Students in the Silent Zone working with a big sign behind them against a red wall.

Library rules and general policies

Library rules

Admission to the Library

  • The London School of Economics and Political Science exists for the purpose of public education. The School is a private institution and retains the right to revoke the permission of people to enter and use the estate if they are engaging in behaviour that is criminal, prejudices public safety, breaches the School’s rules and procedures or diminishes or disrupts the experience of students through the misuse of School facilities.
  • The Library is open for the purpose of study and research to current members of the School and other groups and individuals according to the Library's admissions policy.
  • All users must possess a current Library card and show it on request to Library staff and Security. Library users are responsible for the use of their Library card and should not allow others to use it. Users who are found to have allowed entry to unauthorised people will be subject to disciplinary procedures (see Enforcement below).
  • Applicants for a Library card will be required to provide evidence of identification and status. See the Join the Library page for full admissions policy details.
  • Users who are accompanied by children under 12 should ask to speak to a Duty Manager.

Conduct within the Library

  • Noise, disturbance or inappropriate behaviour is prohibited, including abusive or threatening behaviour to Library staff and other Library users.
  • No food is permitted in the building, apart from in the Escape areas outside the turnstiles. Anyone found to be eating will be asked to dispose of the food or take it to one of the appropriate areas on the ground floor. Food left unattended will be removed.
  • Drinks may be consumed as long as they are non-alcoholic and in non-spill containers..
  • Smoking (including smoking of electronic and herbal cigarettes) is not permitted in the Library building or outside near external doorways.
  • Phones can be used in the Library but disruptive mobile phone use is prohibited. Set your phone to silent and do not use it in the red Silent Zones.
  • Library users are asked to treat other users with consideration.
  • No material other than official notices from the Library or the School may be distributed or posted within the Library without permission.
  • Furniture, fittings or equipment must not be misused or their arrangement altered.
  • You should not attempt to reserve study spaces by leaving personal belongings at unattended desks. Belongings may be cleared to allow others to use study places. You are strongly advised not to leave valuables even if you will be away for a short time.
  • Study space and group study room bookings take precedent over casual use of space and rooms. A user who has booked a study space or room can expect any other user occupying it, at the reserve time, to vacate it.
  • You may be asked to present your possessions for inspection by staff.
  • Any damage or defacement of materials is prohibited and if you are found damaging material you will be subject to disciplinary procedures. Please report any instances of such defacement to staff.
  • Photography is not permitted without permission - via in the first instance.

Loan facilities and terms of borrowing

  • Members of LSE and certain categories of external users may borrow from the Library. Details of borrowing privileges are available.
  • Loans may normally be renewed if the book is not required by another user.
  • Borrowing from the Course Collection is restricted to LSE staff and students. External users may have access to the Course Collection for reference use during vacation.
  • A current Library card is required whenever borrowing items.
  • Library materials on loan to one person may not be transferred to another. The person in whose name the loan is made is solely responsible for the safekeeping and due return of items loaned.
  • All Library materials borrowed must be returned within the stipulated loan period. Failure to do so will result in application of appropriate sanctions.
  • Items on loan may be recalled at any time if required by another user. Failure to return recalled books on time will result in application of appropriate sanctions.
  • Sanctions to be applied for the late return of borrowed or recalled material will be determined from time to time by the Library's management.
  • Late return of materials borrowed, or failure to comply with sanctions, may result in suspension of borrowing privileges and access, in the case of external user categories.
  • Where an item is lost or stolen, returned damaged, or not returned after a reasonable period of time, the borrower will be charged for the item at a level to be determined by the Library's management. An item charged for in this way remains the property of the Library.
  • No book or other Library property may be taken from the building at any time without authority.
  • Library users allocated a book locker may keep in it Library materials recorded as on loan to them. Checks of the lockers will be carried out, from time to time, by Library staff and any non-issued Library materials found will be removed. In such circumstances the individual concerned will automatically lose the right to use the facility. Locker keys must be returned by the date stipulated. Beyond this date, key deposits will not be refunded.
  • Special rules (displayed in the Archives Reading Room) apply to the use of rare books and archives in the Archives Reading Room or administered by its staff.

Copying in the Library

  • LSE Library users must comply with UK copyright law when copying any Library and archive material and in all copying carried out within the Library, whether by using the Library’s photocopiers or by any other means (for example, digital photography).
  • Under the Copyright Licencing Agency’s Higher Education licence, up to the following may be copied by staff and students:

    • One chapter from a book
    • One article from a journal issue
    • One paper from a set of conference proceedings
    • One report of a single case from a volume of judicial proceedings
    • Or 10% of the total publication, whichever is the greater
  • Current copyright licensing rules for Library material are displayed next to Library photocopiers and copyright guidelines for archive and historic print material are displayed on desks in the archives reading room.
  • If you need help with copying, please contact us for further assistance.

    There are exceptions within copyright law which permit the reuse of material within certain parameters. There are also exceptions which allow the making of accessible copies for disabled people. A summary of legal exceptions can be found in the Intellectual Property Office’s guidance on Exceptions to copyright.

Data protection

Article 89 of EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR 2018) governs how personal data should be handled and is applied to the use of information relating to living individuals found in our archive collections.

Library users are responsible for ensuring that any data obtained relating to living individuals is treated in accordance with the principles of GDPR. Guidance on the handling of personal data is displayed in the archives reading room and there is online guidance.

Library users should bear in mind the following when handling personal data:

  • GDPR only applies to the personal data of living individuals.
  • Do not use personal data to support measures or decisions concerning an individual.
  • Do not use personal data to cause substantial damage or distress to individuals.
  • Whenever possible depersonalise or anonymise personal data.
  • Keep personal data secure.
  • Do not disclose personal data to anyone else without ensuring you do so in accordance with the GDPR.

Read further information about the use of personal data in the Information Commissioner's Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Read further information about using archives and GDPR on the National Archives’ website

Use of information technology facilities within the Library

  • Use of information technology facilities within the Library is governed by the School's Conditions of Use of such services. By accessing and/or using the IT facilities, you agree to be bound by these Conditions of Use.
  • The software, databases, websites and other electronic resources accessible via the Library are either owned by LSE or owned by various publishers and other third parties. Users may only access and use these resources in accordance with any applicable terms of use including any relevant licence.


  • Failure to observe any of the rules may be dealt with by a Library manager.
  • Any user who is unhappy with a decision of a member of Library staff may appeal to the Director of LSE Library, as set out in the Library's Feedback Policy.

Library Feedback Policy

We strive to provide excellent customer service. Your feedback is welcomed and used to improve our services.

If you experience a problem inside the Library please report it to us as soon as possible. If we cannot resolve the issue immediately, we will explain why.

If you would like to offer feedback, please contact us by email. We will reply within two working days. Where necessary, your feedback may need to be reviewed by a Library manager who can investigate further and make recommendations.If this happens, we will let you know straight away and you will receive a response within ten working days.

If you are unhappy with our reply, a senior manager will review your feedback and provide a further response within ten working days.

If you remain unhappy: LSE staff and students are advised to follow the School Service Complaints Procedure [PDF]; and other Library users should put their complaints in writing to the Director of LSE Library. Please include full details of the issue and information about your attempts to resolve it.

We reserve the right not to investigate complaints that we consider to be frivolous (unfounded, trivial and persistent) or malicious (with vindictive motivation).

Library Incidents Policy

Our staff expect to be treated with respect by users. The Library rules provide a code of conduct expected by all Library users.

Incidents where staff feel users have behaved in an abusive or threatening manner will be reported and investigated.

The School's disciplinary procedure will be used for incidents involving students where the matter cannot be resolved informally at a local level.

LSE is committed to a working and learning environment where people can achieve their full potential. The School's harassment policy provides a mechanism to resolve complaints where it is felt that harassment has occurred.

Takedown Policy

If you are the author, rights holder or are authorised to act on behalf of the author/rights holder and you are concerned that you have found material available on our website for which you have not given permission and which infringes your copyright, you have the right to request its removal.

Please contact us stating the following:

  • Your contact details: this should include your full name, title if acting on behalf of an organisation, telephone number, email and postal address.
  • The name and/or a description of the work/s.
  • The exact and full URL where you found the material.
  • Proof that you are the rights holder or are an authorised representative.

Upon receipt of a request to take down one or more pieces of work from its website, LSE Library will suspend as soon as is practicable publication of the material in question while an investigation is carried out. A staff Review Panel will investigate the query and will usually convey its decision within 4 weeks. If the case is complex, and additional time is needed, we will write to let the Requestor know.

Contact details


Post: LSE Library, 10 Portugal Street, London WC2A 2HD

Please send any queries for the attention of the Copyright Officer.

Flickr Rights Statement

We joined Flickr Commons in November 2009.

The images published on our Flickr Commons photostream are all marked as having ‘no known copyright restrictions’ attached to them, either because LSE owns the copyright, or the term of copyright has expired, or because no evidence has been found that copyright restrictions apply.

You are free to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, or to remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially.

If you re-use images from the LSE Library Flickr pool, please credit "LSE Library."

Please also consult The Commons rights and copyright page to ensure you are aware of your own obligations regarding re-use of any of the content we have made available.