Borrowing Books

Where may I borrow books? 

Bring your books either to the library Issue Desk or to the self-issue machines situated in front of the Reader PCs.

SSL self issue machines






How many books may I borrow? 

  • Students (undergraduates and taught-course postgraduates)
    30 books

  • Academic staff and research postgraduates
    40 books

  • Oxford University and College staff
    10 books

  • External readers
    Reference only
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For how long may I borrow books?

In term


  • Normal Loans: 7 days
  • Short Loans: 2 days
  • High Demand Collection books: 3 hours
  • Working Papers: 2 days
  • Pamphlets: 7 days
  • Issue Desk Reserve Collections: Same day (library use only)
  • Library Use Only Books: Not for loan
  • Journals: Not for loan
  • Statistical Series: Not for loan

Academics & Researchers

  • Normal Loans: 28 days
  • Short Loans: 2 days
  • High Demand Collection books: 3 hours
  • Working Papers: 28 days
  • Pamphlets: 28 days
  • Issue Desk Reserve Collections: Same day (library use only)
  • Library Use Only Books: Not for loan 
  • Journals: Not for loan 
  • Statistical Series: Not for loan
Extended loan periods are available for readers with disabilities

In vacation

Vacation loans begin Sunday of 8th Week for standard loans and Thursday of 8th Week for short loans. All vacation loans are due back on Tuesday of 1st Week the following term. Please note that journals, statistical series and 'Library Use Only' books remain for library use only during the vacations.

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What should I do if a book is out on loan?

  • If a date appears instead of the status 'available' in the record for a book in SOLO, this indicates that it is currently on loan to another reader until this date.
  • If all our lending copies of a book are checked out, you may place a reservation using SOLO: instructions are available on the SOLO LibGuide.
  • You will be notified by email when a requested book is available; this will then be held for two working days.
  • Reserved books awaiting collection may be consulted by any reader in the library on the condition that they are returned to the desk immediately if required for collection.

Why are some books for 'Library Use Only'?

  • If a book appears on SOLO with the status 'Library Use Only', it is not available to borrow.
  • The SSL provides at least one 'Library Use Only' copy of all books on taught course reading lists in order that all students may have an opportunity to access them.
  • Books may also be 'Library Use Only' if they are rare, damaged, or received under the Legal Deposit system.

Can I extend the loan of a book?

  • You can renew items you have out on loan or items from closed stacks that you are consulting in a reading room via SOLO: instructions are available on the SOLO LibGuide.
  • Books being renewed on the due date must be renewed before midnight.
  • You can renew loans from the SSL a maximum of 7 times; once the maximum has been reached, books must be returned to the library to be re-issued.
  • You may also renew books in person or by telephoning the library; however, we do not accept renewal requests via email.

Where should I return books?

Check your library books in at the Issue Desk, or return them to the Book Returns Boxes in the library entrance hall. When the library is closed, a Book Returns Box is available in the foyer of the Manor Road Building. 

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How will I remember to return my books?

You will receive an email reminder informing you that your books are due back. Reminders are sent the day before the due date. Fines are charged as follows on books which are returned late:

Normal Loans
20p per book per day

Short Loans
£1.00 per book per day

High Demand Collection (3 hour loans)
£1.00 per book per day

Working papers
20p per item per day

Once your fines reach £10 your borrowing rights will be suspended until fines are paid. Please note that this policy and the charges above were approved by the University Curators.

How do I pay my fines?

Fines and lost book charges can be paid at the Library Issue Desk by cash or by cheque. The SSL can accept payment for fines owed to other Bodleian Libraries but can only accept payment for lost books belonging to the SSL. The SSL cannot waive fines owed to other Bodleian Libraries.

Pay fines online 

Fines and lost book charges can also be paid online using a credit or debit card. Please note that:

  • The minimum online payment is £2. Note that refunds are not possible for payments of £2 where the amount owed is lower. Smaller amounts should be paid in cash instead.
  • You will need to know the amount you have to pay before visiting the site. If you are unsure please contact the library first.
  • 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.
  • Fines will not automatically be cleared from your account as this can only be done by library staff during library opening hours. 

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What if I have lost a library book?

  • Please search carefully for the book – you have some time after the due date before we send you an invoice for its replacement.  We send the invoice after 21 days for Normal Loans or 14 days for Short Loans.
  • The Library will charge you the purchase price of the lost book plus a £5 administrative charge.  If the book is out of print the Library will charge you a flat rate of £35 (which includes the £5 administrative charge).
  • Alternatively you may provide a replacement copy - however a £5 administrative charge will still apply.  The replacement copy must be the latest edition and be in good condition.  Preferably, it should be the same format (ie hardback or paperback) as the copy you lost and NOT an ex-library copy. If the library is not satisfied with the replacement copy supplied you will be required to either pay the invoice or provide another replacement copy.
  • Overdue fines relating to the lost book will be waived.
  • Please note that if you subsequently find the book, the Library is unable to refund the charges (as a replacement copy will have been ordered/added to stock).
  • If you fail to replace or pay for a lost book upon receipt of the invoice the Library
    will contact your College Dean or Departmental Administrator.

Pay for a lost book online

If you have received an invoice for a lost book from the Social Science Library, you are welcome to use our online store page to pay the replacement fee.

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