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.

The College Library’s reading-rooms will remain closed until Michaelmas Term, but St Peter’s has joined CLeF (the College Libraries e-books Fund), which will permit the College to purchase e-books and make them available to users (in the same way as other electronic resources) via SOLO.

Where an electronic version of a particular text is available to the University, this is the quickest and most efficient method of proceeding. In other cases, we are operating postal loans and scanning services (but remember that copyright restrictions mean that only one chapter / 10% of any items in copyright can be copied for purposes of private study).  

Our principal message therefore, as always, is 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. The number of Library staff has also been temporarily reduced, so requests for help should be directed to the Librarian personally ( rather than to other members of staff. Requests for purchases can also be made using the online request form.

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

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 now progressively beginning to open their reading-rooms. Desks or computers must be reserved in advance. Follow this link to make a reservation.


The fundamental resource for accessing the University’s information resources. Use SOLO to search for physical (and so, for the moment, inaccessible) 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.
  • Digital Online Access Books (DOAB) 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 college may use the Library for study purposes 24 hours a day.

Readers may leave on a Library desk overnight a tidy pile of A4-sized papers and up to ten books (including personal copies), which should be marked with one "Please leave" slip, provided that desk space is left free for others. Renewal of "Please leave" slips to reserve books for further use is permissible, provided other readers have access to material they need. Nothing should be left on the floor.

To ensure items are not removed from a desk, "Please leave" slips should be left visible whenever readers leave their working area. Periodicals and reference works may not be reserved in this way.

Desks will be cleared every weekday morning. Material under out-of-date "Please leave" slips will be removed, and books re-shelved. Personal property left in the Library is left at the owner's risk. Untidy or unnecessary personal belongings will be removed and will be forwarded to the Lodge as lost property after a week.

Books belonging to other libraries will be placed on the shelves outside the Office in the Main Library. It is the responsibility of those who borrow books from other libraries to return them. The college is not responsible for their return or safe-keeping.

All periodicals and reference books must be returned to the shelves by readers immediately after use.

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.