The Time Magazine Archive is valuable to researchers of 20th-Century current events, politics and culture, as well as those interested in the history of business, advertising, and popular culture.

The archival collection compliments our current online access to Time magazine via EBSCO Business Source Complete (1990-current), alongside our physical collection held in the BSF.

The Atlantic magazine archive (1857-2014)

The Atlantic was originally created with a focus on publishing leading writers’ commentary on abolition, education and other major issues in contemporary political affairs at the time. Over its more than 150 years of publication. It has featured articles in the fields of politics, foreign affairs, business and the economy, culture and the arts, technology, science and more.

Some of the founding sponsors of the magazine include prominent writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Greenleaf Whittier.

Images of the front covers of the Atlantic Magazine.

Examples of front covers of The Atlantic Magazine. Top row, from left to right: November 1947 (90th Anniversary special); April 1956 (Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman). Bottom row, from left to right: September 2008 (Special Election issue); March 2012 (Special Commemorative Issue to mark 150th anniversary of the Civil War.)

 

The Atlantic Magazine Archive, covers events and political issues through literary and cultural commentary. It includes more than 1,800 issues providing a broad view of 19th, 20th and early 21st-Century American thought.

You may also be interested in our other periodical resources such as The National Review, The Nation, The New Republic and Vogue. For more information on our newspaper and periodicals, please visit our online guide.

New in Oxford: Black Thought and Culture

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Following a trial period, and positive feedback from readers, I am pleased to announce that the Vere Harmsworth Library has purchased access to the online resource, Black Thought and Culture.

This impressive database contains a collection of approximately 100,000 pages of non-fiction writings by major American black leaders—teachers, artists, politicians, religious leaders, athletes, war veterans, entertainers, and other figures—covering 250 years of history. In addition to the most familiar works, Black Thought and Culture presents a great deal of previously inaccessible material, including letters, speeches, prefatory essays, political leaflets, interviews, periodicals, and trial transcripts.

The collection spans from the works of Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois and Ida B. Wells Barnett, to Zora Neal Hurston, Audra Lorde, and Jesse Jackson. Most notably, the collection includes items previously undigitized, and difficult to obtain, such as:

  • The transcript of the Muhammad Ali trial
  • A full run of The Black Panther newspaper, with full-colour images of every page as well as searchable text
  • 2,500 pages of exclusive Black Panther oral histories owned by the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation
  • Selected audio files, heard here for the first time
  • the full run of Artist and Influence journal, tracking African American cultural trends in the 20th Century.

This resource will be of interest to those interested in African American history, politics, literature and culture.

You may access the resource here.

Trial Access: Black Thought and Culture (ended 1st March 2021)

Note: This trial ended on 1st March, 2021. decoration only

 

 

 

I am pleased to report that the Vere Harmsworth Library has organised trial access to the online resource, Black Thought and Culture. The trial will run until the 1st March, 2021.

This impressive database contains a collection of approximately 100,000 pages of non-fiction writings by major American black leaders—teachers, artists, politicians, religious leaders, athletes, war veterans, entertainers, and other figures—covering 250 years of history. In addition to the most familiar works, Black Thought and Culture presents a great deal of previously inaccessible material, including letters, speeches, prefatory essays, political leaflets, interviews, periodicals, and trial transcripts.

The collection spans from the works of Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois and Ida B. Wells Barnett, to Zora Neal Hurston, Audra Lorde, and Jesse Jackson. Most notably, the collection includes items previously undigitized, and difficult to obtain, such as:

  • The transcript of the Muhammad Ali trial
  • A full run of The Black Panther newspaper, with full-colour images of every page as well as searchable text
  • 2,500 pages of exclusive Black Panther oral histories owned by the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation
  • Selected audio files, heard here for the first time
  • the full run of Artist and Influence journal, tracking African American cultural trends in the 20th Century.

This resource will be of interest to those interested in African American history, politics, literature and culture.

You may access the resource here.

Please send any feedback you have regarding this resource to bethan.davies@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

You can also find out more about our other two trials for Native American Indians and Black Authors on our new blogpost. 

 

What to expect when using the VHL Click & Collect service in Michaelmas Term 2020

If you are planning on using the VHL Click & Collect service to access reading material, read this blogpost for further information, and advice on how to plan for your visit.

Selecting your book

To start requesting titles, you will first need to request a title via SOLO. Log in to your SOLO account, using your Single Sign-On information. Your name will appear at the top of the page.

Titles which you can select via Click & Collect will have a green Request button next to the Location Items information. You will need to visit the individual owning library in order to collect/borrow the item.

Please note that if the title is located as the BSF or the Vere Harmsworth Library Stack, then the item will be a non-loanable stack request, and you will need to consult the item in the library, via a booked reading room slot.

An example of Click & Collect – press the green Request button.

 

Once you have requested your item, your request will be sent to the relevant library staff, who will search for, and select your required title.

Once this has been done, you will receive an automated Holds Notification Email, which will alert you that your item is ready to be collected, and include a link, so that you can book your collection slot.

Booking a slot

In line with wider Bodleian policy, readers are required to use a booking system to book collection slots at the VHL.

Use this link to book your space at the VHL.

The time slots for Click & Collect are from 12:00-16:00, on weekdays only.

If you are nominating a person to pick up your items for you (see below), add their name to the Notes field.

If you have requested more than one title via Click & Collect from the same library, you don’t need to book seperate time slots for each item. So long as the library staff have been able to select your item, and you have received a Holds Notification Email to confirm your book is available, you will only need to make use of one time slot booking.

For more information about the wider Click and Collect service,, visit the Bodleian Libraries website on using Click & Collect.

Arriving at the VHL to pick up your book 

You may arrive at any time during your allocated study slot. Please follow all social distancing guidance and signage when entering the building. If there is a queue, may be required to wait in the foyer, or outside the building.

Upon arrival outside the building, please follow the below steps:

  1. Enter the Rothermere American Institute foyer, via the door marked Entrance (on your right as you approach the building – see image below).

The library is through the glass doors door, on the left side of the foyer (see below). Keep to the right hand side as you enter through the doors.

 

 

 

2. Tap your Bodleian card against the card reader on your immediate right, to activate the access gates (see below).

3.  Please enter the library one person at a time. If library staff are busy with an enquiry  at the library desk, you may be asked to wait before the access gates, or in the RAI foyer.

4. Once the library staff member at the desk confirms that they are available to deal with your enquiry, please confirm that you are here to collect a book.

5. You will be asked to show your Bodleian card, so that the staff member can confirm your collection time, and find your item. Display your card either through the Perspex screen, or by placing your card on the desk, and then stepping away from the desk area and stand behind the line marked on the floor.

6. If there is a long queue of readers wishing to enter the library for reading room spaces, you may be asked to come back later to collect your material, when the enquiry desk is quieter.

Upon entering the library, you will need to register with library staff at the enquiry desk (pictured above). Please stand behind the line on the floor, when speaking with staff. 

Collecting your item

Once library staff have checked your card, they will be able to locate your book/s from behind the library enquiry desk area.

After verbally confirming with you that they have the correct book/number of books under your name, the staff member will need to scan your library card, either through the Perspex screen, or via the gap near the desk ledge.

At this stage, library staff will check the title/s out to you, and confirm the return date.

What if I miss my collection slot?

You can rebook a collection slot at any point via the link in your Holds Notification Email (see above). Your title will stay on the Hold Shelf for at least 7 days before being returned to the open shelves or passed on to the next request.

If you are struggling to organise a time to pick up your book, please email us as soon as possible so that we can assist you.

Nominating another person to collect your book

If you need to self-isolate, you may find that you cannot collect your book in person from the VHL. You can nominate another person, such as a friend or family member, to collect your book for you (this is called “collection by proxy”).

When you book your time slot, add in the name of your nominated collector in the Notes field. This alerts library staff that another person will be coming to collect your book.

Your nominated person will need to bring photo ID with them when they come to collect your book/s.

If you are unsure, feel free to contact us beforehand.

Leaving the VHL after collecting your book

You should leave the VHL after library staff have handed your your requested book/s.

  1. Leave the library one at a time, keeping to your right, as you go through the security sensors.
  2. Use the card reader on the wall directly in front of you (on your immediate right as you turn to face the library doors) to activate the security gates and exit the library through the library doors.
  3. Exit the RAI foyer via the exit immediately on your right.

When exiting the library, please be aware of your fellow readers and others in the building, and follow social distancing signage and guidance at all times. There may be a rush of readers exiting the library, and you may be asked to queue as you leave.

Returning books to the VHL

When returning books at the VHL, readers will be asked to put their items directly into a blue crate. The crate is located immediately on the right as you enter the library, on the ground next to the library desk. Readers do not need to make a reading room booking, or use the access gates in order to return their books.

A blue box, labelled Returns, is on the floor of the library. A set of glass doors are on the right of the image, and the library desk wall on the left.

Our returns crate is next to the library enquiry desk, as you walk through the glass doors.

After a quarantine period of 24 hours, the book will be removed from your account. Bodleian libraries will be extending it’s grace period on library fines from the lockdown period across Michaelmas Term, so the extra period of time on your account will not affect you.

Readers may also return their books via the Returns Hubs based at the Social Science Library in the Manor Road Building, or the Sainsbury Library at the Saïd Business School.

Please note that if you cannot physically return the books yourself, you may ask a friend or family member to return the books for you. If this is not possible, please visit the Bodleian Loans Returns webpage, which provides further information and return options for readers.

Continue reading

What to expect when using the VHL Reading Rooms in Michaelmas Term 2020

If you are planning on booking and using the VHL study spaces, read this blogpost for further information, and advice on how to plan for your visit.

Booking a slot

In line with wider Bodleian policy, readers are required to use a booking system to book spaces at the VHL. Pre-booking is mandatory and walk-in requests for study spaces will be politely rejected by library staff.

A screenshot of the Bodleian Library Space Finder webpage. Note that this example includes our new Browse & Borrow service options – please ensure you select the right option for your visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use this link to book your space at the VHL.

For more information about the wider Bodleian reading room policies, and for further information on the booking service, visit the Bodleian Libraries website on using library reading rooms.

The booking slots for the VHL are:

Weekdays: 9:30 – 13:00; 13:30-17:00; 17:30-21:00

Saturday: 10:00- 12:30: 13:00 – 16:00

Sunday: 11:00 – 13:30: 14:00 – 17:00

You may book for more than one slot across the day if you wish.

Spaces will be available one week in advance of the advertised dates.

You can choose to book a Desk space or a Reader PC space. You cannot book two spaces at the same time, and move between the PC/Desk.

You may use the notes field if you wish to provide further information to the librarians before your slot, such as if you wish to use a microfilm reader.

Please note that study spaces at the VHL, and across the Bodleian Libraries are very heavily booked up, and we are trying to make as many spaces available as safely possible. Do not make a study space booking if you are not intending on using it. Please be considerate of your fellow readers.

Arriving at the VHL for your study slot

You may arrive at any time during your allocated study slot. Please follow all social distancing guidance and signage when entering the building. If there is a queue, may be required to wait in the foyer, or outside the building.

Upon arrival outside the building, please follow the below steps:

  1. Enter the Rothermere American Institute foyer, via the door marked Entrance (on your right as you approach the building – see image below).

The library is through the glass doors door, on the left side of the foyer (see below). Keep to the right hand side as you enter through the doors.

 

 

 

2. Tap your Bodleian card against the card reader on your immediate right, to activate the access gates (see below).

3.  Please enter the library one person at a time. If library staff are busy with an enquiry  at the library desk, you may be asked to wait before the access gates, or in the RAI foyer.

4. Once the library staff member at the desk confirms that they are available to deal with your enquiry, please confirm that you are here for a study space booking.

5. You will be asked to show your Bodleian card, so that the staff member can confirm your place on the Reading Room register. Display your card either through the Perspex screen, or by placing your card on the desk, and then stepping away from the desk area and stand behind the line marked on the floor.

6. The library staff member will confirm your study slot booking, and the times of your registered study slot. They will also inform you of the main guidelines you need to follow whilst using the library. If you are studying for more than one slot, you will then be given a red library ticket (see below for further information on library tickets).

7. If you have a stack request, or Click & Collect material which you need to collect, inform the library staff member, so that they can provide you with your items. If there is a long queue of readers wishing to enter the library for reading room spaces, you may be asked to come back later to collect your material, when the enquiry desk is quieter.

Upon entering the library, you will need to register with library staff at the enquiry desk (pictured above). Please stand behind the line on the floor, when speaking with staff.

Selecting a Desk or PC Study Space

Available spaces within the VHL have been marked out by library staff in advance. Available spaces are socially distanced from other readers, and located to ensure the least amount of contact between readers.

Available spaces are marked with a green tick sign, which reads “You may sit here”. Unavailable seats are marked with a red “Do not sit here” sign.

You may use any available desk or PC Reader space in the VHL, so long as the seat is marked with the green tick sign and there is not a red Library ticket left on the desk.

PC study spaces are available on the Ground Floor only. Desk spaces are available on all floors of the library.

The Reader PCs are located on the Ground Floor. You can sit at any of the PCs with a green tick sign.

Once you have selected your desired space, please use the nearby cleaning materials to wipe down your desk area or reading room equipment before using the space for your studies.

If you are having problems with your chosen study space (such as your PC/electronic plugs are not working), inform the library staff as soon as possible for their assistance. If your study space is found to be unusable, staff may move you to another free space, but we do ask for you to wipe down your previous study space before moving.

Displaying your library ticket 

If you are going to be studying at the VHL for more than one time slot (so for example, a morning & afternoon slot), you will be given a red ticket by a member of staff on your arrival. The ticket is to ensure that other library staff do not incorrectly ask you to leave before your booked slot times have ended, and to avoid them disturbing you when asking other readers to leave. Please keep your red ticket clearly visible on your desk, with the side with text facing upwards.

Staying for more than one time slot? Make sure to keep your red ticket displayed!

You do not need to leave the library in between any of your booked slots, but you may leave the library at any point for meals or other reasons. If you are planning on leaving the library and returning, please leave your red ticket on your desk, to make sure other readers do not use your space in your absence.

When you have finished studying for the day, please return your ticket to the enquiry point when you leave. Do not take your ticket home with you.

Using the reading room during your slot 

Social distancing guidelines and cleaning material 

Any reader using the library study spaces will need to follow the guidelines set out by the VHL. These are created in consultation with the Rothermere American Institute and the wider Bodleian libraries policy.

Readers will be required to wear a mask at all times whilst in the library, and wider RAI building. Readers must also maintain a 2 meter social distance between themselves and others using the building. There is a limit of one person down each library shelving bay.

If you require help from a library staff member, consider using Library Chat or email, instead of speaking 1-1 with a member of staff, to reduce unrequired contact.

There are cleaning materials located around the library on each floor, to allow readers to clean their study spaces and any reading room equipment they use whilst at the VHL. There are also hand sanitisers located near reading room equipment, and in wall dispensers around the building.

If you have any feedback on the social distancing/one way system, or feel that more cleaning material should be made available, please inform library staff by email. We are more than happy to consider your feedback, and reflect on what we can do better.

Moving around the library

A one-way system is in place around the building to encourage social distancing and to avoid unwarranted contact between people using the building.

Upon entering and exiting the RAI foyer, use the separate Entrance and Exit doors. Please keep to your right as you enter or exit the VHL via the glass doors and library access gates.

There is only one staircase which connects the Ground Floor to the Mezzanine level, from which you can access the other floors. Please be aware of other readers using the stairs and give way at the signposted points (pictured below).

If you need to continue to the floors higher than the Mezzanine level, use the stairs immediately on your right (see above image). You should only use these stairs to go up.

To travel to lower floors from the First/Second Floor towards the Mezzanine, please use the stairs located closest to car park, and RAI foyer. These stairs are opposite the stairs you used to enter the building. You should only use these stairs to go down (see below).

On the First and Second Floor, a one way system is in place around the library shelves. To travel towards the area of the building closest to the cark park and where the stairs for travelling downstairs are located, please walk on the side of the floor closest to the Mezzanine and the large glass windows looking onto the garden.

To travel towards the area of the building furthest from the car park and where the stairs for travelling upstairs, please walk on the side of the floor furthest from the Mezzanine, next to the windows facing South Parks Road.

Please limit the number of people down each library shelving bay to one.

In order to exit the building, you will need to go downstairs (using the stairs located closest to the carpark and RAI foyer), and then walk parallel to the Mezzanine study spaces and large glass windows looking onto the garden. Remember that you may need to give way to others before using the staircase which connects the Mezzanine to the Ground Floor.

There is signage clearly displayed around the library, to show readers the correct routes using the one way system, and clarifying where to give way to others.

Please be aware of others as you travel around the building. You may need to stand to the side, or leave a library shelving bay, in order for others to use the building in the safest way possible.

If you have any feedback on the one way system, or feel that more signage should be displayed, please inform library staff by email. We are more than happy to consider your feedback, and reflect on what we can do better.

Bathrooms and breaks

Bathrooms are located on the First Floor of the library, on the side closest to the car park.

The bathrooms include two unisex toilet cubicles (with individual sinks and hand drying facilities) and one disabled bathroom. Please be aware that others may be using the bathrooms, and give way to readers leaving the bathrooms as a priority. Hand sanitiser is available in a wall dispenser next to the toilet entrances.

Readers may leave the library at any point, including for meals. If you are going for a long period of time, you should take your personal belongings with you. If you have been given a red library ticket to show you have more than one study booking, leave the ticket on the desk.

If you are planning on re-entering the library, please inform the library staff as you leave. You will be asked to show your card when you re-enter the library so staff can confirm your slot.

Browsing 

Any reader with a booked reading room slot may browse the open shelves for VHL and RSL material. Please follow the wider social distancing guidelines and visible signage when travelling around the reading room. There is a limit of one person down each library shelving bay.

PCAS machines and other reading room equipment

Any reader with a booked slot may use the PCAS machines for scanning, copying and printing. The two PCAS machines for the VHL readers are located on the Ground Floor, on the side opposite the enquiry desk. Please use the available cleaning material to wipe down the machines before and after you use them.

If you wish to use the microfilm reader, please make a note of this on your booking. The library staff will make sure that the reader is available for you to use. Please use the available cleaning material to wipe down the reader before and after you use it.

The VHL also has accessibility equipment available for readers to use. Please ask at the enquiry desk if you would like to use any of the equipment, and the library staff will sign them out to you. Please use the available cleaning material to wipe down the equipment before and after you use them.

Leaving the VHL at the end of your study slot

You may leave the VHL at any point before the end of your study slot. Library staff will alert relevant readers in the library 15 minutes before the end of each of the allocated time slots. (So for example, staff will warn readers at 12:45 if their booking will end at 13:00). This is to give readers enough time to collect their belongings and clean their study spaces/reading room equipment before leaving.

If you have booked for more than one time slot across the same day, please keep your red ticket clearly visible on your desk, with the side with text facing upwards. Library staff will be checking tickets as they alert readers, and will not disturb you.

When you have finished your reading room slot, or have received a 15 minute warning from library staff, please complete the following steps.

  1. Pack up your belongings.
  2. Use the nearby cleaning materials to wipe down your desk, PC or any other reading room equipment that you have used.
  3. Leave any library materials that you will not be borrowing on your desk, or nearby library trollies.
  4. Bring your red library tickets downstairs with you and leave them on the Enquiry Desk. Please do not take the red tickets with you. 
  5. Leave aside some time if you need to return stack requests or check out books from the enquiry desk.
  6. Leave the library one at a time, keeping to your right, as you go through the security sensors.
  7. Use the card reader on the wall directly in front of you (on your immediate right as you turn to face the library doors) to activate the security gates and exit the library through the library doors.
  8. Exit the RAI foyer via the exit immediately on your right.

When exiting the library, please be aware of your fellow readers and others in the building, and follow social distancing signage and guidance at all times. You may need to wait for others to finish using cleaning material before you can use it. There may be a rush of readers exiting the library, and you may be asked to queue as you leave. If you need to return a stack request or check out books at the enquiry desk, you may be asked to wait until a queue of readers have left, before staff can assist you.

We hope you have a productive and positive experience at our libraryIf you have any questions or feedback about using the VHL reading room, please contact us at: vhl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.