The Balfour Library

The Balfour Library is one of the UK’s leading museum research and teaching libraries for the study of anthropology, archaeology and world music, holding around 20,000 books, 12,000 pamphlets and 300 journal titles.

Opening hours and appointments


Summer 2019 Vacation: Monday to Friday 9am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 4pm

Closed August and around 10 days at Christmas and Easter; restricted hours on May Bank Holidays. Please contact librarian or see library information for exact dates.

Changes with effect 1 October 2019:  The Library, which is based on the first floor of the Museum, is moving to an appointment based system, but will continue to offer books for lending or consultation by registered readers.

The main changes that will affect current and new readers will be:

  • Requests to register with and access the Balfour Library will need to be made at least one working day in advance via Swipe card access to the Library will no longer be available for registered readers.
  • Appointments will be based on the Library staff’s availability, but will normally be available between 9.30am–1pm and 2–4.30pm.
  • Books will now additionally be returnable to Museum reception on the ground floor (South Door Entrance, off South Parks Road) during its normal opening hours (Monday-Friday 9am–2.30pm).

The Balfour Library can be accessed either through the main museum during normal opening hours or via Reception at the South Door entrance in Robinson Close, off South Parks Road.

Registering and borrowing

Any member of the the University may register as a reader, but borrowing is normally restricted to the following: academic staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and School of Archaeology; Human Sciences undergraduates. Other current University members may be given borrowing rights, and external readers admitted for reference only use, at the discretion of the Librarian (

Holdings and services

The library holds about 20,000 books 12,000 pamphlets (not for loan) and 300 journal titles (not for loan), of which about 150 are current, on the subject of Archaeology and Anthropology, especially material on Culture including Art and World Music.

Services: Photocopier, microfiche, access to OLIS (Oxford Libraries Information Services), to which it contributes bibliographic records, available on Ethernet. Please note we are unable to offer inter-library loans or copying at this time.

Contacting the Library

Address: Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PP
Telephone: +44 1865 270 939 Facsimile: +44 1865 270 943
Librarian: Mark Dickerson

Search the Catalogue

SOLO, Oxford University's online library catalogue, lists around 60% of the Balfour titles. The Balfour Library holdings have a BAL sublocation.

List of site pages