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Bodleian K B Chen China Centre Library Guide: Home

Guide to resources

Opening hours

Term time: Mon-Fri 9.00 -19.00, Sat 11.00-14.00
Vacation: Mon-Fri 9.00 -17.00; closed Sats except 0th week
Closed: 10 days at Christmas, 5 days at Easter; late summer Bank Holiday


Mon. 13th March – Fri. 21st April: 09.00 – 17.00

Closed Sat. except 22nd April: 11.00 – 14.00

Closed Thurs 13th - Mon. 17th April inclusive



From Monday 6th March inclusive, the due back date for all normal lending books (until Sunday 16th April inclusive) is Saturday 22nd April.

Library rules

See Bodleian K B Chen China Centre Library website (click on link below). Further to the rules noted on the website, normal lending books can be self renewed up to five times by readers at any computer in the University.

China Centre


Holdings and services

The collection owes its existence to a grant made to the University in 1948 following the recommendations of the Scarbrough Interdepartmental Commission of Enquiry on Oriental, Slavonic, East European and African Studies. With these funds a basic sinological lending library was assembled which included significant holdings of Chinese collectanea (congshu). The Chinese Faculty Library, as it was then known, was housed in and around the offices of the academic staff, first at 7 Merton Street, then in Beaumont Street, before becoming part of the new Oriental Institute Library in 1961. It moved to its present premises in the basement of the Institute for Chinese Studies, Walton Street, in 1994.

The library, which currently holds some 45,000 volumes, functions as a teaching collection (the research material being held in the Central Bodleian's Department of Oriental Collections and in the Eastern Art Library). It comprises western works on most aspects of China except art and archaeology; a selection of texts in Chinese relevant to the courses offered; and a reference section of works (in all languages) concerned with China and the Chinese diaspora. The books (periodicals and pamphlets being kept in a separate sequence) are arranged on the shelves by subject according to the Harvard-Yenching classification, a copy of which is kept by the terminals. There are two main sections: the main lending collection is in the mobile shelving in the north and south wings, while some of the oversize books and the reference section of confined dictionaries, bibliographies etc., occupy the static shelving around the reading room. Periodicals are shelved in the reception corridor.  There is a display of current periodicals in the Reading Room.

The library's western language stock is recorded on OLIS, its post-1991 Chinese material in the allegro Chinese catalogue, and its Japanese sinology in the allegro Japanese catalogue; pre-1992 acquisitions in Chinese are entered in the author/title card catalogue (Wade-Giles transliteration). OLIS is searchable by means of its many indexes, including title, author, subject and keyword; the allegro catalogues are accessible both in original script and in transliteration.  External access to all on-line catalogues is available both via telnet and the web. From 1st August, 2009, the library has been instructed to adopt the Library of Congress Classification for all new acquisitions. These can be found in the mobile stack by the emergency/disabled exit.

No attempt has been made to build up a comprehensive collection of journals, since most relevant titles are taken somewhere in Oxford. Periodicals are recorded in the appropriate on-line catalogues and current issues of selected titles are placed on display. The library holds information on journals held by other libraries in the University and staff are always willing to help locate a title not found in the library's own limited collection or on OLIS. Periodicals may not be borrowed.  Many of our periodicals are currently available on-line (full text) at Oxford University E-journals.

Services include SOLO original script internet access to sources in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, self-service printing, copying and scanning (PCAS), microform reader and lockers for the use of regular readers.

Subject Guide

Contact information

Librarian: Minh Chung tel: (01865) 280432, email:

Other staff Trevor Langrish tel: (01865) 280434, email:
Caroline Schade tel: (01865) 280430, email:
Geneviève Wardley tel: (01865) 280436, email:

For queries about the Chinese language collections, please, contact Joshua Seufert (HD Chung Chinese Studies Librarian) on tel: (01865) 280437, email:  . He is also based in the China Centre Library.