Library

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The Alexander Library of Ornithology is one of the foremost ornithological reference libraries in the world.  It holds extensive collections of 19th and 20th century books, pamphlets and periodicals, and an archive of ornithological notebooks and diaries. It is an international resource with the collections covering ornithology, natural history, conservation, ecology and behaviour.

Founded in the 1930’s on the personal collections of Wilfred Backhouse Alexander, it was originally housed at 91 Banbury Road. W.B. Alexander was the first Director of the Oxford Bird Census (the predecessor of the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology) and on his retirement in 1945 he became the first Librarian, holding the position until 1955. The Library was named in his honour in 1947.

Today, much of the material within the collections is received via donation or through exchange schemes. The library enjoys a close relationship with the British Ornithologists’ Union and books which have been reviewed within its journal, The Ibis, are subsequently deposited in the Alexander Library. The Library also houses the British Falconers’ Club Library.

It has a stock of around 11,000+ books, 85,500 offprints/reports, 500 theses; some 500 current journals plus another 1,500 non-current.

Opening Hours

Monday – Wednesday : 09.30 – 14.00         (During School term)

Monday – Tuesday: 09.30 – 17.00         (During School vacation)

If the Librarian is away then the Library is accessible to key fob holders only.

Please contact the Librarian and make an appointment to be assured of access.

Check Library Libguide for latest information.

Admissions Policy

The Library is open for reference use only to all holders of a current University card or valid Bodleian Library card. Members of the Edward Grey Institute are entitled to key fob out-of-hours access.

External visitors are welcome to visit and can be admitted on a one-off Day Pass on presentation of identification. Visitors must contact the library to make an appointment in advance of visiting.

If you wish to use the library for a longer period you will need to apply for a reader’s ticket from the Bodleian Libraries Admissions office.