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Radcliffe Science Library set to close until summer 2021

The Radcliffe Science Library (RSL) is set to close from January 2020 until summer 2021, as revealed by Bodleian Libraries in new plans.

The RSL is the main teaching and research science library at the university, and the library holds the Legal Deposit material for all MPLS and medical disciplines.

The 26,000 books in the RSL collection that have been borrowed in the last two years will be temporarily relocated to the Vere Harmsworth Library during the Christmas vacation, from which all science library services will be delivered until May/June 2021.

The Vere Harmsworth Library is located on the upper floors of the Rothermere American Institute on South Parks Road, and is Oxford University’s principal research library for American Studies.

Books that have not been borrowed in the last two years will be held in the Bodleian book storage facility offsite, but students and researchers will be able to request them for delivery via SOLO to be put back on open shelves.

Bodleian Libraries has revealed that these books were moved offsite during the recent summer vacation.

The refurbishments are part of the planned Parks College Development, which will establish a new graduate college on the Parks Road site, in the heart of the University Science Area. Plans to use the Science Library as the site for Parks College were announced in December 2018.

The college will share its building with the Radcliffe Science Library, and from its reopening in 2021, the library shelves will also include Parks College collections. The redevelopment of the site will also include the western wing of the Organic Chemistry Laboratory and Abbot’s Kitchen.

The historic RSL will remain in the building on the second floor, but the first floor will be instead dedicated to Parks College administration and social spaces, including a function room, dining hall and lounge.

The Radcliffe Science Library was first established in 1861. The current building was opened in 1901, and the Library was integrated into the Bodleian Library in 1927.

It gains its name from John Radcliffe, a major benefactor of the University.

One part of the library, the Jackson Wing, is Grade II listed.

Bodleian Libraries have been contacted for comment.

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