PLEASE NOTE: Borrowing from RSL is currently only possible by advance booking - this can be done via the Click and Collect and Browse and Borrow services. Reader who have booked a study space can also borrow during their visit.

Borrowing in the Science Libraries

Only members of Oxford University holding blue-topped cards are entitled to borrow. If you are not a member of Oxford University, please see our information on document supply services.

  • Books on the open shelves at the RSL that do not have a yellow "library use only" sticker on the spine are available for borrowing.
  • Some borrowable items in the RSL have a red sticker which identifies an overnight loan.
  • Material from the Alexander Library of Ornithology collection cannot be borrowed.
  • Material from the Sherardian Library of Plant Taxonomy collection cannot be borrowed.
  • Journals cannot be borrowed.
  • The majority of offsite material will be reference only.
  • The maximum number of loans which can be taken is 15, which is the same for all categories of borrower.
  • Senior members of University science departments may apply for privileged borrower status

How long can I keep a book?

Normally, books can be borrowed for 7 days in term time and loans can be renewed up to 9 times as long as another reader has not reserved them. Books borrowed in 8th Week or during the vacation will be due back on Tuesday of 1st Week of the next term.

  • Short loan books. These are identifiable by a red label on the spine. They are due back at 10am the following day (or one hour after opening on Saturday and Sunday) - this applies in both term-time and during vacations.
  • Reference books. These cannot be borrowed and have a yellow label on the spine saying "Library Use Only".

How do I know if something can be borrowed?

Not everything can be borrowed. The loan status of an item will be indicated on SOLO.

How long can I borrow an item for?

Loan periods vary among libraries and can vary between term and vacation. Each library publicises this information on their website.

Do disabled readers have extended borrowing privileges?

Readers who have disclosed their disability may benefit from extended borrowing privileges where appropriate. See the Information for Disabled Readers pages for more details.

How do I know when my book is due back?

You can check your loans and due dates from MyAccount on SOLO. See the SOLO LibGuide on how to manage your account.

Will I get fined if I return the book late?

The majority of Bodleian Libraries charge the following level of fines which apply to all categories of readers with the exception of waivers which have been agreed due to individual circumstances.

  • 20p per day for standard loans
  • £1 per day for short loans (those items loaned for shorter periods than the standard loan period)
  • 50p per hour for overnight loans

Once the total fines incurred across Bodleian Libraries reach £10, they must be paid (in full or in part) for the reader to continue to borrow. If you are having difficulty settling your fines then please discuss with your College Senior Tutor.

Fines can be checked on SOLO My Account. Please note My Account does not include any fines currently accruing on books which are overdue and not yet returned.

The following libraries are exempt from the standardised fine tariffs: Continuing Education Library, Health Care Libraries, Latin American Centre, Said Business School (for distance learners only), Tylor Library.

How do I pay my fines?

Fines can be paid in any Bodleian lending library by cash or cheque. Libraries can accept payment for fines owed to other Bodleian Libraries but can only accept payment for lost books if the book was originally borrowed from the same library. Libraries cannot waive fines owed to other Bodleian Libraries.

Paying fines online

Fines and lost book charges can also be paid online using a credit or debit card. Go to the University Online Stores page and select fine payments page of any one of the libraries to which you owe fines. Please note that:

  • The minimum online payment is £2.
  • You will need to know the amount you have to pay before visiting the site. If you are unsure please contact the library first or check the Fines & Fees section of SOLO My Account.
  • You will need to set up an account on the University Online Store during the process.
  • Payments for lost books must be made separately from payments for fines. Lost book payments can only be made on the payments page of the library from which the book was borrowed.
  • Fines will not automatically be cleared from your account as this can only be done by library staff during library opening hours.

What if I can't find a book?

You will be charged for any items you lose. Some libraries will also charge an admin. fee.

How can I renew my books?

You can renew your items from MyAccount on SOLO. Once you have renewed your items you will see the new due dates. See the SOLO LibGuide on how to manage your account.

Online renewals will not be possible if you have reached the maximum number of renewals possible, the item has been reserved, or if your fines have reached £10. You should contact the library concerned to discuss this if you think there may be a problem.

The book I want is on loan – what can I do?

You can place a hold on the book – no one will be able to renew the book until a copy is returned for you. See the SOLO LibGuide for how to place a hold.

Can I have access to books in ‘Closed Stack’?

Yes, you can request closed access material to available reading rooms. For information on how to place a request see the SOLO LibGuide. See Closed Stack Requests FAQs for further information.

Closed Stack can indicate bookstacks in libraries as well as offsite repositories, the largest of which is the Book Storage Facility that holds 8 million items.

Can I return books to any library?

No, the books must be returned to the library at which they were borrowed.

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