A visitor in the Upper Library - Photo: © John Cairns - www.johncairns.co.uk

Visiting the historic library

Visiting the historic library

Please note: during Trinity term (April to the end of June) we maintain a quiet environment for students to prepare for exams. During these months we are generally unable to offer guided visits to the college and historic library. Organisers of academic groups in Oxford only in Trinity term should contact the Fellow Librarian directly to discuss visiting possibilities. Those wishing to arrange in advance a visit during the summer months should email tours@merton.ox.ac.uk.

Visiting the historic Upper Library is possible only with a college guide. From July to September, historical tours of the College and Old Library take place, starting at 2:00pm and 3:00pm daily (except for those days when the College is closed to visitors). Spaces are limited, so those wishing to come on the tour are advised to book with the Tour Coordinator (up to 24 hours in advance) or with the College Lodge on the day. Any remaining spaces will be made available on the door. There is a charge of £5.00 per person (£3.00 for University members) for the tour, which lasts for approximately 50 minutes. The charge includes regular admission to the College site.

If you wish to book a library tour for a small group (up to 12 people per group), please email the Tour Coordinator for up-to-date information. Advance booking is essential. There is an admission charge of £5 per person (£3.00 for University members) which also includes admission to the College site.

Please note that access to the Upper Library is by a flight of 17th-century stairs.

Specialist interest/group visits

If you would like to arrange a group visit or research visit to the Upper Library, please complete either the group tour request form or the research visit request form as appropriate. Once we have received your details, we will contact you about scheduling a visit at a mutually convenient time. The number of people permitted in the historic library at one time is limited, and larger groups should be prepared to discuss flexible timetabling. Please note that the scheduling of visits depends on staff commitments, and on college events that may be taking place. Group visits and tours are usually not possible during the final examination period (approximately April – end June).

Virtual Tour

Take a virtual tour of the library courtesy of Google Street View:

You can find out more about the stained glass in the Upper Library on the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi.