The Library

Visiting the library

Built in 1857 and originally the Society’s debating chamber, the Oxford Union 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 none other than William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and retain the stunning vibrancy typical of Pre-Raphaelite art.

We are pleased to offer the Old Library, the Poetry Room, and the Goodman Library as spaces for our members.

Term time open hours:

Monday to Friday 09:30 – 19:00

Saturday 11:00 – 17:00

Vacation open hours:

Monday to Friday 09:30 – 17:00

Fixed closed dates: 26 August 2022 – 12 September 2022 inclusive.



Non-Members visiting the library:

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

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

There is a charge of £3 per person, increasing to £5 per person should you wish to view the debate chamber in addition (subject to availability).


For more information please email: or call +44 (0) 1865 246782

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

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.

If you would like to use the Library but are not yet a member of the Union, please see the joining page.

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

  • Wi-Fi
    • Printing, scanning, and photocopying: 5p per b&w sheet, 25p for colour. Documents for printing to be emailled to
  • IT equipment to borrow: A selection of chargers and cables. Please ask at the enquiry desk for more information.

Thomas Corrick, Librarian-in-Charge:

Laura Johnson, Deputy Librarian:

Elizabeth Piper, Assistant Librarian:

Anna Murdoch, Library Assistant:

The Library Team aim to create an inclusive environment for all our members, especially those with disabilities. If you have a disability and require extra support from us, please contact our librarian-in-charge who 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: Speak to a member of the Library Team who will set this up for you.
  • 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 training in disability awareness.
  • Reserved seating: Email, phone, or speak to a member of staff and we can organise reserved seating if required for accessibility.


  • Height adjustable desk.
  • Noise cancelling headphones.
  • Desk lamps.
  • Book rests.
  • Magnifiers.
  • Coloured acetate overlays.