Library Services


  • Fellows can borrow up to 10 books at a time.
  • Friends of the RAS who have registered as borrowers with the librarian can borrow up to 4 books at a time.
  • A borrowing slip must be signed by the borrower for each book and deposited with the Librarian.
  • Reference books and journals can't be borrowed, but a photocopy of an article can be supplied for a fee.
  • Full details of loan entitlements and general use of the library are in the Library Regulations.

Duplicate RAS Library Books Available to Fellows

The RAS Library has a small selection of duplicate copies of books which it is offering to Fellows, free of charge. The current list of duplicate books is available on the library catalogue. The list is frequently updated as new items are added. Updates are advertised via the RAS e-bulletin and the RAS Library Twitter account. Books are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Copying and Image Services

Photocopies or scans of library material can be supplied by the Librarian for a fee, depending on the condition of the material and compliance with copyright law. Material cannot be reproduced en masse.

The fees are currently 10p per A4 page, or £10 per digital image created in-house. Additional fees may be required to cover handling, processing and editing.

You can photograph  library materials to make working copies for your own private research with permission from the librarian. You can use a basic camera or smart phone for this. Flash must not be used. You will need to fill in a declaration form stating that you will not reproduce the images, and you must comply with UK copyright law.

Researchers who wish to use images of library material in publications must contact the librarian to order a high resolution digital image.

The Society can also commission paid professional photography on behalf of library users.

Science Photo Library (SPL) holds over 1,500 of the best-known images of works from the RAS Library and Archive. These images are available directly online from SPL.

SPL, acting as the agent of the RAS, will sell licences to reproduce images in broadcasts and publications. The intellectual rights in the images remain the property of the RAS at all times. The agreement is non-exclusive, in that the RAS may continue to exploit or distribute images in any other way at its own discretion. 

If you are interested in an image which is not available online, or if you wish to use an image for a purely non-commercial purpose, contact the librarian to ask about ordering and licensing an image. Non-commercial purposes include the following:

  • For non-commercial research or private study.
  • For use in teaching in a classroom in a school, college or university.
  • For reproduction in a dissertation or thesis submitted by a student. 
  • A presentation or lecture which is free to the audience and for which the speaker will not receive a fee.
  • For academic publications with a print-run of no more than 1000 and for which the author will receive no remuneration.