Students and researchers in African Studies at Oxford benefit from the rich resources of the University's libraries and museums. The African Studies Centre also houses its own book collection in the Terence Ranger Reading Room, this being primarily intended for the use of students on the MSc programme.
The libraries listed below have substantial collections of library resources on Africa. Some important libraries for graduate work are mentioned here, but several others may be useful for specialised purposes. A comprehensive list of all of the Libraries associated with the University is available on the main Bodleian Libraries website, as is a map of Oxford libraries.
Central Bodleian Library: the main University library and the second largest library in the UK, the Central Bodleian Library contains extensive and long-established collections covering most aspects of the history, culture and contemporary affairs of Africa.
Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House: commonly known as Rhodes House Library, this is an excellent resource with one of the best collections of books on Africa in the UK. It is the part of the Bodleian Library that specialises in the history and current affairs - political, economic and social - of the Commonwealth and sub-Saharan Africa including the offshore islands. It also contains a large manuscript collection.
Social Science Library: Books, journals and reading list material relating to African politics, economics and statistics are in the Social Science Library (SSL). This library contains substantial collections (mostly in English) relating to contemporary African social science, politics, economics and statistics.
Balfour Library (Pitt Rivers Museum): founded in its present form in 1939, the Balfour Libraryhas a dual function, as the teaching and research library of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and as the research library of the Pitt Rivers Museum. The library holds an extensive collection of books, pamphlets and journal titles on Archaeology and Anthropology, especially material on culture, including art and traditional music.
Tylor Library: housed within the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at 51 Banbury Rd the Tylor Library houses numerous books, print periodicals, and pamphlets dealing with social anthropology and related fields, such as sociology, history and linguistics. In addition to books and journals it provides online access to the university’s electronic resources, including several useful databases for anthropologists.
Pitts Rivers Museum: holds a unique collection of material cultural artefacts from around the world, including Africa.
OxLIP+: In addition the University's numerous libraries, the Bodleian also has an extensive collection of online subscription databases, electronic reference works, e-Journals and e-Book packages which can all be accessed via OxLIP+.
Accessing Library Resources
The Oxford University Library Information System (OLIS) computer catalogue covers holdings in almost all Oxford libraries, including the Bodleian Library and the Social Science Library. It contains records for more than 13 million items held by libraries within, or associated with, the University. The primary public search interface for OLIS is SOLO: Search Oxford Libraries Online, which can be searched by anyone interested in the resources held by Oxford libraries. OLIS can also be searched within Mobile Oxford and via Z39.50.
A series of induction sessions on the use of catalogues, bibliographies and libraries for graduate students working in African Studies is given each year. An individual hands-on session on the use of electronic resources will be given to any reader on request by a specialist member of the staff, who will be happy to discuss any particular interests or requirements.
The Terence Ranger Reading Room
The Terence Ranger Reading Room is located in the African Studies Centre. It houses a non-circulating collection of specialist Africanist books and periodicals. The main holding is a donation from Chris Allen who studied at the University of Oxford and lectured in African Studies for many years at the University of Edinburgh.
Opening Hours: The Reading Room is open during office hours (During Term: Monday to Friday 9:00-5:00 or by special arrangement with the Administrator).
Catalogue: The catalogue to the reading room collection is now available online via EndnoteWeb (Shibboleth authentication required) using the email and password below. Please consider the database as read only.