The Smallbone Library occupies a pivotal space in the intellectual and academic life of Oakham School.
Covering 2,400 square metres over two floors, and housing in excess of 30,000 books, complemented by a wide range of periodicals and online resources, the Library provides space for both silent and collaborative work, with or without computers.
The Upper Library includes a dedicated room for the teaching of research skills and library-based lessons, while the Lower Library includes a seminar room with a Harkness table around which pupils and staff can discuss ideas in an open-minded and encouraging environment.
We believe that there are three ways in which the Smallbone Library can lay claim to be one of the finest school libraries in the country:
- The space. Few school libraries offer such an attractive and stimulating working environment and on such a generous scale.
- The resources. Our academic collection balances a substantial number of carefully chosen books with a truly impressive range of subscription databases, the majority of which you will find at university. Our well-thumbed and up-to-date fiction collection, meanwhile, bears out research demonstrating the staying power of the printed word.
- The staff. Our investment in a team of 4 professionally qualified Librarians and 4 professionally trained Library Assistants ensures world-class instruction in how to learn for yourself from information. This also means that there is almost certainly a member of Library staff who shares your reading tastes and habits.
The Library's physical centrality means that it is a focal point for celebrating the intellectual, academic and cultural life of the School. Consequently, the Library is host to a rich variety of displays, performances, events and talks that showcase excellence across the curriculum.
Term-time opening hours:
- Monday to Friday 08.30–21.15
- Saturday 08.00–16.00
- Sunday 14.00–18.00
The library has been an indispensable part of my time at Oakham and I cannot imagine my time here without it.Monty Fynn OO (14)
Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?T. S. Eliot (1888–1965) British author
I hope that the Library remains such a fantastic resource for many years to come as it certainly made my experience a lot easier.Alex Chell OO (13)
If one doesn't have words, how does one think?Iris Murdoch (1919–1999) Irish author
The Smallbone Library was a great stepping stone into… [academic] culture, helping me to transition into university life more easily.Beccy Saleeb OO (05)
Oakham has also taught me to “love the library”. I find that it [the Smallbone Library] is the perfect working environment; warm and quiet.Bob Cliffe OO (15)
What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it feels about education.Harold Howe (1918–2002) former US Commissioner of Education
Having worked in the Smallbone Library at Oakham School since September 2001, I had the privilege of taking over the reins as Head of Library and Archives in 2021. The library has an enviable position at the heart of the school physically and we are in the fortunate position of being able to make a difference in the lives of pupils across the school on an academic and pastoral level. I particularly enjoy working with teachers across all subject areas to help their pupils develop as intelligent, inquisitive, and knowledgeable human beings - but can't say I am not particularly excited when working on linguistic topics. I came to Oakham with a Masters in Library and Information Studies from Loughborough, a first degree in French and Linguistics from York and several years' experience of teaching EFL in Belgium and France. Outside of work, I enjoy running - especially at Rutland Water - swimming, challenging myself to learn new languages and getting my family to spend as much time outside as possible.