Libraries and their services

Lending libraries and loan periods

There are no general rules on extending borrowing for disabled readers across the Bodleian Libraries, as each library has its own loan periods. Many libraries will extend loans to readers with dyslexia and other disabilities so if you think you may have problems returning books on time speak to the library's Disability Contact at the start of your course.

Users are encouraged to disclose a disability to make use of alternative arrangements and extra help from library staff should it be necessary. All information will be treated in the strictest of confidence. Getting in touch with the Disability Advisory Service will also help speed up the assistance we can give you and they will be able to give more assistance.

The library catalogue is available electronically and you can search for material from wherever you can access the internet. If you find material in a library you have not used before, please check that access will not be a problem for you through the Access to Libraries page.

Make the most of induction week and the training and induction sessions to learn more.


All of the Bodleian Libraries' lending libraries charge fines. This will vary depending on the type of material that you borrow. If you have difficulty due to your disability in returning books on time, please get in touch with the Disability Contact or Reader Services Librarian in the library.

You can use the library catalogue SOLO to make note of material you have borrowed from various libraries:

  • Renew your books online or via the phone (please check in each library that you can before you try!)
  • Check your emails regularly as many libraries send e-notices before your books are due

Check your loans status online

  • what is overdue and from which library
  • what has been recalled
  • when the books need to be returned

Reference only libraries

Several of the Bodleian Libraries are reference only, of which the Bodleian Library is the largest. You cannot borrow any material from the reading rooms in the Bodleian Library, including the Radcliffe Camera.

If reference libraries and reading rooms are inaccessible to you, please contact the Disability Contact in the library who will make arrangements for material on reading room shelves to be transferred to another library or reading room.

Material from the bookstacks

A large amount of reference material is available in Bookstacks and this can be ordered through SOLO to several reading rooms in various libraries, including all Bodleian Library Reading Rooms, Taylor Institution Library, Taylor and Bodleian Slavonic Library, Radcliffe Science Library, Sackler Library (Sackler stack books only), Social Science Library and the Bodleian Law Library. 

Books will stay at your requested reading room for one week before being returned to the stack. If you need them for longer you can renew them from your patron record on SOLO.

Please note that although ordered under your name, if you are not using the material, other library users may consult it.

Electronic books and journals

As alternatives to traditional printed media, Oxford subscribes to a large number of electronic book and journal services available via OxLIP and SOLO. During the year, the Bodleian Libraries runs various Electronic skills sessions known as WISER sessions and these are a good way to get to know the vast amount of electronic information out there.

If your disability makes it difficult for you to read printed media that is not available electronically, please contact the Accessible Resources Acquisition and Creation Unit (ARACU) who may be able to provide electronic texts, audio and braille for you.


Our agreement with the Copyright Licensing Agency allows us to go beyond the normal copyright restrictions when making enlarged copies of texts for students and staff who are visually impaired, including those with dyslexia. We can make copies for others who are visually impaired as defined by the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act but this does not include those with dyslexia.

Special collections

Physical access to some special collections material may be problematic. Please get in touch with the Disability Librarian.

It may not be possible to provide audio recordings and photocopies of early manuscripts and printed books, however ARACU may be able to provide you with personal readers. Please give plenty of advanced notice; at least four weeks is advised.

Many early manuscripts and printed books are available online via OxLIP.

Assistive technology

All of the Bodleian Libraries are equipped with extra lighting, magnifiers and coloured acetate overlays. Other assistive technology such as height adjustable tables, ergonomic chairs and scanners are available in some libraries. ARACU has several pieces of assistive technology and software that can be loaned out to libraries and students.

Back to top