Find this room on Floor 1 in St Pancras.
This Reading Room provides access to our Social Science collection, which covers a wide range of disciplines. The collection focuses on social policy and welfare, business and management studies, sociology, women’s studies, human geography, anthropology, education, politics and law.
We have recently published e-books, articles, journals and various subject-specific e-resources.
You can also access our official publications collection and legal materials in this Reading Room. The collection includes current and historic Government publications for the UK and worldwide, and reports and documents from international organisations such as the United Nations, European Union, World Health Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In the Social Sciences Reading Room you can:
- Order collection items to the Reading Room using our catalogues
- Access online databases, e-books, journals and articles
- View our open access reference material on the shelves.
Who is the Social Sciences Reading Room for?
Items on the shelves in this Reading Room
General reference and quick reference materials
Items such as encyclopaedias, international statistical yearbooks, print catalogues and indexes.
UK official publications
Government publications such as historical and current statutes and statutory instruments, parliamentary debates and House of Commons and Lords journals.
Access our extensive collection of law reports, transcripts of legal judgements, original acts of legislation, case summaries, and reform reports along with our collection of print law reports, reference materials and legal commentary.
Statistics, census returns, reports
Census returns and reports, UK electoral roll data and access to genealogical databases.
United Nations and international organisations documents and reports
Access to full text databases and print material for organisations such as the United Nations, European Union, OECD, IMF and the World Health Organization.
Births, marriages and deaths indexes
We have the General Register Office Index on open access. We also subscribe to Find My Past, a genealogical database containing parish records as well as census records from 1841–1911.
European Documentation Centre
As a European Documentation Centre until 2020, we hold copies of European Communities
publications since the 1950s and will continue to collect selective EU publications.
Items available to order to this Reading Room
You can search and order books, reports and journal parts using our catalogues.
You can view items in the Social Sciences Reading Room that are not fully described in our catalogues. You will need to use the directories and electronic resources to identify the items that you need. Tracing these documents can be complex, and many of these are held offsite. Please ask at the Reference Desk for help or click on the following links for guides on how to access:
- UK government and other publications
- Government and inter-government publications around the world
- United Nations documents and publications from IGOs
- European Union (and predecessor bodies) documents
- UK electoral registers
Using the Social Sciences Reading Room
Anyone with a British Library Reader Pass can access the Social Sciences Reading Room.
If you need help, ask our Reference Specialists at the Enquiry Desk. They can:
- Guide you to the most appropriate material for your research
- Advise you on how to access and use our printed and electronic collection and resources most effectively
- Help you to use our catalogues and answer your bibliographic questions
- Suggest other libraries, archives and institutions that you might find useful in your research, or guide you to relevant websites and free online resources
- Provide a range of free Reader sessions and 1-2-1 consultations to help you find your way around the collection.
If your enquiry requires more specialist help than we can provide we will forward your enquiry to the appropriate person in the Library or suggest alternative sources.
If you are unable to visit you can contact the Social Sciences Reference Team directly, use our Quick Chat service, or get in touch via Twitter.
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