Books on the library shelves


The College Library (like other Oxford libraries) is at present doing its best to support college members while services continue to be restricted by measures taken in response to the Covid-19 epidemic.

Updated 22 September 2021

Building work is taking place in Linton House. In consequence, the Lower Library is currently  inaccessible throughout the Vacation; the books normally kept there have been temporarily moved to storage.  These books currently have the status ‘Temporarily unavailable’ on SOLO.

The upper two floors of Linton House and the Law Library remain open. Current College members are welcome to work in these reading-rooms. Whilst in the Library, you are:

  1. advised to wear a face covering;
  2. asked to follow current requirements relating to hand-washing or sanitising;
  3. expected to maintain social distancing.

There is no longer any need to book a space to work in the College Library. We still ask that individuals work separately and maintain adequate social distancing. 

Our principal message is, as always, to get in touch and ask for help if there is anything with which you think we can help or might be able to help. 

Dr David Johnson, Librarian (
Ms Rosie Lake, Deputy Librarian (

The Library
St Peter's College
Tel: + 44 (0)1865 278882

The Bodleian libraries remain open and you can borrow, and work in their reading-rooms. For the time being, you will still need to book a slot either to browse the shelves or to work there. You can do this online via the Bodleian’s Space Finder website.

Questions on Bodleian services can be directed via several channels, including the online ‘Live Chat’ service (access it via the tab on the right-hand side of the SOLO homepage).

Additional online/remote resources are still available, and members of the University can still order free copies of items using the Bodleian’s Scan and Deliver service.

College Library staff will also provide scans from items in the College’s collections for those College members who are not currently in Oxford.

Remember that the usual copyright restrictions on the proportion of an item that can be copied still apply both to requests made to the College and the Bodleian (“For items in copyright you can request either a single article from an issue of a periodical or up to 5% or one chapter of a book”). Remember also that any scans provided are only for personal use during your studies.

As of the start of Michaelmas Term, readers are able to request books on the Library shelves via SOLO (just as you now can for books already on loan). This means that those who do not wish to come into the Library will not need to do so. But, obviously there will be a delay between placing a request and the time that staff are able to retrieve an item for you. If you feel happy to come into the Library, you would therefore do better to collect and borrow any books you want yourself in the usual way since that will mean there is no delay in obtaining what you want.  

​Staff will generally receive requests made during the previous 24 hours each morning Monday-Friday.  Requests submitted on Friday, or during the weekend, will not be received by staff until Monday. 

Books will be collected by Library staff and left in the Lodge for collection by the person making the request. You will be notified by email once this has been done.

To use this service you must first be signed in to SOLO (use the 'Sign In' button on the tope right of the SOLO homepage). Once you have done this:

1) search for the item you require in the usual way;

2) click on the entry for the item(s) at St Peter's;

3) to the right of the details regarding shelfmarks and so on, you will see a green button 'Request';

4) Click on the green 'Request' button;

5) You will now be taken into a further screen which advises you to seek for e-book versions of the text you want. Ignore this if you feel so inclined; we are happy to provide a printed version of the text if that is what you prefer to use;

6) Click on the 'Send Request' button towards the bottom of this screen.

Once this has been done, the system will process your request and staff will be notified on the following (Monday to Friday) morning of requests received on the previous day.

Many reading lists have now been made available via ORLO, which can provide links to scanned chapters from books. Please bear in mind that not all reading lists are yet available via ORLO.

Additional information and links on individual academic disciplines is available via the LibGuides for each subject.


The fundamental resource for accessing the University’s information resources. Use SOLO to search for physical and electronic items, articles and other e-resources.

Digital Bodleian

Search and explore the Bodleian's collections on Digital Bodleian, with over 900,000 images of c.16,000 collection items.  


Access over 1.4 million e-books via SOLO. Filter results by Online Resources to find e-books – look for the green Online access icon for those that are accessible outside the Bodleian’s reading-rooms. Items with an Orange access icon are legal deposit items. They can be accessed only from computers in the Bodleian. If you want to read such an item, you can reserve a place in one of the Bodleian reading-rooms. The website allows you to book either a desk, or a computer terminal. If you want to read an online resource, remember to book a computer!

There is more information on accessing e-books on the e-books LibGuide.


Access over 118,000 e-journal titles is available via SOLO. Filter results by Online Resources to show resources that can be accessed offsite – look for the green Online access icon for items that can be accessed outside the Bodleian reading-rooms. As in the case of books, items with an Orange item can only be read in the Bodleian itself.. 

Access over 1,300 databases across a broad range of subject areas. Visit Databases A-Z or search via SOLO.

Remember also that there are a range of free online resources provided by institutions outside Oxford. These include:

  • Gallica – the Bibliothèque nationale de France's full-text database of earlier and out-of-copyright items
  • Internet Text Archive – digitised copies of earlier and out-of-copyright items. Google Books or Project Gutenberg may also help.
  • Institute of Historical Research - Open and Free Access Materials for Research.
  • Directory of Open Access Books is a series of additional free full-text books made available via JISC’s 'Library Hub' website. 

    To access the texts of particular items you should follow these steps:

    1. Enter your search terms in the search box to the right of the doab qualifier and click on the search button to the right;
    2. Click on the short title and thumbnail for the book you want.  This will take you to the full record for that item;
    3. Scroll down towards the END of the links below the item record. To access the text, you need to click on the link with the prefix 'doab'.

Almost all books in the Library, unless marked ‘Confined’ or ‘Not to be Taken Away’, may be borrowed. Books should be borrowed using the self-issue machine in the Library Reception. Please contact a member of staff if you need any help with this.

Borrowing entitlements for junior members are as follows:

Undergraduates and Visiting Students: 15 volumes at any one time. The standard loan period is 28 days. All books issued in term are due for return not later than Thursday of 8th week. The loan period is progressively foreshortened to allow for this. Books may be borrowed for the entire period of the subsequent Vacation from the Monday of 8th week.

Postgraduates: 15 volumes at any one time. The standard loan period is 56 days, both in Term and Vacation.

Books already on loan may be renewed, provided that they have not been already requested by another member of the college.

There are two ways in which books may be renewed. Either, reissue the books on the self-issue machine, or renew them using the renewal facility which may be accessed through the ‘My Account’ pages on SOLO.

The ‘My Account’ pages can also be used to check what books you have on loan and when they are due for return, and to renew them provided that they have not been requested by another college member. Remember: if your books are overdue, you will not be able to renew them yourself. If you have problems trying to renew your books, or if they are already overdue, please contact Library staff who may be able to help.

Books for return should be placed in the Book Return Bins in the Library Reception, or handed to a member of Library staff. If books are not returned on time, a charge will be made at the rate of 20p per day for each volume kept overdue.

Current members of the college may suggest a book for acquisition by the Library. If you would like to do this please fill in the following form, then click on the SUBMIT button.