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Alexander Library of Ornithology Guide: Home

Opening hours

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

For opening hours please see:

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

Publications that used or are about our collections:

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.

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.

Please contact the Bodleian Libraries Admissions office for information on how to apply for a Reader's ticket.

Where are we?

Alexander Library services are based in the Radcliffe Science Library. The Radcliffe Science Library building is currently closed for refurbishment so science library services are operating temporarily from the the Vere Harmsworth Library on South Parks Road.


1a South Parks Rd

Opening hours:

Further information about services:

There is Pay & Display parking available in Mansfield Road but the RSL@VHL is easily walkable from the city centre. To contact the library please e-mail or phone +44 (0)1865 272800.

Alexander & Ornithology Subject Librarian

Sophie Wilcox's picture
Sophie Wilcox
Alexander Library of Ornithology
Bodleian Libraries
+44 (0)1865 2-72800 (RSL Enquiries)

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.