Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 17:47 UK

Bodleian stands by stepladder ban

Bodleian Library
Parts of the library were built in the 16th Century

Stepladders have been banned from part of Oxford University's famous Bodleian Library over health and safety fears.

Some students are frustrated that they cannot access hundreds of books on the higher shelves of the Duke Humfrey reading room.

Before the ban, staff had to climb on a 6ft (1.8m) balcony and then on to a ladder to reach the top two shelves.

The university now says it can not move the books from their "original historic location" on the room's balcony.

'Very frustrating'

As a result of the stalemate, some students say they are having to travel to libraries as far away as London.

Laurence Benson, a spokesman for the Bodleian Library, said: "This change has come in because there were some new health and safety regulations that came into force a couple of years ago and we've had to look at how our spaces, historic and new, meet those safety standards."

Oxford University student Hattie Noble said: "As long as you're not stupid with the ladders I don't see the problem, really."

A student from the US, who would only give his name Aton, said: "So many books are already inaccessible at this university, you have to go from your college to the Bodleian to the Social Science Library - it makes things very difficult.

"The fact there are a thousand books that are inaccessible frustrates me very much."



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