Wadham's Library

Wadham has an attractive and well-stocked library, open 24/7, with wireless connectivity throughout

  • Library central staircase

    Central staircase

  • Working in the library

    Working in the library

  • Working in the library

    Working in the library

  • The self-issue computer at the library counter

    The self-issue computer at the library counter

  • Library central staircase

    Central staircase

  • Working in an open carrel

    Working in an open carrel

  • Working in the library

    Working in the library

  • The top floor of the library

    The top floor of the library

  • Student working in the library
  • Student working in the library
  • Student working in the library
  • Student working in the library
  • The library staff

    The library staff, from left: Sandra Bailey, Tim Kirtley, Fran Heaney

Wadham's library

Wadham Library is housed in a modern building, set out over three floors. We are open to Wadham members 24 hours a day throughout the year, closing only for a few days at Christmas.

Take a virtual library tour

Our reading room provides a comfortable and appealing working environment, with wireless internet access and 100 study spaces. There is also an attractive 'beanbag' seating area where you can relax with a book and enjoy lovely views over the cloister.

A discussion room is available on a drop-in basis for group study for up to16 people, and we also have ten private study areas that are allocated annually to students with particular needs.

Our collections

Lending collection

We have a lending collection of around 49,000 books representing all of the subjects studied at Wadham. We keep multiple copies of many key textbooks, particularly in the sciences. Typically we buy around 1,000 books a year. As well as working from reading lists and suggestions made by tutors, we encourage and welcome book suggestions from our students.

Online collections

We subscribe through the university to many thousands of electronic journals, e-books and scholarly databases, and all of these are fully available to Wadham students both while they are in college and when away from Oxford.

Rare books

We have a fine collection of older books and manuscripts acquired, mostly through donation, over the last 400 years covering a wide range of subject matter from literature to theology and the sciences.

Amongst our manuscript collection we have an 11th century Gospel book, a 13th century Paris Bible, a 14th century manuscript copy of John Gower’s Confessio Amantis, and a 15th century book of hours.

Our remarkable collection of rare printed books includes the first folio of Shakespeare’s plays, and in fact we are lucky enough to have all four of the published Shakespeare folios. We have a strong collection in the history of science, reflecting Wadham’s close connection with the founding of the Royal Society in the second half of the 17th century. Our collection includes first editions of Copernicus and Newton, Robert Boyle’s The Sceptical Chymist and Robert Hooke’s Micrographia.

Persian Studies Section

A special collection of 4,500 books on Persian history, literature, philosophy, theology, science and art is open, by application, to all Oxford University members, as well as external scholars and researchers. The Ferdowsi Library also includes a collection of more than 950 Persian manuscripts and just over 900 early printed books in Armenian.

Find out more

Visit our online exhibition

Library history

The library was built in the 1970s to the designs of the Glasgow architects Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, and was officially opened in July 1976. Previously the library collections were housed first in the ‘old library’, now part of the Senior Common Room, and then from 1955 in the adjacent Goddard Building.

Graduate Centre library space

Wadham’s Graduate Centre, which opened in 2012, includes the Edwin Mok Reading Room and a library area with desk space set over two floors. Journal runs and specific named collections of monographs, such as the Michael Foot collection of books on modern political history, are stored in these areas. There is also a collection of art house films on DVD and Bluray, for viewing by graduate students in the media room adjacent to where the DVDs are stored.

Visiting us

Our library staff can arrange sessions for researchers wishing to consult our rare book collection. Please email library@wadham.ox.ac.uk, or contact the library by phone on 01865 277914.

Where to find us:
The library is located at the back of the college site, behind the main Quad. View College Map