Skip to main content

Alexander Library of Ornithology Guide: Home

Opening hours

The Alexander Library of Ornithology library service is based in the Radcliffe Science Library.

  • Book, journal and reprint collections are held in the Book Storage Facility (BSF) and are available to order via SOLO to Bodleian Libraries reading rooms.
  • Archive and rare book collection are available for consultation in the Special Collections Reading Rooms in the Weston Library. Please contact the Alexander Librarian in the first instance if you wish to discuss the holdings. To book an appointment to view the material please email:

Any queries relating to the Alexander Library collections should be directed to or, if I am away from the library,

Alexander Library Enquiries is normally staffed during these hours:

MONDAY - WEDNESDAY : 9.30am - 2.00pm

Publications that used or are about our collections:

Covid-19 Update

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Bodleian Libraries are closed until further notice.

While our physical services are suspended we are continuing to provide and expand our digital services.

Please find more information here:

I am continuing to work part-time from home during the closure and can be contacted at:

About the Alexander Library of Ornithology

Image of the new Alexander Library at the Radliffe Science Library


The Alexander Library of Ornithology is one of the foremost ornithological reference libraries in the world.  It holds extensive collections of 19th, 20th and 21st 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 Wilfrid 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.

Admissions policy

The Library is open for reference use only to all members of the University with a current University card and to holders of valid Bodleian Libraries cards.

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.

Where are we?

Alexander Library services are based in the Radcliffe Science Library, on the corner of South Parks Road and Parks Road. A map of the location of the Radcliffe Science Library can be found here -

There is Pay & Display parking available in Mansfield Road but the Radcliffe Science Library is easily walkable from the city centre.There is limited disabled parking space outside the Radcliffe Science Library. It is essential to pre-book this space in advance of your visit. To pre-book space, please E-mail or phone on +44 (0)1865 272800.

For further information on transport and parking please see:

Alexander & Ornithology Subject Librarian

Sophie Wilcox's picture
Sophie Wilcox
Alexander Library of Ornithology
Bodleian Libraries
Radcliffe Science Library
Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3QP
+44 (0)1865 2-72800

Need Help?

For ornithology subject enquiries please contact Sophie Wilcox:

For other subject enquiries please check our Subjects page.

General information about Oxford University science libraries is available here.