Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre Library
St Antony’s Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre (RESC) Library has approximately 24,000 volumes and subscribes to a wide range of journals. The Centre library has specialist strength within certain fields, especially Russian and Soviet politics and history. Holdings are essentially in Russian. Since 1991 acquisitions have gone onto SOLO, Oxford University’s online union library catalogue.
Membership of the College also provides access to the University libraries. Oxford’s main University Library, the Bodleian, has extensive holdings of Russian and Eurasian books and the University’s Taylor Institution Library holds a large collection of Russian literature.
Access to the RESC Library
The Library is primarily for use by current Russian and East European Studies students, though there is some scope for use by other readers whose research relates to the region. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any enquiries.
The Library is open from Monday to Friday from 9.00am – 9.00pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10.00am – 6.00pm
(Please note that the Librarian does not work on Wednesdays afternoons)
A brief history of the Russian Centre Library
The Russian and East European Centre at St Antony’s was founded in 1953, three years after the College opened its doors. The first Director was David Footman, who lived in a flat on the top floor of the Main Building. In 1956 he established an informal Russian library – commonly known at the time as ‘Red Corner’ – next to his sitting room. The collection gradually expanded, and moved in 1959 to 1 Church Walk; the first Centre Librarian, Valerie Jensen, was appointed in 1960. Later incumbents were Lydia Hobbs, then Jackie Willcox (who also looked after the administrative running of the Centre from 1982-2007). Upon Jackie’s retirement, Richard Ramage took up post in January 2008 as Centre Administrator and Librarian.
When 1 Church Walk was handed over to the Nissan Institute in 1971, the Russian collection moved to its current location in the Main Building. According to one story, after the College Warden had shown a delegation of Soviet embassy visitors round the library, a report in the Soviet press claimed that the card index was a means of ‘keeping tabs on people’, while Centre Fellow Harry Willetts was described elsewhere as representing ‘an after-belch of Trotskyism’. Disregarding such Cold War vilification, the Centre continued to acquire books, journals and newspapers in Russian, and space for materials eventually became extremely constricted.
In 2003 the Russian and East European Centre celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, and was re-named the Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre (a name-change which reflected the Centre’s shift in research focus after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s).
In March 2008 an extensive refurbishment of the library was started, under the aegis of Robert Service, and was completed in spring 2009, by which time Alex Pravda was Director. The project was designed and overseen by local architect Graham Bannell, whose imaginative development of the space garnered enthusiastic praise. The Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre now enjoys the benefits of a dedicated library book-stack; meanwhile the RESC Library Reading Room has hosted many events and exhibitions since 2009, and continues to be an admired and popular environment for study in the College.
Thanks and acknowledgements to Jackie Willcox and The History of St Antony’s College Oxford, 1950-2000 by C.S. Nicholls