Sackler Library

The Sackler Library holds a large portion of the classical, art historical, and archaeological works belonging to the University of Oxford, England.

Sackler Library
The library entrance on St John Street, Oxford
TypeAcademic library
LocationSt John Street, Oxford
Items collectedThe University of Oxford collection specialising in archaeology, art history and classics
Legal depositreceives legal deposit books in relevant subject areas via the Bodleian's copyright receipt office
Access and use
Access requirementsCurrent University Card. Bona fide researchers may register to use the Library for reference only.
Other information


The Sackler Library building was completed in 2001 and opened on 24 September of that year, enabling the rehousing of the library of the Ashmolean Museum. The library entrance is at 1 St John Street. It was principally funded by a donation from the multi-millionaire Dr Mortimer Sackler.

It was designed by Robert Adam with Paul Hanvey of ADAM Architecture. Its main building is a circular drum, a reference to the Classical origins of many of its holdings. One of the outer walls of the drum is decorated by a Classical frieze. The architects claim the circular entrance vestibule is derived from the Doric Temple of Apollo at Bassae, first excavated by Charles Robert Cockerell, the architect who designed the adjacent Ashmolean Museum.[1] The Sackler library is administered as part of the multi-site Bodleian Library, the central libraries of the University of Oxford


It is a controversial building (like many associated with the university[2][3][4]) as the wealth of the eponymous funders, the Sackler family, was raised in large part from their role in the US opioid crisis[5], which has killed hundreds of thousands in the US alone[6].


Its holdings incorporate the collections of four older libraries, namely the Ashmolean library, the Classics Lending Library, the Eastern Art Library, the Griffith Institute and the History of Art Library. Major subject areas are:

The Heracles Papyrus, held by the Sackler Library.

Among the celebrated holdings are the Heracles Papyrus, a fragment of 3rd century Greek manuscript containing a poem about the Labours of Heracles, along with over 100,000 fragments found at Oxyrhynchus known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Robert Adam Archived 2010-07-29 at the Wayback Machine
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  6. ^ Research, CNN Editorial. "Opioid Crisis Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved 2020-09-21.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°45′20″N 1°15′40″W / 51.75556°N 1.26111°W / 51.75556; -1.26111