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How to contact us

For general help using the Library services:


Email us: library.enquiries@lse.ac.uk

Call us: +44 (0) 20 7955 7229


or in person throughout the Library




Reading Room access

The Reading Room desk

The Women's Library Reading Room is located on the fourth floor of the Library.

It is available for consultation of the Library's Special Collections, including LSE Archives, The Women’s Library archives and print collections, and pamphlets and rare books.

Opening hours

  • Monday to Friday: 10.30am - 5pm
  • Saturday: 11am – 6pm (by appointment only)
  • Sunday: closed

To enable secure care of the collections readers must return materials to the desk 30 minutes before closing time.

Before you visit

We ask readers to book a reader space two days in advance of your visit. This enables us to support your visit by booking a reader seat, reserving the materials you wish to consult and dealing with any queries you have ahead of your visit.

We are happy to accommodate visitors who have not booked ahead but you may have to wait for a reader space to become available and for the materials you want to consult to be brought to the Reading Room.

Contact the Library by email on library.enquiries@lse.ac.uk or telephone on 020 7955 7229 to book a reader space, order materials for consultation and ask for any additional information or guidance you need.

If you plan to visit on a Saturday, please see the information below.

What to bring:

  • Pencil for taking notes and filling in request slips
  • Digital camera to make copies for research
  • Laptop or tablet PC if needed
  • Notebook
  • Headphones if using audio-visual material
  • Proof of identity and address if needed for your membership application

Some items cannot be brought into the Reading Room:

  • Food and drink (including water and chewing gum)
  • Pens
  • Handheld scanners
  • Library or purchased books and other publications

You will be asked to deposit bags and coats in a locker – please do not bring large items as space is limited.

Beginning your research

Search our catalogues to find out more about the collections that we hold, to identify material that is relevant to your research.

Use Library Search  for information about books, journals and pamphlets.

Search The Women's Library @ LSE archives catalogue for information about TWL@LSE archive collections and museum objects. Search the main archives catalogue for information about other archive collections at LSE.

The Digital Library includes a range of digitised material from our special collections.

You may also find the Library’s collections pages useful: these include information on our unique and distinctive collections as well as a range of subject and topic guides.

Please contact the Library by email on library.enquiries@lse.ac.uk or by telephone on 020 7955 7229 if you would like assistance identifying material that may be relevant to your particular area of research.

In order to make the most of your time at the Library, we recommend that you wait for a response before arranging a visit so that you have time to follow up any suggestions that we might make.

Booking a place

Contact the Library by email on library.enquiries@lse.ac.uk or by telephone on 020 7955 7229 at least two working days in advance of your visit so that we can confirm your booking and arrange for collection materials to be waiting for you on arrival. If you are unsure of the materials you need you can also ask for advice.

The Library can advise you on our holdings and direct you to collections and catalogues that are relevant to your subject area, but we are unable to examine files in detail or undertake research for readers.

Library membership

You will need to join LSE Library to visit The Women's Library Reading Room.

Membership is free. Please register your details before you visit (at least 2 but no more than 10 days in advance).

Remember to bring proof of identity and proof of address to complete your membership registration.

Ordering materials in advance

Special collection materials have to be brought to the Reading Room from store. In order to support your visit we ask that you order the materials you wish to consult in advance of your visit.

You can order up to 3 items in advance, and can use up to 3 items at any time.

Place your request by email to
library.enquiries@lse.ac.uk no later than 5pm, 2 working days before you have booked to visit:







Order by 5pm







Please see information below if you wish to visit us on a Saturday, when our arrangements are different.

If possible please provide a link to the catalogue entry for the item you wish to request. If you are unable to send a link to our catalogue, we will need the following information:

For print material:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Classmark
  • Location (as given on the catalogue record, e.g. “Archives – WL Pamphlet”)
  • For journals or other multi-part items, the volumes or issues required

For archive material:

  • File reference (e.g. “HCA/CHE/2/1”, “3AMS/A/01/22”)
  • Box number (for items from The Women’s Library @ LSE collections, as given in the catalogue description)

Please contact us if you need further information on requesting items from the catalogues.

Items ordered in advance which are not collected will be reshelved at the end of the day unless we receive a request to put them on hold.

During your visit 

On weekdays items can be requested in person using our fetch service. You can order and use up to 3 items at a time, and place further orders when you are ready for more material.

Requests must be submitted by:

10.45am, 12.45pm, or 2.45pm

We aim to have materials delivered to the Reading Room within 75 minutes of the above times.

Orders placed after 2.45pm will be included in the next day's first collection, for delivery by 12noon.

Items ordered but not collected will be reshelved, unless you let us know that you would like them put on hold.

Placing items on hold

You can request to keep items on hold for up to 3 days but we recommend you keep a note of your references, and be prepared to re-order items if you return at a later date.

Microform access

Microform copies of some items in the Library's collection are available to view on request in The Women's Library Reading Room, including a selection of Women's Library journals; the Autograph Letters collection; the Emily Wilding Davidson archive collection; Josephine Butler letter collection; and the Lansbury, Independent Labour Party (ILP) and League of Nations Union (LNU) archive collections.

It will be noted on the item or collection’s description page on the catalogue if microform is available in The Women's Library Reading Room.

If you would like to view these items, please contact us in advance to reserve one of our microform reader-printers for the day you will be visiting.

You do not need to order these items in advance through our document fetching service.


Users can take their own digital photographs of items at no cost.

However, make sure your copying is legal. Copyright guidance is available on the Reading Room desks and on posters.

Responsibility for any infringement of copyright is borne by the person making the copy, and the person (if different) for whom the copy is being made.

Cameras must be in silent mode, as shutter sounds can disturb other users. Flash photography and handheld scanners are not permitted.

For further information on copying materials, please use this guide.

Data Protection guidance for reading room visitors

Under the Data Protection Act 1998 researchers are responsible for the personal data they obtain and the subsequent use they make of it.

For further information on data protection, please use this guide

Closed files

A number of files may be listed on the archives catalogue as closed or unavailable to users. To find out more about these files and how to request access to them please see our Freedom of Information guidance.

Visiting on Saturdays

We are open on Saturdays during term time and the Easter vacation, for pre-booked research visits. If you wish to visit on a Saturday, please contact us at library.enquiries@lse.ac.uk to reserve a reader space and request your materials, no later than 5pm on Wednesday.

All material must be requested in advance as staff cannot access the archive store on a Saturday; you can request up to 3 items.

If you feel you may need additional guidance or information to support your research, contact us in good time before you visit as specialist staff will not be available at the weekend.