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.

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.

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.

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 – Emma Carter (
Graduate Trainee Library Assistant – Heather Barr (

Library Fellow Karma Nabulsi

College Archive Professor Erica McAlpine (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, Emma Carter:


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 On card catalogue
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.

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.

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.

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

Visits can be arranged by appointment only, within office hours, and should be arranged with the Development & Alumni Relations Office by emailing We will endeavour to accommodate requests but this may not always be possible. The Lodge will be unable to grant access to the college for those who do not have a pre-arranged appointment. Unfortunately we are currently unable to accommodate any visits to the bar or offer any overnight accommodation. Thank you for your understanding.

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 279087 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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