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This page explains what the subject of education covers, gives an overview of the material the British Library holds for this subject, and advice on how you can find and use it. It also gives details of current activities for developing the collections for this subject.

Covers all aspects of education, including: adult education, community education, distance learning, education policy, educational psychology, education technology, education theory, further education, higher education, international education, lifelong learning, nursery education, philosophy of education, primary education, secondary education, special education, teacher training, vocational education.

Collection overview

The British Library's Education collection is extensive and has particular strengths in English-language material published in the UK and North America. Most printed material is kept offsite and has to be ordered in advance of your visit; or ordered via our Document Supply service; but a selection of around 200 relevant books and reports published in the last three years, and key journals published in the last 12 months, are available on the shelves in the London Social Sciences Reading Room.

Overall we have:

  • a comprehensive collection of commercially published UK material acquired through legal deposit, including research-level books and journals
  • government publications, report literature, conference proceedings and working papers
  • extensive English-language collections from North America of research-level material on educational theory and practice, educational research, and national and comparative studies of educational history, systems, policy and administration
  • extensive holdings of English-language materials from Asia, Australia and New Zealand and selective coverage from Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and Latin America
  • historic collections of national government documents worldwide (with reduced coverage since the early 1990s).

Finding aids

Social Sciences Enquiry team

For more help on using the Social Sciences collections, contact the Enquiry team at or telephone +44 (0)20 7412 7894 from 10.00 - 20.00 Mon- Thurs or 10.00 - 17.00 Friday.

Current activities

Book a free educational workshop for schools and teachers in partnership with BL Learning.

British Library Content Strategy

We have refined our Content Strategy (i.e what we collect now and in future). Please see the content strategy pages on our website. These pages are organised by subject. Please remember that different aspects of a research theme may be described under more than one subject. A subject will also cover a variety of research themes, so even though your topic may not be specifically listed, it will likely be found under one of our headings.

If you have comments on the Library's content strategy, we would be pleased to hear from you.