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The Humanities and Social Sciences Library has the largest book collection in Norway. Here you may find both brand new and very old books, rare collections, and study and research literature of current interest.

Old books


The library has about 2.500.000 books in both open and closed stacks.

Open Stacks
Approximately 500.000 books are kept in open stacks, where you are able to find books on your own. To locate books from these stacks it is useful to take a look at the overview showing where the books are situated, in subject order, throughout the library. 
Subject order of books

Closed Stacks
About 2.000.000 books are down in the closed stacks, and only library staff have access here. Books from these stacks must be ordered in advance. 


You have access to thousands of e-books through The University of Oslo Library. Search Oria to find books you are looking for. A sample of relevant e-book packages can be found here. (In norwegian)


Latest volumes are arranged in alphabetical and subject order/Dewey groups on Level 1.
Arrangements of Journals

Older volumes are kept in an open stack on Level U, and in closed stacks in the basement (1980 and older). These must be ordered in advance. Journals must be read in the library, and are not for loan.


We have a newspaper area on Level 1 where you can read a broad variety of daily, weekly and monthly newspapers, with a balance between subjects, continents and political areas. The newspapers can be found in Oria, or you can take a look at this overview (in norwegian). Newspapers can only be read in the library, and are not for loan.


We have a large collection of fiction on Level U. You will find literature in a variety of original languages, as well as Norwegian. Use Oria to locate books in the collection. 
Map to Level U

The Oslo Papyrus Collection

A rare Papyrus collection is kept on Level 4 (Mezzanine). The collection is mainly a research collection, and thus not available to all. Federico Aurora, keeper of the Papyrus collection, must be contactet if you want to access it. A digitalization project (OPES) is in progress. Read more about the Oslo Papyrus Collection and the OPES project

Rare Books Collection

Throughout the library rare books and collections are kept, and here are a few examples of what you may find:

  • The Kroepelien collection or Bibliotheca Polynesiana is a very valuable collection of literature from and about the Pacific, and related areas.
  • Facsimile Collection, a collection of valuable facsimilies of important manuscripts, books and other documents. 
  • Pedanius Dioscorides: De materia medica. One of the worlds oldest and most influential handbook of plants. We have two different editions of the book, and both of them are at Level 4 (The Mezzanine) 
Published June 17, 2011 10:33 AM - Last modified Aug. 20, 2020 1:18 PM