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 20 April 2021

The College Library is currently providing support to those members of College who are working remotely whilst most members of the College are not in Oxford. There is limited access to the reading-rooms and collections for those who are present in Oxford.

As of the start of Michaelmas term, a new system is in place that allows you to request books on the Library shelves via SOLO. Please see the dropdown section below for more information.  

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 and might be able to help. Requests for help should be directed to the Librarian personally ( Requests for purchases can also be made using the online request form.

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

Access to Information and Using Information Resources During Lockdown 

The University’s main aim at present is to reduce interpersonal contact, thus decreasing the risk of virus transmission. Readers who are in Oxford are advised to use online/remote resources where possible. Those not currently at Oxford will necessarily have to do this, as was true in Trinity last year. 

Temporary access to upwards of 1.5m digitised versions of in-copyright items in Oxford’s collections is again being made available via the Hathi Trust. Links to these items should now have been uploaded to SOLO, so you can search for them there: 

  1. Search for the item you want on SOLO in the usual way; 
  2. Click on the orange Hathi Trust icon which appears at the end of the short record for the item; 
  3. You will be linked to the Hathi Trust website (you might need to log-in here using your Single Sign-On if not already signed in via SOLO); 
  4. You will see a catalogue record for the item in which you are interested. At the bottom left of the page will be a ‘Temporary access’ tab. Click on that tab. You should then be linked to the text itself. 

Links to Hathi Trust items cause difficulties when the system assumes readers should use Hathi Trust, not print, copies.  The College Library self-issue machine might not issue items if an equivalent Hathi Trust copy is available. 

However, we do NOT want to prevent those few in Oxford borrowing books from the College Library (whether other versions are available or not). Please therefore always try to issue books in the usual way. If the system does not allow this, please contact a member of staff or make a note in the Green Alarms’ Report File, or email the Librarian ( with details of the books concerned.

Obtaining Scans of books/articles 

University libraries are also now re-prioritising the ‘Scan & Deliver’ and ‘LibraryScan’ services to permit requests of copies of sections of books or articles not already available electronically. Information on the Bodleian system is at 

You can also submit requests to the College Library for scans from books ( Obviously, we can only provide scans from items which are available in the College Library. Remember, St Peter’s is bound by the same copyright restrictions as quoted above for the Bodleian. 

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.

Use of Physical Library Space in the College Library 

Limited socially-distanced workspace is available in the College Library (10.30am to 11.30am for browsing/borrowing books only, and from 11.30am to 7am for private study). Students can pre-book study space at the Porters' Lodge; for further details please see the email sent by the College Registrar on 20 April 2021. 

Please ensure that if using the Library you follow all current rules:

  1. Do NOT leave any personal possessions behind you when you leave the Library;
  2. Wear a face covering at all times;
  3. Follow current requirements relating to hand-washing or sanitising;
  4. Maintain social distancing at all times.

Obtaining Books

Since the College Library remains accessible to those in Oxford, you can borrow and return books from the collection in the usual way. If you are in Oxford and feel concerned about entering the Library, you can request College Library books via the ‘Request’ button on SOLO. Please remember that using the ‘Request’ options incurs a delay. 

If you are not in Oxford, and would like to have access to a book, please get in touch. It is worth noting that, in practice, the plan to post books to College members proposed in Trinity last year proved to be of limited value. Nevertheless, it was useful in a limited number of cases so if you think this would be helpful, let us know. You should also note that although you can reserve a book via SOLO, books cannot be recalled at a time when the current the borrower is unlikely to be in Oxford.

Where appropriate, we are able to purchase new books for students, in print or electronic form and supply them to those who are working remotely. If you think this would be useful, please let us know and we will do our best to help.

Books already on loan

College Library loans have been extended until 27th April. If College members are still not then back in Oxford, loans will be further extended. However, if you are in College and can safely return books, please do so in order to make them available for other College members.

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.

Reading lists are gradually being made available via ORLO, which can provide links to scanned chapters from books, although please bear in mind that not every subject has yet upload information to the site.

The Bodleian ‘Live Chat’ resource has been expanded to be available 7 days a week, 9:00-19:00 on weekdays, 10:00-19:00 at weekends.

Additional information and links for individual subjects are available via the LibGuides for each subject.

The Bodleian Libraries are currently opening four ‘hub’ libraries: The Old Library; The Sackler Library; The Social Sciences Library: The Vere Harmsworth Library (including temporary RSL provision). Workspaces in each of these locations much be booked in advance ( 


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.