Wadham Library is open to College members 24 hours a day throughout the year. 

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) update

Following Government advice to prevent the spread of Covid-19, students are encouraged to use online library services until further notice. Anyone needing advice on library services should not hesitate to contact the library team on Students can book a study space in Wadham Library by clicking on the link below.

Book a study space
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The Library is a comfortable, attractive study space, set out over three floors. Here you'll find your course books, access to electronic resources, scanning, photocopying and printing facilities. Library staff are always happy to help with requests for further reading and information about wider library resources across Oxford. 

In addition to study space there is an attractive 'beanbag' seating area where you can relax with a book or journal and enjoy lovely views over the cloister.

A discussion room is available on a drop-in basis for group study for up to 16 people. 

Our collections

We have a lending collection of around 52,000 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. We are now welcoming suggestions for new e-books from our students.

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.

Among 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 along with the subsequent three 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. Titles include first editions of Copernicus and Newton, Robert Boyle’s The Sceptical Chymist and Robert Hooke’s Micrographia.

Library history

Designed by Glasgow architects Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, Wadham Library was built in the 1970s and officially opened in July 1976. Architecturally renowned, the building boasts brushed concrete walls and pillars and a series of half levels creating interesting sight lines across the reading rooms. Originally the library collections were housed in the Old Library within the College's foundation 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.

Journals and specific named collections of monographs, such as some of Michael Foot's 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. University of Oxford students can visit by appointment to view titles unavailable in other Oxford University libraries.

Please email, or contact the library by phone on 01865 277914 to make an appointment.

Where to find us:
The library is located to the rear of the college site, with access from Back Quad. View College Map

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(Left to right) Marcus Chin, Library Assistant; Mohammad Emami, Persian Studies Section Co-ordinator; Tim Kirtley, Librarian; Sandra Bailey, Rare Books Cataloguer; Francesca Heaney, Assistant Librarian