The Library and Archives

Welcome to our Library and Archives


Our collections are the lifeblood enabling Ƶ’s learning, teaching, and research functions.

We aim continually to adapt and improve our service offering to support the current and changing needs of the Ƶ and its members, and the needs of scholars worldwide.


If your visit is for a library enquiry, among other things for our rare and early printed books or any of the Ƶ’s manuscripts—including those listed in H. O. Coxe,  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1852)—please visit our Library pages


If your visit is for an archival enquiry (material relating to the Ƶ from its foundation to the present day), please visit our Archives pages.

Whatever the reason for your visit to our website, I do hope you will find time to peruse the Library Manuscripts Gallery and Rare Books Gallery, and the Archives Gallery, where a selection of images from our celebrated collections of illuminated manuscripts, early printed books, and archives are on show for you to enjoy.

Christopher Skelton-Foord


MA (Cantab), MLitt, MBA, MA (LIS), PhD


Postal address:

The Library and Archives
University of Oxford
Holywell Street
Oxford  OX1 3BN

Telephone: +44 (0)1865 279580



Locating the Library and Archives:

Our location can be found on the  
—Ƶ Library, which also houses our Archives & Records Reading Room, is number 76 on the map—
as well as via .


We provide a reader-focused library service, responsive to and serving the needs of the students and academics of Ƶ, Oxford.  At its heart is an attractive two-storey library building with a working library of some 70,000 modern texts, where we offer generous borrowing privileges, individual and group study seating areas, and extensive opening hours.  Collections support learning, research, and teaching across all academic disciplines within the Ƶ.  Our Library Guide provides a plan of our upper and lower floors and gives the classification system we use to arrange books on the shelves by subject.  The University of Oxford has the largest and finest academic library system in the UK, and the substantial academic e-resources provided by the University are available to Ƶ members.  Library staff are happy to help you make the most of all the electronic and printed collections available.

We administer and care for extensive and rich archives—which bear national Archive Service Accreditation status.  They comprise administrative records of the Ƶ since 1379, title deeds and manorial records of its estates in twenty-eight counties, and more recent papers and special collections amassed by or relating to some of its members.  Our earliest documents date from the 11th century.  There is a regular ingress of modern records from across the Ƶ and its various departments, some of which are held temporarily while some are transferred for permanent retention within our archive.

We are the curators and custodians of an internationally renowned collection of rare books and manuscripts to which we add significant items received via donation or purchase.  More manuscripts survive from the medieval library of Ƶ than from that of any other Oxford or Cambridge college, and we hold what is probably the finest collection of medieval manuscripts of any of the Oxford colleges—and one of the universitys great collections.  Ƶ Library also holds more incunabula (fifteenth-century European imprints) than any other undergraduate college at Oxford.  Our outstanding special collections are used by the wider scholarly community of researchers world-wide.


For news, and to see beautiful images from our world-famous special collections, follow us on , and .

Read about the contents and history of our rich collections from our scholarly open-access e-journal Ƶ Notes, watch our video series ‘ܰٴǰ’&Բ;Ǿ’, and learn about our institutional life and work over the course of 2023.


Ƶ Notes

Old English at New: Early Printed Books in Anglo-Saxon Type, 1570–1705

After over four centuries of neglect and disregard, Anglo-Saxon language, lore, and literature saw a renaissance in the 16th century. This is usually associated with the Reformation, and more specifically with the dissolution of the monasteries through which a number of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts from the monastic libraries came into the hands of interested antiquarians bent on preserving ancient knowledge and art.


Ƶ Library, Oxford, NB.187.17


Ƶ Library and Archives, Oxford
Typographic tables of Anglo-Saxon and runic type used in Hickes’s Thesaurus (1703), New College Library, Oxford, NB.187.17


On application to the Librarian, we provide external readers, as well as Ƶ members, with access to our outstanding collections of rare books and manuscripts.  Provision is limited, so please contact him as far in advance as possible.

We invite all friends, supporters, and alumni of Ƶ to help us—through the Ƶ Library Fund—to enhance and add to our modern collections, to our outstanding special collections, and to our vital digitisation and conservation work—to benefit students and scholars of today and future generations.