The Library and Archives

Welcome to our Library and Archives


Our collections are the lifeblood enabling many of ӣƵ’s learning, teaching, and research functions.

We aim continually to adapt and improve our service offering to support the current and changing needs of the College and its members, and the needs of scholars worldwide.


If your visit is for a library enquiry, among other things for our rare and early printed books or any of the College’s manuscripts—including those listed in H. O. Coxe,  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1852)—please visit our Library pages


If your visit is for an archival enquiry (material relating to the College from its foundation to the present day), please visit our Archives pages.

Whatever the reason for your visit to our website, I do hope you will find time to peruse the Library Manuscripts Gallery and Rare Books Gallery, and the Archives Gallery, where a selection of images from our celebrated collections of illuminated manuscripts, early printed books, and archives are on show for you to enjoy.

Christopher Skelton-Foord


MA (Cantab), MLitt, MBA, MA (LIS), PhD


Postal address:

The Library and Archives
University of Oxford
Holywell Street
Oxford  OX1 3BN

Telephone: +44 (0)1865 279580



Locating the Library and Archives:

Our location can be found on the  
—New College Library, which also houses our Archives & Records Reading Room, is number 76 on the map—
as well as via .


We provide a reader-focused library service, responsive to and serving the needs of the students and academics of ӣƵ, Oxford.  At its heart is an attractive two-storey library building with a working library of some 70,000 modern texts, where we offer generous borrowing privileges, individual and group study seating areas, and extensive opening hours.  Collections support learning, research, and teaching across all academic disciplines within the College.  Our Library Guide provides a plan of our upper and lower floors and gives the classification system we use to arrange books on the shelves by subject.  The University of Oxford has the largest and finest academic library system in the UK, and the substantial academic e-resources provided by the University are available to ӣƵ members.  Library staff are happy to help you make the most of all the electronic and printed collections available.

We administer and care for extensive and rich archives—which bear national Archive Service Accreditation status.  They comprise administrative records of the College since 1379, title deeds and manorial records of its estates in twenty-eight counties, and more recent papers and special collections amassed by or relating to some of its members.  Our earliest documents date from the 11th century.  There is a regular ingress of modern records from across the College and its various departments, some of which are held temporarily while some are transferred for permanent retention within our archive.

We are the curators and custodians of an internationally renowned collection of rare books and manuscripts to which we add significant items received via donation or purchase.  More manuscripts survive from the medieval library of ӣƵ than from that of any other Oxford or Cambridge college, and we hold what is probably the finest collection of medieval manuscripts of any of the Oxford colleges—and one of the universitys great collections.  New College Library also holds more incunabula (fifteenth-century European imprints) than any other undergraduate college at Oxford.  Our outstanding special collections are used by the wider scholarly community of researchers world-wide.


For news, and to see beautiful images from our world-famous special collections, follow us on , and .

Read about the contents and history of our rich collections from our scholarly open-access e-journal ӣƵ Notes, watch our video series ‘ܰٴǰ’&Բ;Ǿ’, and learn about our institutional life and work over the course of 2023.


ӣƵ Notes

‘Scotus Viator’: R. W. Seton-Watson and the Making of Czechoslovakia

In addition to his work as a historian and writer, ӣƵ alumnus Robert William Seton-Watson (1879–1951) is best known for his political activism for the rights of Central and Eastern European small nations, and for his founding of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) in London. He left more than 3,000 items to New College Library, including books, press cuttings, articles, maps, reports, and memoranda concerning Central and Eastern European politics.


T. G. Masaryk (left) and R. W. Seton-Watson (1928)
Archives of Masaryk Institute, fund T. G. Masaryk, sign. 1928-2-19

© Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences
T. G. Masaryk and Robert William Seton-Watson (1928)


On application to the Librarian, we provide external readers, as well as ӣƵ members, with access to our outstanding collections of rare books and manuscripts.  Provision is limited, so please contact him as far in advance as possible.

We invite all friends, supporters, and alumni of ӣƵ to help us—through the New College Library Fund—to enhance and add to our modern collections, to our outstanding special collections, and to our vital digitisation and conservation work—to benefit students and scholars of today and future generations.