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

Food Community in the Context of Covid

Friday, July 10, 2020

By Angela Clutton, Guest Director British Library Food Season July, 2020 We so often talk about the ‘food industry’ and the ‘food community’ when what we mean is the staggering breadth of people who all play their part in ensuring...

British Library 2020 Food Season: plans to continue the conversation

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The British Library 2020 Food season is on hold, Polly Russell introduces online food events being held over the Summer

Finding Emmeline Pankhurst

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Katrina Georgiades searches the Library's Electoral Registers collections to find traces of the women's right to vote campaigner, Emmeline Pankhurst

Learning from the Past: A guide for the curious researcher

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Find out about our free online course: Learning from the Past: a guide for the curious researcher, starting on 20 April

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.