Visitors are welcome to come and see a changing programme of themed exhibitions in the Old and Laudian Libraries. Historic manuscripts, books and papers from the collections are usually on display.


Current exhibition

An Online Exhibition of Women’s History at St John’s

LibraryExhibition-2020TT.pngThis online exhibition showcases both the history of women at St John's College, and the women within the collections. It has drawn together the College's collections from the Library, Archive, and Pictures. The physical exhibition was planned for Trinity Term 2020 in the Library & Study Centre, to coincide with the variety of events planned to mark 40 Years of Women at St John's College. Due to the current restrictions caused by the development of Covid-19, the closest approximation achievable to a physical exhibition was this online exploration of the women in the College's collections. While this provides an overview of what would have been the exhibition, there are limits to an online exhibition. The sense of wonder and engagement with collections that is magnified when you can see the original object is difficult to capture in a digital replica. However, there are benefits to digital exhibitions: images of multiple pages within a book can now be displayed, and the exhibition can be visited at any time (and in any location) to suit you.

View the online exhibition here on Prezzi here

We have a plain text accessible PDF version of the exhibition here.

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Previous exhibitions

2020 Stars & Surgery: History of Science Collections at St John’s College.

Special Collections Today and Tomorrow: celebrates the opening of our state-of-the-art Library & Study Centre.

2019 Richard Murphy (1927-2018): celebrates the Anglo-Irish poet

'By herself': rediscovering the history of women at St John's College, Oxford: an exhibition exploring the history of women at St John’s, from its founding in 1555 through to the modern day.

2017 Stories from the Shelves: exploring the history of St John's Library and its readers

2017 "excuse the scrawl": literary letters from St John's College special collections

2016/17 Always something new: Africa in the Special Collections of St John's College

2016 Do we need pictures?:illustrations in the earliest printed books

2015/16 In the Like Case: a 17th-century medical correspondence illustrated with early medical books

2015 Not An Illustration: abstract book art in livres d'artiste

2014/15 Visited by all the Gods: the context of the letters of W.B. Yeats

2014 The Field of Human Conflict: war through the ages

2013/14 Alpha to Zed: a classical alphabet

2013 The Path that Sinners Tread: the seven deadly sins

2012/13 Revolutions: astrology, astronomy & astronauts

2012 Liturgy: sex, violence & prayer

2011/12 Something Rich and Strange: the exploration of America

2011 Catching Breath: language & writing

2010 Birds, Bees & Bonnacons: zoological illustration

Exhibitions are open to all members of College and their guests, and alumni with up to three guests. Members of the public wishing to see an exhibition should contact the Librarian in advance.

libraryVisiting the Library

Prospective students & members of the public
Prospective students are welcome to visit the Library during Library opening times. Other prospective visitors should email the Librarian to see if this is possible. 

Academic researchers
Academic researchers are welcome to consult material not available elsewhere in the University. Please contact the Librarian to check the item is available and to make an appointment. Graduate students should bring a letter from their supervisor. Visitors requiring special access should make this clear when writing. Please note that the permission of the College will be needed for publication.

Alumni and members' visitors
Members may show friends or colleagues around the Library, and should always sign them into the Visitors' Book at the Desk. Guided tours for small groups may be arranged with the Librarian. Alumni are welcome to visit the library during normal opening hours, and to bring their families and friends, signing them in as guests.

Library Posters