to consult or view items from the collections are welcomed. Please direct
enquiries to the Librarian. There are regular exhibitions of special collections material (usually two a year) which are hosted in the display cases in the Old and Laudian Libraries. Members are welcome to visit during opening hours; members of the public will need to make an appointment with the Librarian.
We regret that access to the Special Collections and the Old Library will be limited during the summer vacation 2018 from 30 July onwards:
- 30 July – 7 September: Tuesdays 10am-noon; Thursdays 2pm-4pm only for readers who are not affiliated with Oxford University nor otherwise resident in Oxford
- 10-30 September no access to Special Collections or the Old Library for anyone.
The Library contains about 400 manuscripts, ranging in date from the
9th to the 20th century, including some of great historical and artistic importance. There are some 179 medieval manuscripts, numerous post-medieval manuscripts and small collections of Greek and non-European manuscripts. Find out more.
There are significant collections of historic or culturally significant printed books in the Library. Its early printed collections (prior to 1850) approach 20,000 items, with the earliest dating to 1465. These form a rich resource covering many subject areas. There are also collections of more modern printed material relating to literary alumni and a collection of fine printing and livres d'artiste. Find out more.
St John’s counts among its alumni a number of prominent figures of modern English literature. Generous donations to the College of personal papers and book collections have come to form a significant and growing collection of modern literary papers within the Library, particularly relating to Robert Graves, A.E. Housman and Spike Milligan. Find out more.
Scattered around the Library are number of items of historical interest. These range from a 4th-century fragment of papyrus to a 20th-century sculpture by Eric Gill. There are also significant artefacts associated with the Library which are now stored elsewhere. Find out more.