< Back < Back


Univ Library – behind closed doors

Univ LibraryClosing the Libraries at the end of 9th week on Hilary term is not something that any of us could have predicted. To help restrict the spread of COVID-19, on the afternoon of 20 March the few remaining students were ushered out of the Univ Libraries and the doors closed behind them. The Library team had already been providing an enhanced library service for a couple of weeks before the closure. The new service aimed to help those students who had left Oxford at short notice or those who were in self-isolation. We posted books to students at their home addresses, scanned chapters of books, and assisted with more than the usual number of queries about electronic resources.

You might wonder what a librarian can do without any books, but we’re all still busy and settling in to the routine of working from home. Over the last few years we had been compiling a long list of tasks which, due to a lack of time, had to be put on the back-burner. Luckily, many of these projects can be tackled remotely.

Univ Walter Ledger

Walter Edwin Ledger (Ross d.209)

I’ve been examining the Library Benefaction Book to see which of the books donated over the past few hundred years are still in our collection today. Phil is compiling a document recording everything we know about our manuscripts (we have more than 200!) Once complete the document will be made available to researchers around the world via the Bodleian’s website. Hannah is transcribing around 200 pages of letters written by Walter Ledger (the Oscar Wilde collector) to his friend the art critic, Sir Claude Phillips. Once complete the letters will add to our knowledge about Walter Ledger’s life and circle.

Behind the scenes, the College and Bodleian Libraries are working together to minimise the disruption to Oxford’s students. Purchasing of e-books has increased, and many publishers are releasing additional material in response to the pandemic.

As well as helping students find the e-books they need, keeping on top of our inbox, and updating social media channels, the team meet up most mornings for a virtual coffee break. Although the libraries may be closed to readers for the time being, we’re still supporting students and continuing our research into the Library’s Special Collections.

Elizabeth Adams, Librarian

Univ LibraryFinding Resources during the COVID-19 Library Closure

University College Library is currently closed until further notice. We appreciate that these closures are extremely disruptive to your studies but we wanted to let you that we are still here to help you. Library staff are working remotely and can be contacted during normal office hours via email at library@univ.ox.ac.uk

As always, we are here to assist you so please feel free to get in touch with us. At present we cannot get access to the library and its physical collections, but we can help you find things online and answer a variety of other queries.

Librarians in Oxford have been working very hard to make resources available for remote readers. We are posting these useful pieces of information to our social media pages as they become available, so keep an eye out for notifications from @univlib on Twitter and like our Facebook page.

Univcat continues to function, and while you may not be able to search it in order to find a book in the Library, it will provide you with bibliographical information We can no longer post items from the Library, but if you need to get hold of a resource, please let us know and we shall do our best to help you.

Fortunately, all our students and academics have access to the Bodleian Library which has a huge wealth of online and eResources. SOLO is the main tool for searching the Bodleian’s collections. In addition to helping you find resources available in the Bodleian, SOLO will help you find databases, scholarly reviews, theses, and much, much more.

There are thousands of eResources available. Some can be downloaded while others are available for a fixed period of time. Many publishers have temporarily lifted restrictions on ePublications for those with institutional access.

For help on finding resources go to Oxford LibGuides and look for your subject. The LibGuide for your subject will tell you what’s available and how to get hold of it. There is also a LibGuide for the databases to which Oxford subscribes.

The Library may be temporarily closed, but that doesn’t mean learning and research will stop, and we will continue to be your first point of call when it comes to finding resources.

Published: 7 April 2020

Explore Univ on social media

University College Oxford

Contact Univ

If you have any questions or need more information, just ask: