The library is for reference use for most readers; there is a limited lending service to academic staff and graduate students associated with the Rothermere American Institute.

Who can borrow?

RAI Fellows, faculty and graduates (DPhils and the MSt in US History or English & American Studies) in US Studies (Politics, English, History). DPhil students working on American topics in other departments if supported by supervisor’s request. Please contact the Librarian if you wish to apply to borrow.

You will need to bring your university card with you to borrow.

What can be borrowed?

Books on the open shelves can be borrowed as long as they were not received by the library as part of the Bodleian legal deposit agreement. You can check this by looking at the Bodleian Library stamp on the back of the title page – if it has a C (for copyright) in it then it cannot be borrowed, however if it has a P, D or E (purchased, donation, exchange) then you will be able to take it out. Some older material doesn’t follow this system, in which case anything published in the UK will be assumed to be legal deposit and restricted. Staff will check books at the desk before lending them.

For most of the library’s existence the legal deposit status of books was not recorded on the catalogue. Checking the stamp is therefore the only way to tell whether a book may be taken out for the majority of our collection.

What can't be borrowed?

Periodicals, microforms, reference books, material from the stack (pre-1920) or material you have called up to the VHL from the Bodleian or elsewhere may NOT be borrowed. Open shelf books received under legal deposit (see above) may likewise not be removed from the library.

How long for?

Items will be loaned for two days at a time.  We do not offer vacation loans.

Renewals and reservations

Books can be renewed as often as you wish, unless the book has been reserved by another reader. Renewals can be done in person, over the phone (82700), by email (, or online via SOLO (sign in using your Oxford single sign-on and click on ‘my account’)

If you wish to consult a book which is out on loan, you can place a reservation online via SOLO, or ask staff to reserve it for you. This will prevent the book being renewed again. Reserved books will be kept at the desk for two days once they are brought back into the library, and you will be sent a notification that it is waiting for you to collect. If you have not collected it by then, it will be reshelved or passed on to any subsequent reservations.

Overdue books and fines

You will be sent system-generated overdue notices, as well as a reminder on the day before the book is due. Fines are charged at 20p per day for overdue books.

You can pay off your fines in two ways: online ( or in person at the enquiry desk.

Please note that online payments can only be made of £2 or more.   



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