If you're researching the social sciences you'll find a wealth of useful resources at the British Library. Our collections cover politics, economics, law, sociology, linguistics and many other subjects. We have a wide range of materials including official publications, legal documents, business literature, journals and oral histories.

Collection guides

Desks, shelving and Readers in the Social Sciences Reading Room at the British Library

Social Sciences Reading Room

You’ll need a Reader Pass to:

  • View our extensive open access collection material
  • Access online databases and electronic books and journals
  • Use our catalogues to order items from our extensive reference collection

If you need help, please ask our specialists at the enquiry desk.

We offer a range of free Reader sessions and 1-2-1 consultations to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

Mon: 10.00 – 20.00
Tue – Thu: 09.30 – 20.00
Fri – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

For enquiries, please contact the Social Science Reference Team.

Blog posts

"Just Leave Me Alone": responses to Unfinished Business

Monday, March 8, 2021

In December 2020 Rebecca Riddleston and Georgia Olive, Customer Service Apprentices in the British Library’s Learning team, visited the exhibition Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights. Grounded in their own personal experiences as young women, here they reflect on their responses to the exhibition and some of the objects that particularly resonated with them.

History in the Making: 40 years on from the Black People’s Day of Action

Monday, March 1, 2021

This blog post highlights a small selection of items in the Library’s collections of interest to anyone wanting to know more about the educators and activists behind the Black People’s Day of Action on 2nd March 1981.

Digitised Spare Rib resource

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Spare Rib digital resource will no longer be available from the end of the transition period of the UK leaving the EU

New Spare Rib map resource: putting women's activism on the map

Friday, October 30, 2020

Written by The Business of Women's Words team. Think 1970s UK feminism was a purely metropolitan affair? Ever wondered whether the Women’s Liberation Movement stretched beyond the boundaries of big cities? The new digital map resource at the British Library...

More blog posts

Projects

National Life Stories: Legal Lives

In-depth interviews with people involved in the legal and criminal justice system

All projects

Case studies

More Case studies
…I think one of the underlying principles of the Fellowship… is that you might just be surprised by what you can find [at the BL].…

Exploring the potential for innovative sociological research with the British Sociological Association.

…The Open Day was a great way to find out about the wealth of material and expertise on offer at the Library.…

Exploring narratives of unemployment and employment of people with mild learning difficulties

…The UK Web Archive is a fantastic resource for researchers…

Neema used the UK Web Archive to explore how ethnic minorities voted in the EU Referendum.

…A collaborative PhD with the British Library gives me the means to access a public audience…

Ruth uses the digitised newspaper collection to explore attitudes towards immigration in nineteenth century Britain.

…To create an archive which will be part of the Library is really a privilege…

Dvora is a collaborative PhD student exploring the social world of Crown Court clerks from the 1970s onwards.

External links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Business and Management Portal

High quality digital reports from the British Library’s collections.

Social Welfare Portal

Single point of access to the British Library's vast print and digital collections.