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

Animals and feminism: readings on the intersection of oppression

Monday, May 22, 2023

Complementing the display on animal rights in the Library's Treasures Gallery from 7 March – 9 July 2023 entitled ‘From the Margins to the Mainstream: Animal Rights in Britain’, guest writer Kim Stallwood highlights books on the intersection between animal rights and feminism.

Animals and the climate emergency: readings on the global impact of industrial animal agriculture

Monday, May 22, 2023

Complementing a display in the British Library Treasures Gallery on animal rights in Britain, guest writer Kim Stallwood highlights books held at the British Library that have helped shape his views on animal rights and climate change and the global impact of animal agriculture.

7 Days, Culture and the Arts

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

In this sixth and final post in a series about the radical New Left weekly newspaper '7 Days', Maxine Molyneux recalls her time as its Arts and Culture Editor and reflects on a unique experiment in cultural politics.

7 Days - Back then and now: a personal recollection by John Mathews

Thursday, February 24, 2022

In this fifth guest post about the revolutionary New Left weekly newspaper '7 Days', John Mathews recalls how he came to be a part of the editorial collective. Fifty years on from its publication, he considers the impact 7 Days had, for himself and others involved.

More blog posts


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

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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.