Every college library is the home of treasured volumes and cherished nooks in which to study. But there are good reasons why the Somerville library holds a special place in the heart of every Somerville student, past and present.

Built in 1903 to the designs of architect Basil Champneys, it is one of the biggest and best-stocked undergraduate college libraries in the university. Our collection holds almost 120,000 items and is enriched by internationally important special collections, including those bequeathed by the estates of John Stuart Mill and Vera Brittain.

Please see our Library Blog for information about using the library, our New Books Blog  and our Book of the Month

The Library in Numbers


items in the library


new purchases every year


oldest book in our collection

Using the Library

The main collection of the Somerville College library is intended primarily for the use of college students and staff. However, the library also contains special collections which are available to view via appointment. Students wishing to know the latest guidance on accessing the library should consult the Somerville Library blog.

view the library blog

The Library Team

The Somerville library team work tirelessly to ensure that the library’s resources remain available to every student who wishes to use them. A friendly bunch, they’re always happy to help with any question or query you have.

If you would like to get in touch reach us at library@some.ox.ac.uk or

Susan Purver Assistant Librarian
Kate O’Donnell Assistant Archivist
Matthew Roper Library Assistant
Anne Manuel Librarian, Archivist and Head of Information Services
Jane Robinson Special Collections Assistant

What's happening at Somerville

News *

The Somerville Archives: Digitising the Paradise of Dainty Devices

The Somerville Archives: Digitising the Paradise of Dainty Devices

News *

The Women Are Up To Something: A New Book on the Somerville Quartet

The Women Are Up To Something: A New Book on the Somerville Quartet

News *

Remembering Somerville Co-Founder Henry Francis Pelham

Remembering Somerville Co-Founder Henry Francis Pelham
Instagram follow us
As the sun sets on another Michaelmas term at Somerville, we wish you all safe travels home and a joyful and peaceful festive break. We hope to see you again soon! ❄️☃️🎄🎁
Puddle, puddle on the floor: tell me, who is the fairest college of them all? 🤔
As a University College of Sanctuary, we are committed to creating opportunities for scholars from sanctuary-seeking backgrounds. 

Thanks to the incredible generosity of our alumni, we are offering two new fully-funded Sanctuary Scholarships this year. They're open to anyone applying for a Masters course starting in 2022 who has been displaced from or within their home country due to conflict, persecution or the abuse of their human rights. 

Please share and help to get this message out there to those that need it most!

To find out more about our work and hear the voices of our refugee scholars, visit https://www.some.ox.ac.uk/about/sanctuary/
🎵 Let it snooow... 🎵 We had our first dusting of winter today. ❄️
It's been an emotional day here at Somerville, as we celebrated our 2021 Leavers on their graduation before remembering Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby, at her memorial service this afternoon. Shirley Williams was not just a lion of British politics, but a great and loyal friend friend of this college - so it was doubly powerful to hear the moving addresses to her from our current and former Principals as well as the Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten, in this place she loved so well and returned to so often. Today has been an apt reminder that, on any given day, a College like ours can be a place of many beginnings and endings, memories old and newly forged.
Merry Oxmas everyone! The College has undergone a festive transformation (including our first ever Darbishire Quad tree) and the hall is laid ready for tonight's Oxmas dinner. (Just in case we've confused you, Oxmas isn't a typo - it's actually one of the university's more recent popular traditions, which involves celebrating Christmas a whole month early so that you can enjoy the festivities with your friends and the college community before you return home for the holidays.) We hope you all have a lovely Oxmas tonight! 🎄🎁⛄🎅
Happy Thanksgiving! We're feeling thankful for the strong ties of affection and shared values that enable us to support each other. We're thankful that the empty college of the last two years is full of happy students again, just like it should be. And we're thankful for the wonderful, global Somerville community 🥰
It was a high table takeover last night as we thanked our amazing student telethon callers for all their hard work earlier this year 😍 We are so grateful to everyone who shared a conversation with one of these wonderful people during the campaign!
We were proud to fly the Transgender Pride flag this weekend to mark Trans Day of Remembrance and support our community. Few things are more important to us than making this college a place where everyone can feel safe to be themselves.