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Other libraries in London: All libraries, A-Z

Guide to other libraries in London useful to SIA students

 

 

a - d    e - g    h - l    m - r    s - v    w - z

 

Aga Khan Library
Islamic studies, including art and architecture

Aga Khan Library homepage

Included in Library Hub Discover? Yes

Access by appointment

 

BFI (British Film Institute) Reuben Library

Film and TV studies library

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

See the moving image guide for full info

 

Black Cultural Archives

A library as well as an archive, devoted to Black British history

Black Cultural Archives homepage

Black Cultural Archives archive/library catalogue

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

Access

No appointment or membership necessary.

Contact

+44 (0)203 757 8500    info@bcaheritage.org.uk       Brixton  (map)

Collections

Archival items, books, exhibition catalogues, journals and magazines about Black British life and history.

Online resources

Digitised content available via Google Arts & Culture. Range of online subject guides, including one devoted to the arts. The history of the BCA is documented and discussed in Hannah J.M. Ishmael's 2020 PhD Thesis 'The Development of Black-Led Archives in London.'

Help with your research

Email for research advice.

 

British Architectural Library (RIBA)
Includes works on interior design

RIBA library homepage

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

 

British Library

See separate section of this guide

 

British Museum

Collection mirrors the Museum's collection
British Museum library homepage
British Museum library catalogue

Included in Library Hub Discover? Yes

Access

Registration in advance of your first visit is required.  Different parts of the library are administered by the relevant departments of the Museum and some, for instance the Department of Greece and Rome, may only allow admission to consult materials unavailable elsewhere.

Contact

+44 (0)20 7323 8224    library@britishmuseum.org    (map)

Collections

The library collection mirrors the Museum collection.

 

Chelsea Reference Library

Public library with strong costume and fashion collection

Chelsea Library homepage

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

 

Courtauld Institute of Art Book Library 

Art history library: currently divided between Somerset House and Vernon Square near King's Cross

Courtauld library homepage
Courtauld library catalogue

Included in Library Hub Discover? Yes

Access

Access is by appointment. Courtauld dissertations, and some exhibition catalogues are now kept off-site, so you will need to make an appointment several days ahead. Further admission details are online.

The Courtauld's impressive image libraries are separate from the book library and kept at Somerset House.

Contact

+44 (0)20 3947 7630    booklib@courtauld.ac.uk    

 Temple  (Somerset House: sales catalogues, special collections, image libraries, journals)   (map)

 King's Cross (Vernon Square; dissertations and theses, exhibition catalogues, other books)    (map)

Collections

You might need to visit the Courtauld for dissertations and theses, sales catalogues, exhibition catalogues, or items from their special collections. See a list of recent Courtauld PhD theses.

Online resources, wi-fi, help with your research

Online resources are available.

 

Drawing Room - closed as of August 2022, as the gallery prepares to move to a new home

Small library dedicated to contemporary drawing

Drawing Room library homepage

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

 

Estorick Collection library

Twentieth-century Italian art

Estorick library homepage

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

Access is by appointment, with a written reference, and costs £2.50 per visit

 

Feminist Library

Independent library with strong arts section

Feminist Library homepage

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

 

Goldsmiths' Company Library

Jewellery and silverware

Goldsmiths' Company Library homepage

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

Access by appointment.

 

Goldsmiths, University of London

Special collections including the Women's Arts Library and textiles

Goldsmiths special collections and archives homepage
Goldsmiths library catalogue

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

Access

Access to books in the general collection is generally only possible if you need to consult a book unavailable in any other library open to you. Contact library@gold.ac.uk to make an appointment, stating what book(s) you need to look at. Access to the archives and special collections, including the Women's Art Library and textile collection, is also by appointment: please email  special.collections@gold.ac.uk.

Contact

+44 (0)20 7717 2295 (archives/special collections)    ​ New Cross/New Cross Gate     (map)

Collections

The Women's Art Library is the biggest library collection of women's art material in Europe, with books, magazines, zines, pamphlets, the Women of Colour Index (1985-1995) and artists' documentation boxes containing ephemera, objects and other archival items. There are many other special collections too, including an important collection of works about textiles, housed with the textiles themselves. The books are listed in the library catalogue, and the textiles themselves in the archive catalogue.

Help with your research

The library and archive staff will offer you help in finding relevant material in the Women's Art Library and other special collections, and the archives.

Online resources and wi-fi

Not available to visitors.

 

Guildhall Library

Public library with important collection of books on clocks and clockmakers

Guildhall Library homepage

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

 

Hayward Gallery and Archive
Useful for Hayward Gallery publications

Hayward Gallery library homepage

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

Access by appointment, usually two days a week 

 

iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts): Stuart Hall Library  

Africa, Asia, Latin America, and British artists from diverse cultural backgrounds

Stuart Hall Library homepage
Stuart Hall Library catalogue

Included in Library Hub Discover? No 

Access

Open to the public for reference. Please register before your first visit using the online form. You will also need to provide one form of photographic ID. Opening times appear on the library homepage. if you know the books or other resources you want to read, you can book a study space in advance. 

Contact

+44 (0)20 7630 1278    library@iniva.org      Pimlico   (map)

Collections

One of the leading research centres for international visual art. Focuses on contemporary art from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the work of British artists from diverse cultural backgrounds. Includes over 10,000 books (covering cultural, political, gender and media studies) and exhibition catalogues, over 200 journals, DVDs, CDs, slides and ephemera.

Wi-fi is available.

Help with your research

The librarians can help you research your topic: please email them to make an appointment for this. There are online reading lists relating to iniva's exhibitions.

 

Live Art Development Agency (LADA) - closed as of August 2022
Small collection devoted to performance art

LADA library homepage

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

London School of Economics (LSE)
University library specialising in economics, business and social sciences 

LSE library homepage

Included in Library Hub DiscoverYes

Access by appointment only, and only likely to be granted to consult books you cannot find elsewhere. Includes the Women’s Library, a major feminist collection: access is again by appointment, by anyone researching topics in feminism should be welcome.

 

Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA)
Small collection of design books, pamphlets and catalogues

MoDA homepage

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

 

Museum of the Home library
Resources for the study of the home, both historic and contemporary

Museum of the Home library homepage

Included in Library Hub DiscoverNo


National Gallery

Books and other materials relevant to the Gallery

NG library homepage
NG library catalogue

Included in Library Hub Discover? Yes

Access

Access by appointment, generally only to consult material which is not easily accessible elsewhere. The online catalogue includes 95% of the collection as of February 2022, with just some sales catalogues still to be added.  

Contact

+44 (0)20 7747 2542    research.centre@ng-london.org.uk     Charing Cross    (map)

Collections

Most likely to be useful if you are looking for an obscure text on an artist or artwork in the Gallery's collection.

Online resources

National Gallery board minutes 1828-1918, Agnew's stock books 1853-1933 and historic National Gallery catalogues are free online.

 

National Portrait Gallery: Heinz Archive and Library 

British portraiture and sitters' biographies

NPG library homepage
NPG library catalogue

Included in Library Hub DiscoverYes

Access 

Access by appointment only, Tuesday-Thursday. Most books are on open shelves in the library, and the others will be fetched for you by library staff. 

Contact

+44 (0)20 7321 6617    archive@npg.org.uk     Charing Cross    (map)

Collections

Useful if researching British portraits or portrait artists, including photographers, or portraiture in general. There is much material about the sitters of portraits. As of June 2019, only around 70% of the library collection is listed in the online library catalogue. However all items added to the collection since 1994 are listed.

Online resources and wi-fi

Online journals, plus a small range of databases including JSTOR, are available on a single computer in the reading room. See the left sidebar of the library catalogue page for a listing. Wi-fi is available.

Help with your research

The librarians can help with enquiries about the researching the Gallery itself, British portraits, and sitters. Please email archiveenquiry@npg.org.uk, as only very simple enquiries can be answered in the library without advance notice.

 

Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

British fine and decorative art

Paul Mellon library homepage
Paul Mellon library catalogue

Included in Library Hub DiscoverYes

Access

Access is by appointment.

Contact

+44 (0)20 7580 0311    collections@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk    (map)

Collections

British fine and decorative art, architecture and garden history from the medieval period to the present day. Particularly good collections on the country house, including country house guides,  and the Grand Tour.

Online resources

Online photographic archive, particularly good for eighteenth-century work. Includes both fine and decorative arts.

Wi-fi: is available.

Help with your research

Staff will help with finding relevant material.

 

Royal Academy of Arts

British art, with significant special collections
RA library homepage and catalogue

Included in Library Hub Discover? Yes

Access

Access is by appointment.

Contact

+44 (0) 20 7300 5737    library@royalacademy.org.uk     Piccadilly Circus    (map)

Collections

You might need to visit to consult the special collections: historic books, prints, drawings and photographs. The collection focuses on British art, and the Academy and its members in particular. There is a notable collection of books illustrated by Royal Academicians and other British artists.

Online resources

Summer and winter exhibition catalogues are freely available online.

Wi-fi: is available.

Help with your research

If you are researching the Academy or an Academician, you are welcome to submit enquiries by email, phone or letter.

 

Royal College of Art

Library of leading postgraduate art college

RCA library homepage
RCA library catalogue

Included in Library Hub Discover? Yes

Access

Access is offered to special collections and archives only, unless you are an RCA alumn. Access is by appointment: info here.

Contact

+44 (0)20 7590 4224    special-collections@rca.ac.uk      South Kensington    (map)

Collections

The special collections include the Colour Reference Library, a major collection of works about colour. Also a photographic record of students' work, some rare books and artists' books. The research repository can be accessed freely online from any location.

Wi-fi: is available. There is no access to the RCA's online resources.

 

SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies)    

Asian and African art, culture and society

SOAS library homepage
SOAS library catalogue

Included in Library Hub DiscoverYes

Access

MAMCAA students have full access and borrowing rights. Other SIA students can visit, but not borrow, up to three times in any 12 month period: complete the application form on the membership page, choosing the day membership option.. SOAS will then contact you to arrange your appointment. 

Contact

+44 (0)20 7637 2388  email the art and archaeology librarian: bw3@soas.ac.uk   (map)

Collections

The leading collection for African and Asian studies in the UK. Includes sales catalogues relating to African and Asian art dating back to 1877. An overview of the art and archaeology collection is available online. Please note that the special collections are unavailable until September 2022.

Online resources

SOAS online resources can be accessed from the library catalogue computers. The art and archaeology section of the website lists recommended art-related resources, many of them freely available. It all includes pages for specific regions, such as East Asia. Articles may be downloaded to memory stick but not printed. SOAS digital collections offers items from the archives and special collections online.

Wi-fi

Wi-fi is only available to SIA students if you have BT Wi-fi (e.g. if you have BT broadband at home or have specifically subscribed to their wi-fi service).

Help with your research

The art and archaeology librarian, and the library helpdesk staff, will answer brief queries about searching the library's collections.

 

Tate Library and Archive

International modern and contemporary art, and British art of all periods

Tate library homepage
Tate library catalogue

Included in Library Hub DiscoverYes

Access

Access is by appointment: the homepage includes a link for requesting an appointment and at the same time registering for free membership.  The form lists the types if ID necessary to register. Please note there is likely to be a longer wait for an appointment if you wish to look at material from the archives or special collections 

Contact

+44 (0)20 7887 8838    reading.rooms@tate.org.uk     Pimlico    (map)

Collections

The book collection mirrors Tate's art collection, i.e. British art 1500 from onwards and international art from 1900 onwards. The collection is especially strong on international exhibition catalogues, international journals and artists' books. Some material is not included in the online material: e.g. journals which are no longer published, microfilm and microfiche, museum bulletins and ephemera.

Online resources and wi-fi

A good selection of art-related databases and journals is available on computers in the reading room. Wi-fi is provided.

Tip

Take cash if you think you might want to photocopy, as there are no cashpoints close to Tate Britain. There is a camera stand, which should only be used for photographing images rather than text from books.

V&A

See separate section of this guide

 

University of the Arts London

Six art college libraries around London

University of the Arts library homepage
University of the Arts library catalogue

Included in Library Hub Discover? Yes

Access

Access is by appointment: link and information on the alumni and visitors page. 

Contact

Phone numbers and email addresses    various locations around London

Collections

The University comprises six leading art colleges which between them have extensive holdings on contemporary art and design. Each library has its individual strengths. Chelsea College of Art has strong holdings of exhibition catalogues, video art and an artists' ephemera collection. The other five colleges are Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, the London College of Communication, the London College of Fashion, and Wimbledon College of Arts. There are numerous special collections and archives across the sites.

Online resources, wi-fi, help with your research

Not available to visitors.


Wallace Collection

Books and other materials relevant to the Wallace

Wallace library homepage
Wallace library catalogue

Included in Library Hub DiscoverYes

Access

Access by appointment, with further details on the Wallace library homepage. Books can take 48 hours to fetch but can be requested at the time of making an appointment.

Contact

+44 (0)20 7563 9528/9536    library@wallacecollection.org     Bond Street    (map)

Collections

Works relevant to the museum's collection of fine and decorative arts.

Online resources and wi-fi

Resources including JSTORArt Sales Catalogues Online and Sèvres Manufactory Records 1746-1801, are available in the library, either via wi-fi, the library's own PCs or microfilm. See the library FAQs for a fuller list. The Hertford House visitors' book 1876-1897 is freely available online, from any location.


Warburg Institute

Iconography, and antiquity's influence on later western art

Warburg homepage
Warburg library catalogue

Included in Library Hub DiscoverYes

Access

SIA students need a letter of recommendation from an academic member of staff, briefly stating why access to the Warburg's collection is needed and how long for. Please also take your SIA ID card. You will also need to book a study space in advance.

Contact

+44 (0)20 7862 8949    warburg.library@sas.ac.uk    (map)

Collections

The library's specialities include medieval, Byzantine and Renaissance art, and the influence of classical civilisation on later cultures. There is a large photographic collection, mostly not online, documenting the iconographical tradition in Western art. This link is to an introductory page: you can also go straight to the database.

Online resources

Online resources are available within the Warburg library.

 

Wellcome Collection Library

Medical history library, with surprising amount of visual arts material.

Wellcome Collection Library homepage

Included in Library Hub Discover? Yes

 

Westminster Business Library, Westminster Reference Library

Public libraries, specialising in business and art respectively

Westminster Business Library homepage
Westminster Reference Library homepage
Westminster combined library catalogue

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

Access

Reference use does not require membership or ID. However there are benefits if you do join Westminster Libraries: you can borrow from the small lending collection at the library, borrow from any public library in Westminster, and use online resources, some from home. Anyone can join: you do not need to live in Westminster.

Contact

Business Library: +44 (0)20 7641 4291   bip@westminster.gov.uk     Victoria    (map)
Reference Library: +44 (0)20 7641 1300    referencelibrarywc2@westminster.gov.uk     Leicester Square    (map)

Collections

As its name suggests, the Business Library specialises in general business resources. The Reference Library specialises in art, with around 45,000 volumes, including 5,000 that can be borrowed. These include books on art business, patrons and collectors, and many journals. 

Online resources

Some online resources are accessible to library members from any location. These include Bloomsbury Applied Visual Arts and the Bloomsbury Design Library as well as general reference resources such as the full Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Some are only available within the Business Library: these include Fashion Monitor and Mintel Reports.

Wi-fi and PCs

Wi-fi is available in all Westminster public libraries. There are also desktop PCs in each library: these need to be booked in advance, and are only available to members.

 

Whitechapel Gallery Library

Useful for Whitechapel exhibition catalogues

Whitechapel library website

Included in Library Hub Discover? No

Has the complete Documents of Contemporary Art series, though these should all be at SIA too.

 

Wiener Holocaust Library

Holocaust and genocide studies

Wiener Holocaust Library website

Included in Library Hub Discover? Yes