Special Collections

Information for Visiting Readers

Access to Christ Church Special Collections is in the Upper Library from Monday to Friday. Opening hours: 10.00 am - 4.30 pm.

To make an appointment, please email the College Librarian - gabriel.sewell@chch.ox.ac.uk or the Keeper of Special Collections - cristina.neagu@chch.ox.ac.uk. The Special Collections team will also answer your email queries and will provide digital copies of material whenever possible. We can offer remote consultation of material by MS Teams as well.

For news about events and work on Special Collections please follow the Library Exhibitions and Research.

So that readers and collections are best protected, please make sure that:

All colleagues, students, visitors, contractors and members of the public are required to wear a face covering inside all College buildings (unless an individual is exempt from wearing one due to a medical condition). This includes when seated at a study desk in the research area. All other safety measures should also continue to be followed, including social distancing measures of 2 metres.

We ask that readers please do not come to the Library if they have tested positive or are showing symptoms for Covid.

Please wash your hands immediately before entering the Upper Library Room as hand sanitiser residue can damage items in the collections. Hand sanitiser may not be used or brought into the Upper Library.

For further information, please read Guidelines and Rules for 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, among which, first to be finalised, is the Catalogue of Western Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. Scheduled for 2021 are a detailed on-line catalogue of the large Lewis Carroll and the Viscount Portal collections. The digitisation programme involving the core collections of manuscripts is in full swing. To access the documents digitised so far, please click on Digital Library.

The 'Special Collections' section of the website is maintained and updated by Dr Cristina Neagu, Keeper of Special Collections.