LSE Library

Copyright LSE

British Library of Political and Economic Science
10 Portugal Street, London, WC2A 2HD

(020) 7955 7229
(020) 7955 7454 (fax)


The LSE archives section is on the Lower Ground floor.  Other collections of interest to historians are located elsewhere in the Library (principally on the Third floor).  Always check the catalogues for location of materials or refer to the relevant history subject guides on the library website:

Economic History:

International History:

Hours of opening:

Term time and Easter vacation:

Main Library

Monday - Sunday 0800 - 0000
(In Lent term and Summer term, 24 hour opening is available for LSE students and staff only). Staffed services open*:
Monday - Friday  0900 - 0800
Saturday and Sunday 1100 - 1800

Archives Reading Room

Monday - Thursday 1000 - 2000
Friday 1000 - 1700
Saturday 1100 - 1800

Christmas and Summer vacation:

Main Library

Monday - Friday 0800 - 2100
Saturday and Sunday 1000 - 2100
Staffed services open*:
Monday - Friday 0900 - 2000

Archives Reading Room

Monday - Thursday 1000-2000
Friday   1000-1700
*During unstaffed opening hours, access is for existing Library cardholders only and the Library is staffed by security
Opening hours differ on public holidays and around Easter and Christmas week. At those times, details will be posted in the Library and on the website at:


All categories of user are admitted to the library without charge except those from commercial organisations. Academic staff, research students and taught course students from SCONUL institutions and the University of London are granted access at any time. The Library is a member of the SCONUL access scheme which permits limited borrowing for those academic staff and research students whose institutions are also members. Members of the public may apply for reference access to the Library on production of the relevant identification. There is no access to course collection material during term-time for non-LSE staff and students. See the web page “Admission to the Library” ( or contact the Admissions section before travelling.

Intercollegiate History students studying at the LSE are granted full borrowing rights. Access to the archive collections is available to anyone with appropriate identification.

Reader places:

1,760 distributed across the five floors of the Library. There is no separate history library. The archives reading room has 16 user places.

Chief Information Officer:

Jean Sykes

Director of Library services:

Elizabeth Chapman

Staff availability:

The help desk on the First floor is staffed from 0900 - 1950 on weekdays and throughout the Library's opening hours at weekends from 1100 to 1750. The Archivist will be pleased to answer enquiries on the manuscript collections by post, email ( or in person. It is advisable for readers to give the Archivist prior notice of their intention to use the archive collections for the first time.


The library catalogue ( enables searching to be done for the Library’s holdings of books, journal titles, pamphlets, government publications, theses and working papers. Material held which is not catalogued include: Journal articles; USA Federal Government documents; UK Parliamentary papers; United Nations “masthead” documents; individual titles from microform collections. There is a separate Archives catalogue; see the page at:


Library of Congress classification is used for most of the library's stock. Government publications are not classified but are arranged by country or international organisation, each with its separate sequences of monographs and periodicals.


The library has an extensive collection on modern political, economic and social history in most European languages.

Special collections or strengths:

The Library has received a depository set of US Federal Government documents since 1903. It also holds comprehensive sets of the publications of such bodies as the United Nations, International Labour Office and the European Union. It holds the major collection of British Government publications in its subject field in the University. The Library also has a large collection of government publications from all over the world. The collection is particularly strong on statistics both current and historical. There is an interesting collection of the publications of the Allied Control Commissions for Germany in the immediate post-1945 period. The Library also holds over 1400 archive collections supporting research across the social sciences, including collections relating to politicians, political parties, pressure groups, social investigation, social welfare, anthropology and lesbian and gay activism.

Additional facilities:

Photocopying and microform printing facilities are provided. A small number of PCs are available for access to the Library's electronic resources where the license agreement allows.