A student reading a book in the stacks

Borrow, renew, return and request books

Find out how to borrow, renew, return and request the material you need.

Borrowing books

LSE staff and students can borrow most items from our book collections using the self-service machines on the ground floor.

UK University PhD students and academic staff with LSE Library visitor cards can borrow from the Main Collection.

Some material on the open shelves is for reference use only within the Library. Whether an item is loanable or not will be indicated within Library Search.

How long can I borrow books for?

LSE staff and students can borrow:

  • Course Collection items for 7 days
  • Main Collection and other borrowable items for 90 days

UK University PhD and academic staff can borrow:

  • Main Collection books for 15 weeks.

How many books can I borrow in total?

  • LSE staff and researchers can borrow 50 books.
  • LSE undergraduates and postgraduates can borrow 30 books.
  • UK University PhD and academic staff can borrow 4 books.

Recall notices and shortened loan periods

Borrowed items can be recalled and loan periods shortened at any time. Please be prepared to return items at short notice.

Renewing books

We automatically renew loaned books for up to a year, unless another person has placed a request on them to be returned.

If we need you to return a book, we will email you with a revised due date

These are some common reasons we can't automatically renew a book for you:

  • item has been requested by someone else and must be returned
  • item has been on loan for a year and must be returned
  • the due date would be after the expiration date of your LSE account

Returning books

Return books using the self-service machines on the ground floor of the Library. Follow the on-screen instructions indicating whether to put the book on the shelves or in the request box. 

If you don't want to enter the Library, place your books into the external drop box.

We also accept postal returns to: 

Reader Services, LSE Library, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE 
Please retain proof of posting until items are discharged from your account.  

Request books out on loan

Books are shared across all readers and our teaching collections can be in high demand. To ensure the fair circulation of material we have a process where LSE staff and students can request a book that is on loan to another reader.

When a book you have searched for is on loan it will show on Library Search as: 

Checked out from LSE Library [collection, classmark] 

To place a request on the book:

1. Sign in to My Library Account.

2. Search for a book.

3. Click on the book to display the record of the item.

4. In the 'Get it' section of the record click the request option.

5. Fill in any relevant information in the short form.

6. Submit your request by clicking the green request option.

We will email you when the item is ready for you to collect. 

This process can take 7 days and depends on borrowers returning books promptly and Library staff availability to process returns.

Requests can be placed on any borrowable items - Main Collection and Course Collection books - that are on loan and when there aren't any other copies available. 

Access material not available through LSE Library

If you can't access something you need, use the 'Get It For Me' service.

This service is for when you want articles, chapters or ebooks that are not available in our collection.

Find out how to use the Get It For Me service

Need any help?

If you need any help, contact us via email or chat to us.