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English at Oxford: Guide for Freshers

Subjects: English

Getting started

Starting university can be incredibly overwhelming - there's so much to take in.

Our website has a comprehensive explanation of how to use the EFL effectively and will hopefully help you feel confident and comfortable using the libraries quickly! Check out the 'getting started' section of our site.

If you have any questions, no matter how small or how complex, you can always speak to a member of staff at the issue desk, email staff, or just come and knock on the office door - we're here to help!

During Term Time you can come to our Question Time Drop-In Sessions, every Monday, from 3pm to 4pm, where a librarian will be on hand to answer any queries


Studying Joint Honours?

If you are studying joint schools, there are other libraries you will need to use. For further information on these libraries, follow the links below to their websites

History Faculty Library (History and English)

Sackler Library (Classics and English)

Taylor Institute Library (English and Modern Languages)

From these sites you will be able to find information about the collections available to you outside of the EFL.

Opening Hours

During term the EFL is open:

Monday to Friday: 9am to 7pm
Saturday: 10am to 1pm

Training Sessions

The EFL offers a large number of training sessions throughout the year, designed specifically for English students. 

You can find out more about upcoming workshops on our training sessions page. All training sessions will be advertised by email and in the library.

Staff are currently producing videos of training session slides, with audio and subtitles, to make these more accessible. We will link to these videos here when they are online.

We welcome suggestions and contributions from faculty members, please let us know:

  • Your ideas for training we should be offering
  • If our sessions aren't at the right time of year - we'll move them!
  • If you're a DPhil candidate or researcher and would like to teach a workshop alongside our staff

Borrowing Books & DVDs

The number of items your can borrow from the EFL will depend on your membership category. A quick guide is below, but please just ask a member of staff if you have any more questions.

English & Joint Honours Undergraduates               
10 Books for 1 week
2 Short Loan books for 2 days
4 DVDs for 2 days 


English MSt Students
15 books for 2 weeks
4 Short Loan books for 2 days
4 DVDs for 2 days                                                   


English DPhils
15 Books for 28 days
2 Short Loan books for 2 days
4 DVDs for 2 days

Students of other faculties
8 Books for 1 week
2 Short Loan books for 2 days
4 DVDs for 2 days 


In addition to the categories above, MSt Film Aesthetics students can borrow 6 DVDs  for 7 days. Readers with a disability can borrow 15 books for 28 days.

If you are a university or college staff member, a visiting student, alumni, or visiting academic please contact staff to learn more about your borrowing rights.

Returning Books & DVDs

To return items to the English Faculty library simply bring them to a member of staff at the issue desk.

When the desk is busy you can return them to the box at the side of the issue desk.

Books cannot be returned out of opening hours. You must return items to the library you borrowed them from.

If you can not return a book before its due date you can renew or contact staff. Please see below for more details.

Renewing Books & DVDs

You should be able to renew most items three times.

You can renew in the following ways:


There are some circumstances in which you won't be able to renew:

  • Someone else has placed a hold on the item
  • You have fines totaling £10 across the Bodleian Libraries
  • You have overdue books already

If you are unable to renew please contact staff before the due date and we may be able to stop fines from accruing on your items.

Overdue fines are listed in the box below.


The EFL charges fines on overdue items at 20p a day for most items. DVDs and Short Loan books are £1 a day.

The maximum fines across all Bodleian Libraries is £10. Once your account reaches £10 you will be blocked from borrowing or renewing.

Fines can be paid off online at the University Store or in cash at any Bodleian lending library - you can pay your EFL fines off at the HFL if you need to!

If you can't return a book on time please try to renew it (instructions  in the box above). If it can't be renewed please contact us as we may be able to stop the fines from accruing.

If you have been unable to return an item on time due to personal circumstances such as illness, disability, please mention this to staff at the issue desk or email our Reader Services Librarian - we do not change fines in these circumstances, but they will need to be manually removed from your account.