Requesting materials held offsite or in closed stacks

There are different procedures for each of the Bodleian Science Libraries:

  • Requests for Alexander Library closed access material should be made to staff in the library.
  • Sherardian Library closed access material can be requested by completing the form available in the library.
  • Requests for RSL material from the locations "Stack" or "Offsite" are placed online using the catalogue, SOLO, as outlined below. This can be done in advance of visiting the library.

Offsite and stack materials in the Bodleian Libraries

A large amount of library material in is held in closed stacks, which can be located on library premises or offsite. The largest closed stack is the Book Storage Facility in Swindon which holds 8 million items. 

Closed Stack material can be requested to reading rooms and the following FAQs provide information about this service.

How much material is held in closed stacks?

Around 8 million volumes are held in closed stacks, the majority of these are held offsite.

How do I log-in to place a request?

You log-in through SOLO to place a request, choosing either the option for Oxford SSO or non-Oxford members. See the SOLO LibGuide for step by step instructions on how to log-in.

How do I know if something is held in closed stacks?

If an item is held in closed stacks, it is indicated by the status ""Closed Stack"" in its SOLO record.

Where can I request it?

You can request most items to any library that receives stack requests however exceptions apply for special categories of materials such as very large items or rare books.

When you place your request, a drop-down list of pick-up locations is given for you to choose from based on where the item can be sent.

When will it arrive?

The length of time taken to deliver books from closed stack locations varies depending on the distance they must travel. Most items will, on average, arrive within 24 hours. Items requested on Saturday or Sunday, or during closed periods such as Easter or Christmas, will take longer to arrive. See the Bodleian Libraries' delivery schedule for further details.

Progress of your requests can be followed through the ""My Account"" area of SOLO. If you have a valid email address in the library account, you will receive an email notification when your hold request becomes available for consultation.

Can the item be delivered more quickly?

Some items in closed stacks offer the Scan & Deliver option, allowing you to request scans of sections direct to your desktop.  More information on this service is available on the Scan & Deliver pages.

Why has my stack request been cancelled?

Occasionally you may receive by email a Hold Request Cancellation Notice relating to an item you have ordered.

There are various reasons why your request has been cancelled/reordered. In most cases, your request will have been reordered and you should expect to receive the correct item. In all cases a reason for the cancellation of your initial request will be provided on the emailed Cancellation Notice you have received. Please make sure that you read this email thoroughly for an explanation of why your request was cancelled. If the item is missing, however, a member of staff will contact you under separate cover to inform you of this.

How long will it be held at the library?

Items will be held initially for a period of one week.

Can I renew my items?

Yes. You can renew your items from ""My Account"" on SOLO providing they have not been requested by another reader. See the SOLO LibGuide for step by step instructions on how to renew.

How many items can I request?

You may place a maximum of 10 hold requests at any one time. Additional items may be ordered once the first 10 have been processed, although the maximum of 10 items at any one delivery location applies.

Can I borrow the requested item?

Bodleian Library material is not available for borrowing and is for library use only. However some other libraries such as the Radcliffe Science Library who hold collections offsite do allow selected items to be borrowed. Please ask a member of staff if you are unsure.

Where can I get further help?

You can ask staff in any of the Bodleian Libraries about this or you can use the SOLO Live Chat service located on the SOLO homepage.

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