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The Old Library

Built in 1857 and originally the Society’s debating chamber, the Oxford Union Old Library is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world and a striking example of Victorian architecture. The murals adorning its walls were painted by William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and retain the stunning vibrancy typical of Pre-Raphaelite art.

In addition to the Old Library, we are pleased to offer the Poetry Room and the Goodman Library as spaces for our members to read and study.

For more information on the Library and our Archives, particularly the history of the Union, please visit our dedicated library and archives website.

Opening Hours

Term time

Monday to Friday 09:30 – 19:00

Saturday 11:00 – 17:00


Monday to Friday 09:30 – 17:00

Fixed Closed Dates

Closed 18 August. Reopen 5 September

Library Information

  • All members of the Oxford Union Society may borrow from the Library.
  • Book and DVD loans are for two weeks at a time during term time and for the duration of any vacation period.
  • Members may borrow up to 8 books and 5 DVDs at a time.
  • Books and DVDs may be renewed on SOLO.
  • Vacation borrowing for books starts on the Monday of 7th week in each term. Items borrowed for the vacation are due back in 1st week of the following term. Members may borrow up to 10 books and 5 DVDs for the vacation.

    Researchers from outside the University of Oxford may visit the reading rooms for reference only, if we have resources which are unavailable elsewhere.

  • Wifi
  • Printing, scanning, and photocopying: 5p per b&w sheet, 25p for colour. Documents for printing should be emailled to
  • IT equipment to borrow: A selection of chargers and cables.

  • Thomas Corrick, Librarian-in-Charge:

    Laura Johnson, Deputy Librarian:

    Elizabeth Piper, Assistant Librarian:

    Rosie Ruixi Zhang, Graduate Trainee:

    The Library Team aim to create an inclusive environment for all our members, especially those particular accessibility needs. If you require extra support from us, please speak to a member of the Library Team, email our Librarian-in-Charge, or call us on +44 (0) 1865 951073, and we will be happy to discuss what we can offer.

    We currently offer a variety of services and equipment:


  • Extended loans if requested.
  • Proxy borrowing: If you aren’t able to access the library in person, you can send someone to borrow on your behalf.
  • Book retrieval service: Staff will happily fetch a book that you may not be able to access.
  • Postal loans and returns.
  • Renewals can be requested via phone and email, there’s usually no need to come in person.
  • Staff mediated printing, scanning, and photocopying service.
  • A well-trained and professional Library Team who undergo regular refresher accessibility training.
  • Reserved seating if required for accessibility.
  • Equipment

  • Height adjustable desk.
  • Noise cancelling headphones.
  • Book rests.
  • Magnifiers.
  • Coloured acetate overlays.
  • Non-Members Visiting the Old Library

    We welcome visitors to the Old Library who wish to view the murals or simply have a look around.

    For small groups of up to 5 there is no need to book ahead. For larger groups and tour groups, please email with proposed visitor numbers, date, and time.

    There is a charge of £5 per person, increasing to £8 per person should you also wish to view the debate chamber as part of your visit (subject to availability). School groups are not charged.

    For more information, including bespoke tours, please email: or call 01865 951073

    For questions pertaining to the Union’s records and archives, please contact:

    Contact details

    Frewin Court
    Oxford, OX1 3JB

    +44 (0)1865 241353

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