The exterior of St Peter-in-the-East, the College Library

The College Library is housed in the 12th-century church of St Peter-in-the-East, one of the oldest churches in the city of Oxford. The Library holds approximately 40,000 titles, including multiple copies of key textbooks which focus on the main and special subjects in Oxford undergraduate degrees. The titles are continually reviewed to ensure that the most up-to-date publications are available. Students’ requests for new material are very much welcomed.

WiFi internet access is available throughout the Library and power points for personal laptops are fitted on all reader desks. A number of computer terminals provide access to SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online) to search the online catalogue covering the Library’s stock as well as material in the Bodleian, Faculty and Departmental libraries.

The Library provides a comfortable, welcoming and supportive study area for all members of College.

Library Re-opening

We are delighted to announce we have re-opened to students from 1 September. 

New Covid-19 rules will be in force. Face coverings must be worn in the Library at all times and there is reduced study space to ensure social distancing.

For students currently outside of Oxford an enhanced remote service remains available.

Book due-dates: All current book loans have been renewed until 12.10.20 (Monday 1st week MT).

Remote Hall Library services

Assistance and advice about access to electronic resources are available via email at

For as long as e-commerce and delivery services are available, books can be requested and posted to UK addresses. Non-UK addresses will also be considered on a case by case basis.

To request any of the services please contact or call 01865 279062 and provide as much detail as possible about the resources you require.

Preparing to re-open for Michaelmas 2020

We’ve prepared some questions and answers about how the college Library will operate next academic year 2020-21.


The Library will be open from 9am on Tuesday 1 September.

New Covid rules will be in force and we will ask to maintain social distancing and to clean your desk before and after use.

Please sanitize your hands at the cleaning point in the porch on entering and leaving the Library

Face coverings must be worn at all times in the Library, unless Government exemptions apply.

Please wear a face covering when you enter the Lodge.

You will need to ask a porter to reactivate Library access on your fob. You’ll also need to sign-in.

There is a one-way system in operation in College, please follow the signs.

No other parts of College are open yet, including the JCR & MCR and the computer rooms.

Please go directly to the Library on entry and leave promptly when you have finished work.

Yes, the Library will be open 24/7 as normal.

24-hour opening will be dependent on all Library rules being observed and may be withdrawn if necessary.

All existing Library rules remain in force, especially those forbidding the use of the Library by non-SEH students. Violations of this rule will result in the withdrawal of 24 hour opening.

We are not running a booking system; anyone can enter the Library using their fob.

The number of seats has been reduced due to social distancing, this means we will be using the exam season rules in the Library and any desks left unattended for a long period time may be cleared.

All of the shelves are open for browsing however please be considerate of other people and maintain social distancing at all times.

We will be running a ‘click and collect’ service. Books may be requested via SOLO or by email to

They will be checked out to readers and delivered to the Lodge at 10am, 12pm and 5pm on weekdays.

Absolutely, books can be requested any time up until Monday 28 September. Requests made after this date will be available to collect when you return to College.

Further Information

Returning students

If you are returning to study next academic year you don’t need to do anything about books you currently have on loan. Bring them with you when you come back to Oxford in October and check them in as normal.

All book loans have been extended to 12.10.2020 (Monday 1st week of  next term). This has been done automatically you do not need to renew them yourself.

If you have belongings in College (or elsewhere in Oxford) and are returning during the summer to collect them, you can return any books you have out at that time and any that you have left behind in Oxford. If your possessions are being sent to you, please let us know and we can remove any Library books at that point.

Our book delivery services will continue thought the long vacation. If there are books you need for summer study and revision, please let us know at and we will arrange for them to be sent to you or find electronic resources you can access.


All book loans and your Library account have been extended until you are able to get things back to us, even if it takes a while. We will be in touch with everyone individually with detailed information about returns.

Books with you at home – you are returning to Oxford for a graduation/celebration/visit/to pick up things: If you are returning to Oxford for any reason you can bring your books back with you and return them in person. There will be information about returning books included with any communication from College about collecting possessions or coming back for a celebration.

Books still in college: If you have Library books on your account but you left them in Teddy Hall when you went home, we can collect them and check them in. If they are in your room, please do email the Library with permission to collect them (if you’d rather wait until you can come in person to clear your room, that’s absolutely fine). If your possessions are being sent to you, please let us know and we can remove any Library books at that point.

You are not returning to Oxford/can’t carry that many books: Please get in touch with us and we will look at where you are and what you have and decide the best course of action including paying for any shipping charges. We will not ask you to spend any of your own money returning books to us and please don’t send anything back without talking to us first.

We will also take any books from the Bod and other libraries and ensure that they are safely returned.

Please do get in touch at if you have any questions at all.

The Bodleian has now re-opened to readers and a limited number of University Library desks can be booked. However,all of the many e-resources it provides are still available.

See the Bodleian Online resources webpage

Many publishers are making hundreds more text books available via SOLO as e-books. The Bod LibGuide for ebooks has details of new resources as they become available as well really helpful advice for accessing them and getting the best use out of the texts.

There also LibGuides available for all the other e-resources.

Several faculty libraries have put up subject specific guidance, the list below will be kept updated.

Current Faculty specific pages:

Radcliffe Science Library
History Faculty Library
Social Sciences Library
Taylorian (Modern Languages)
English Faculty Library
Philosophy and Theology Faculty Library
Sainsbury Library (Business School)

Would it help you to have texts in a more accessible format? The Bodleian has SensusAccess which is easy to use and can:

  • Convert files into a wide range of alternative formats: including audio books (MP3 and DAISY), e-books (EPUB, EPUB3 and Mobi) and digital Braille, to meet student needs.
  • Create accessible documents from inaccessible files. For example, an image-based pdf or .jpg can be converted into an accessible Word document.

If you have any problems accessing anything or need any help or advice please email us at and we will do all we can to help.

Opening hours

The Library is open to St Edmund Hall students 24 hours, seven days a week.

Staff are available Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 5pm.

We are currently closed to all visitors.

Contact the library:

  • by email:
  • by telephone (Front desk): (01865) 279091
  • by telephone (Librarian’s Office): (01865) 279062
  • by post: The Library, St Edmund Hall, Queen’s Lane, Oxford, OX1 4AR.

Librarian James Howarth
Assistant Librarian – Sophie Quantrell

Library Fellow Karma Nabulsi

College Archive – Nicholas Davidson (Archive Fellow)

Students studying in the College library

Our job as librarians is to do our best to make sure you can access material. If, for whatever reason, you find using the library difficult, permanently or temporarily, big issue or small, ‘official’ or not, we are here to help.

These are some of the things we do currently:

  • Book-delivery to pidges and rooms. Email the library:
  • Ask or email if you need help finding, reaching, or carrying books.
  • Librarians will always be willing to sit down with you and your reading list to help you figure out how to find each item.

We can set things up around you if none of the above seems appropriate. To discuss anything of this nature, please contact our Assistant Librarian, Sophie Quantrell:


Library equipment is for all students to use. We currently have:

Equipment Where to find it
Coloured overlays, magnifying sheets, wrist rests In the tiny drawer on the end of the card catalogue
Raised laptop/ work stands Please ask staff the first time. Otherwise, behind the library desk in the labelled flap cupboard.
Book stands Around the library, card catalogue, chancel
Snake weights to hold pages open Ask librarians
Health and Well-being book section Turn left down the D-B aisle as you come into the library. Small bookcase straight ahead.

If there is any other equipment that you would find useful for any reason, please do let us know.

The College Library, the converted church of St Peter-in-the-East, in the snow

The Library is open only to members of St Edmund Hall. Other members of the University may be admitted to read in the Library by appointment during staffing hours, if the book required is not held by any other University library in Oxford. If you wish to consult an item in our collection please contact the Librarian by email in advance before visiting.

Viewing St Peter-in-the-East

St Peter-in-the-East, a beautiful 12th-century church, is now the St Edmund Hall college library. As this is a working library for our students, we are unable to arrange visits for tourists or tour groups.

Prospective students and members’ personal guests are welcome to visit the Library briefly as part of their visit to the College. If you would like to bring a small group of visitors to see the Library, kindly contact the Librarian in advance. During term-time, it is best to arrange this for before 11:00 am, usually the quietest period. During the final examination period (approximately end of April to end of June), the Library cannot accommodate any group visits.

External visitors wishing to access St Peter-in-the-East for either study or research, or for those with a connection to the church, please contact the Librarian in advance: for these purposes, we usually offer access during the vacation periods.

Visitor Guidelines

  • During term time, visitors view the library from the security gate/main desk area only, to minimise disruption to study.
  • Please silence all mobile phones and other devices before entering the library.
  • Visitors need to maintain silence in the library and in the South Porch.
  • Visits should last no longer than five minutes.
  • Groups are ideally comprised of six people, to a maximum of ten, and accompanied by a member of St Edmund Hall.
The ceiling of the Teddy Hall library

Aularians (alumni of St Edmund Hall) who would like to visit the Library briefly or show the Library to friends and family as part of a visit to College should contact the Librarian, preferably in advance of their visit. If you find yourself at the Lodge, please ask and we will do our best to accommodate you. Please note the Library is very busy in term time, and we hope you will understand why we would rather not disturb students during this time.

Old Members who are staying in College and would like to access the Library or the Aularian Room during this time are welcome to apply to the Librarian. Those living in Oxford and wanting ongoing access to the Library should apply in writing to the Librarian. The Library does not have the space to give regular access to all those who are not current members, but admissions during quieter times are certainly possible. Borrowing privileges are restricted to current members who have valid University cards.

Donations to the Aularian Collection

The College is particularly proud of its collection of publications by Old Members and we are always keen to receive new books. Our collection policy for the Aularian Bookshelf is flexible but since space is at a premium the emphasis is on books authored and edited by Aularians. We cannot give space to journal articles, leaflets, or other similar booklets not directly related to St Edmund Hall or to other non-monographic items more suitable for donation to the College Archive than the Library. We are not able to accommodate duplicates either.

Notwithstanding these restrictions, with the Aularian Room directly above the narthex we are in a really good position to display the scholarly and literary output of alumni in an appropriate manner. We are very grateful for the support and donations the Library receives from Aularians, and the fond memories it continues to inspire.

A pile of books in the Old Library

The Hall Library was founded on the basis of donations. Our first collection of books was begun under the auspices of Dr Thomas Tullie (Principal 1658-1676), who initiated a system by which members at the end of their studies would make a gift to the Hall in the form of either books or plate. Gifts of volumes have formed an essential part of our accessions, adding to our academic collection and maintaining the College’s connections with its Old Members. We are immensely grateful for this continued support and the donations the library receives, large or small.

Our library acquisitions policy is flexible; we can accept a wide range of materials, but the emphasis is on items relevant to undergraduate and/or postgraduate studies. Space is at a premium, which means that we are engaged in a continual process of deaccessioning, as well as making new acquisitions. We cannot give space to duplicates and we only keep the most recent editions of undergraduate textbooks.

Those thinking of giving books to the Library are very welcome to contact the Librarian in advance to discuss any potential donation or bequest. Donors are always welcome to give books on the understanding that the Library may not be able to add all the titles to stock.

Financial donations to support the work of the library, including support for the Old Library to catalogue our collection and for its preservation and conservation are always welcome. If you are interested in giving to the College Library, please contact the Development & Alumni Relations Office on 01865 279055 or email

Alumni can find further information about donations to the Aularian Collection in the tab above.

Inside the Old Library

Old Library

The Old Library was completed in 1686 and is reputedly the first Oxford library to have shelves against the walls, and the last to chain its books.

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A page from one of St Edmund Hall's Benefactors' Books


The St Edmund Hall Archive exists to collect, manage and utilise the recorded heritage of both the administrative and social aspects of the College.

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