Special Collections

Christ Church is one of the major research libraries in the world, home to tens of thousands of priceless documents and an impressive range of collections. They encompass a vast array of rare and unique materials in a multitude of formats, ranging from illuminated manuscripts, and early printed books to family papers, maps, artifacts, images in all formats. These collections support research by members of Christ Church and Oxford University, as well as an international community of scholars.

True to its legacy and committed to the sharing of knowledge, the library is engaged in a series of large-scale projects aimed at creating important new research tools. Among the tools currently being developed are the catalogue of early printed books in Roman scripts (it is estimated that the collections comprise circa 80,000 works) and the catalogues of early printed Hebrew books and manuscripts (Christ Church has the second largest collection in Oxford after the Bodleian).  Most of the early printed books collections at Christ Church appear in SOLO, the University union catalogue. We are still adding records on a daily basis and will continue to do so for a number of years, so, if you are searching for a specific work and find it does not appear in SOLO, please do get in touch with us, as the book may be part of our collections but has not been catalogued yet. The library is also developing online manuscripts databases. Soon to be finalized is the Catalogue of Western Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. Scheduled for 2016 are a detailed on-line catalogue of the large Lewis Carroll and the Viscount Portal collections. Further progress with the digitization programme involving the core collections of manuscripts is expected as well. The 'Research Collections' section of the website is maintained and updated by Dr Cristina Neagu, Keeper of Special Collections.

Information for Visiting Readers

Christ Church Library is open to bona fide researchers by prior appointment only. Readers should bring an institutional letter of introduction and a valid Bodleian or British Library reader's card to serve as identification. Postgraduate students should bring a letter of introduction from their supervisor. Since seating for external readers is limited, we cannot guarantee to accommodate external readers at very short notice. In particular, it is difficult to admit external readers during the months of May and June, when our undergraduates are preparing for their final examinations. Please contact us to make an appointment at least two working days in advance of your proposed visit.
To contact the Keeper of Special Collections, please telephone or email:
Tel: 01865 276 265

To contact the College Librarian please telephone or email:
Tel: 01865 276263

To contact the Archives, please telephone or email:
Tel: 01865 276171

Special Collections are open Monday to Friday, 10am-12.30pm and 2pm-4.30pm (provided there is a member of staff available in the Upper Library). Please contact us to arrange an appointment.

Please note that during winter months low temperatures are recorded in the reading room where special collections material can be consulted. We strongly advise to dress accordingly.