Old Bodleian Library

Old Bodleian Library - (1 of 1)

There is step-free access through the Great Gate and into the Proscholium (entrance hall). The main entrance doors are powered. There is lift access to the Lower and Upper Reading Rooms. There is stepped access only to the Duke Humfrey's Library. There is one wheelchair accessible toilet although this is only available to Bodleian readers.

Some areas of the Old Bodleian are open to the public with daily guided tours. There is step-free and ramped access to the public areas on the ground floor. The Duke Humfrey's Library can only be accessed by stairs. There are no public toilets available to visitors. 

Follow this link to view the rest of the Bodleian complex: Radcliffe Camera and Gladstone Link

This table contains summary information about the building

On-site designated parking for Blue Badge holders No
Public designated parking for Blue Badge holders within 200m Yes - on Broad Street
Other nearby parking Yes - Pay and display on Broad Street
Main entrance Step free. Powered door
Alternative entrance Step free. Secure. Powered door. 
Wheelchair accessible toilets 1 - ground floor (only available to Bodleian readers)
Lift Yes
Hearing support systems Yes
Google Maps
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University Map
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There is no parking available at the Bodleian Library. There are five public Blue Badge spaces available on Broad Street. Two of the spaces on Broad Street are just under 200m from the main entrance on Catte Street. There is a shorter route via the Sheldonian courtyard, but this is through a narrow archway with a clear width of 73 cm.

Please click on the link below to view a map of Blue Badge parking in central Oxford.

The recommended entrance is via the Great Gate on Catte Street which provides level access to the Old School Quadrangle and the Old Bodleian Library. You can purchase tickets for tours and entry to the Divinity School from the Ticket Office inside the Great Gate. 

Please note that while the Catte Street entrance is level, the pavement approaching this entrance is narrow and uneven in places. It is possible to use the road surface instead of the pavement, as this is not heavily used by traffic; there is a short ramp from the road surface to the pavement in front of the entrance. 

The Old Schools Quadrangle is an outside courtyard area in the centre of the Old Bodleian library. There is level access across the Quadrangle, although the paving is old and worn in places. There is ramped access to the gift shop. There is level access through powered doors to the Proscholium (main entrance hall). From the Proscholium there is ramped access to the Divinity School, where all tours start. 

Bodleian Readers can also access the Lower and Upper Reading Rooms, and the Duke Humfrey's Library, from the Proscholuim (main entrance hall) - please note that these routes are via stairs. 

For step free access to the Lower and Upper Reading Rooms, the Old Schools Quadrangle also has ramped access to an alternative, secure, Bodleian Readers entrance with a powered door. This alternative entrance gives access to a wheelchair accessible toilet, lockers, and lift access to the Lower and Upper Reading Rooms. (There is no step free access to the Duke Humfrey's library.)

There is also stepped access from Radcliffe Square, through the South Arch, into the Old Schools Quadrangle.

There is an alternative step-free route: it is possible to  enter the Sheldonian Theatre courtyard from Broad Street (via a narrow archway with a clear width of 73 cm), then come through the North Arch, and into the Old Schools Quadrangle.

Please click on the thumbnails below to enlarge:

The ticket office is inside the Great Gate on Catte Street. The counter is at a wheelchair accessible height. There is an induction loop on the counter. You will need to purchase a ticket for tours and entry to the Divinity School.

Bodleian Readers can enter the library using their University Card and do not need to purchase a ticket. 

Please click on the thumbnail below to enlarge:

From the ticket office, there is level access across the Old School Quadrangle to the Proscholium (main entrance hall). Once through the powered entrance doors, there is a Tours and Visitor Information Point straight ahead - you will need to show your tickets here for entry to the Divinity School and for the guided tours. The Visitor Information Point is at a standing height - staff will come out to assist visitors if needed. The Visitor Information Point has a fixed induction loop.

There are also secure entrance points into the Lower and Upper Reading Rooms and Duke Humfrey's Library at either end of the Proscholium (main entrance hall). Both entrance points have staffed reception desks, and have security gates. Bodleian readers will need to use their library cards to gain access. Please note that there is stepped access only from the Proscholium to the Lower and Upper Reading Rooms and Duke Humfrey's Library.

There is an alternative, secure, ramped entrance from the Old Schools Quadrangle - this gives lift access to the Lower and Upper Reading Rooms. The accessible toilet is located next to this entrance. There is no reception desk at this entrance. 

Please click on the thumbnails below to enlarge:

The main enquiry desk is in the Lower Reading Room (on the first floor). This is next to the door if using the entrance closest to the lift. The enquiry desk is at a wheelchair accessible height and has a recessed knee space. There is a portable induction loop available on request.

There is a secondary enquiry desk in the Upper Reading Room (on the second floor). This is in the middle of the Reading Room and is also at a wheelchair accessible height, although has no knee recess. There is no hearing support equipment available here. 

In addition, the Upper Staffed Desk in the Upper Reading Room is available to collect and return requested items - this desk is 99 cm from floor level, but staff will come out to assist readers if needed. There is no hearing support equipment available here. 

Please click on the thumbnails below to enlarge:

All toilets are only available to Bodleian readers. There are no public toilets. There are public toilets available (including an accessible toilet) at the nearby Weston Library.

There are male and female toilets on the ground floor. There are further female toilets off the staircase between the ground floor and first floor. 

There are no gender neutral toilets. 

There is one accessible toilet in the library - this is on the ground floor and is only available to Bodleian readers.

Accessible toilet

  • Located next to ramped Readers entrance on ground floor.
  • Manoeuvring may be difficult for some - there is a right angle turn needed to get from the corridor through the door, and then a second right angle turn needed from inside the door to get to the main area of the toilet.
  • The door width is at least 80 cm.
  • The door opens outwards.
  • The dimensions are 150 cm x 238 cm.
  • The door is locked by a small lever lock.
  • The lights switch on automatically.
  • There is a horizontal grab rail on the door.
  • The cistern can be used as a back rest.
  • The flush is a spatula type lever and is on the wall side of the toilet.
  • As you face the toilet the transfer space is to the left.
  • There is a dropdown rail on the transfer side. There are wall mounted grab rails. 
  • The sink has vertical handrails either side.
  • There is good visual contrast between the walls and the handrails and other fixtures.
  • The hand dryer requires users to insert their hands in the top of the dryer.
  • There is a mirror above the sink.
  • There is an emergency alarm. The alarm reset button is within reach of the toilet. 

Please click on the thumbnails below to enlarge:

There is a passenger lift which connects the ground floor to the Lower Reading Room on the first floor, and the Upper Reading Room on the second floor. The lift also goes to the Gladstone Link. There is no lift access to the Duke Humfrey's Library. There is step free access to the lift itself via the ramped, secure, Reader's entrance. 

  • The floor information sign outside the lift is tactile and has information in Braille.
  • The lift doors have a clear width of 90 cm. 
  • The lift dimensions are 105 cm x 138 cm.
  • The lift call buttons are in the range 100 cm to 110 cm high.
  • The lift control buttons are tactile and have information in Braille.
  • There is a visual display and an audible announcement of the floor level - the announcement is at a low volume.
  • There is a handrail one side of the lift

Please click on the thumbnails below to enlarge:

There are staircases at either end of the Proscholium (main entrance hall). Both staircases are beyond secure gates and can only be used by Bodleian Readers, or those on official Bodleian tours. 

The north stairs are wide, have a continuous handrail to the right (ascending), and have contrasting edges. 

The south stairs are wide, have a continuous handrail to the left (ascending), and have contrasting edges. 

Both staircases have a final flight to the Upper Reading Room that is narrower and steeper, but has handrails both sides. 

There is a raised area in the middle of the Lower Reading Room with four steps at either end. These steps have handrails both sides, and contrasting edges. There is stepped access only to the Lower Reading Room beyond this central raised area.

Please click on the thumbnail below to enlarge:

The main double entrance doors into the Proscholium (main entrance hall) are powered - both doors open to give a clear width of just over 2 m. 

The step free, secure, readers entrance, has a powered door with a clear width of 88 cm. 

The door into the Divinity School will be operated by staff during tours - this door has a clear width of 75 cm, but has a second leaf (also 75 cm) that can be opened if needed. 

The door into the north end of the Lower Reading Room (next to the lift) is manual, has a clear width of 83 cm, has a full height vision panel and is on a strong closer. There are no further doors in the Lower Reading Room. The door into the south end of the Lower Reading Room can only be reached using the south stairs. 

The door into the north end of the Upper Reading Room (next to the lift) is manual, has a clear width of 84 cm, has a full height vision panel and opens directly onto a short, but moderately steep ramp. There are no further doors in the Upper Reading Room. The door into the south end of the Upper Reading Room can only be reached using the south stairs. 

The step free, secure, accessible entrance into the Reader Common Room, has a powered door with a clear width of 82 cm.

Please click on the thumbnails below to enlarge:

This is on the first floor of the library. There is stepped access from either end of the Proscholium (main entrance hall), with the North Stairs taking you to the north end and the South Stairs taking you to the south end. 

There is also lift access to the Lower Reading Room which takes you to the north end. The entrance door is, manual, has a clear width of 83 cm, has a full height vision panel and is on a strong closer. 

The main enquiry desk is located at the north end of the Reading Room. The enquiry desk is at a wheelchair accessible height and has a recessed knee space. There is a portable induction loop available on request.

There is one powered, and four manually operated height adjustable desks available. These desks also have ergonomic chairs available. 

There is a raised area in the middle of the Lower Reading Room with four steps at either end. These steps have handrails both sides, and contrasting edges. There is stepped access only to the Lower Reading Room beyond this central raised area. 

There is plenty of circulation space around the Lower Reading Room. Please note that ladders are in use to access books on higher shelves. Library staff will assist with fetching books if needed. Library staff will assist with moving ladders if they are blocking circulation space. . 

Please click on the thumbnails below to enlarge:

This is on the second floor of the library. There is stepped access from either end of the Proscholium (main entrance hall), with the North Stairs taking you to the north end and the South Stairs taking you to the south end. 

There is also lift access to the Upper Reading Room which takes you to the north end. The entrance door is manual, has a clear width of 84 cm, has a full height vision panel and opens directly onto a short, but moderately steep ramp.

There is a secondary enquiry desk in the Upper Reading Room. This is in the middle of the Reading Room and is at a wheelchair accessible height, although has no knee recess. There is no hearing support equipment available here. 

In addition, the Upper Staffed Desk in the Upper Reading Room is available to collect and return requested items - this desk is 99 cm from floor level, but staff will come out to assist readers if needed. There is no hearing support equipment available here. 

There are two manually operated height adjustable desks available. There is one ergonomic chair available. 

There is step free access across all of the Upper Reading Room. Circulation space can be narrow in places due to the placement of desks, and ladders used to access books on higher shelves. Library staff will assist with fetching books if needed. Library staff will assist with moving ladders if they are blocking circulation space.

Please click on the thumbnails below to enlarge:

The Duke Humfrey's Library was closed at the time of this access survey due to the Covid-19 pandemic. General information about the Duke Humfrey's Library is available by clicking here

There is stepped access to the Reader Common Room from the south stairs beyond the secure gates in the Proscholium (main entrance hall). Once inside the narrow entrance door, there is a small staircase down to the common room. The stairs have a handrail to the right (descending) and contrasting edges. 

There is also a step free accessible entrance from the Old Schools Quadrangle. There is a wide doorway with a door that is held open. Beyond this there is a secure powered door with a proximity card reader 115 cm high. The door has a clear width of 82 cm. 

The common room has a mix of furniture including two height adjustable desks, and two ergonomic chairs. 

There is a central "pod" - this is a small room with a sliding door that can be used for meetings. 

Please click on the thumbnails below to enlarge:

There is ramped access to the gift shop from the Old Schools Quadrangle - the outside courtyard area in the centre of the Old Bodleian library. The floor surface in front of the entrance is uneven and also has a drainage channel running across it. 

The doors into the gift shop are held open during shop opening hours (at the time of this survey, the shop was closed and the photos below reflect this). 

There is a good amount of manoeuvring space inside the shop. Some items are on tables. There are also items on high shelves. The counter is at a wheelchair accessible height. Staff will be happy to assist customers if needed. 

Please click on the thumbnails below to enlarge:

There are two fixed induction loops located at the Information Desk in the Proscholium, and at the Upper Reading Room Staffed Desk.

There is one portable induction loop which is available from the Main Enquiry Desk in the Lower Reading Room.

The library can provide the following assistive equipment:

  • Two ergonomic chairs (Lower Reading Room)
  • Two ergonomic chairs (Upper Reading Room)
  • Two height adjustable desks (Lower Reading Room)
  • Four height adjustable desks (Upper Reading Room)
  • Four height adjustable desks (Gladstone Link)
  • One kneeling chair
  • Five coloured acetate sheets.
  • Daylight reading lamp
  • Two CCTV magnifiers (one fixed, one portable)
  • Five magnifiers 

Please ask at the main enquiry desk in the Lower Reading Room if you wish to use any of this equipment. 

There is also an individual study carrel that readers can use for quiet study, or to use speech recognition software. This is in the Reader Common Room which has step-free access. 

Image gallery

Contact details


Old Bodleian Library
Catte Street
Oxford
OX1 3BG

reader.services@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
01865 277 162

 

Access enquiries


access@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

01865 277 162

 

Contact the Access Guide


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