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

Social Sciences Reading Room in 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 free Discovery and 1-2-1 Sessions 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

What is a Manifesto ... ?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Rachel Brett describes the manifesto as a particular form of writing, and introduces examples from the past 150 years

A social scientist’s experience of navigating the British Library’s collections

Monday, July 1, 2019

Emma Abotsi, BSA Fellow at the British Library, describes the support and discovery tools that researchers can use when getting started working with the Library's collections.

Meet the new British Sociological Association Fellow at the British Library

Friday, May 10, 2019

Emma Abotsi, the British Library's new British Sociological Association Fellow, describes her research into the Library's collections, race and education.

Two new PhD opportunities for Web Comics

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The British Library has 2 Collaborative Doctoral Studentships for research into UK digital comics

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.