A view upwards to the dome that takes in the stairs and the lift shaft.

LSE Library Strategy

"A library for promoting the study and general knowledge of ... all matters relating to the progress and development of communities and of mankind generally."

The British Library of Political and Economic Science: Trust Deed 3rd November 1896.

The British Library of Political and Economic Science was conceived as a laboratory for the social sciences. The Library would provide a place where people interested in the study and understanding of society could come together and find the materials for their work. The dynamic pursuit of this vision since 1896 has built one of the most outstanding social science libraries in the world, and a unique asset for LSE. 

The vision remains a compelling one, and in a digital world we must combine the virtual with the tangible to achieve it. Over this next strategy period we will focus on three aims: 


Build a strong digital presence so that the virtual Library is as resonant for people as its physical form. 


Create a renewed sense of place within the Library building as the campus develops and new approaches to scholarship evolve. 


Ensure that people remain at the heart of the Library even as we focus developing systems and buildings. 


To achieve these aims and ensure that the Library continues to be an active partner for academics and students at LSE, and scholars in the wider community, we will pursue three key objectives:

1. Collections

2. Spaces

3. Communities



Our collections are internationally recognised and a source of inspiration and pride for the LSE community. They provide the raw materials for the School's scholarship and we will pursue a focused approach to their acquisition and curation in the context of the School's mission. 


i. Lead a comprehensive assessment of the intellectual value of the collections, liaising with academic colleagues to identify material which is unique and distinctive to LSE. 

ii. Strengthen our unique and distinctive collections by proactively acquiring new materials in these key areas, including digitisation of physical items and acquisition of born digital materials. 

iii. Secure the collection and preservation of the complete intellectual output of the School in partnership with academic and professional services colleagues. 

iv. Improve access to taught course content in liaison with students and academic colleagues, ensuring that we make full and effective use of online sources. 

Key performance indicators:

  • Extend recognition of the significance of LSE Library unique and distinctive collections by external bodies. 
  • Increase LSE Library unique and distinctive collections in digital form by 25 per cent. 


The Library is a focal point for life and the School and the spaces we offer are both physical and virtual. We will develop these spaces to create environments that are welcoming, easy to use and support a rich variety of interactions. 


i. Order the storage of our collections to ensure appropriate care of the materials and efficient use of space.

ii. Reduce the amount of shelving in the Library and increase the proportion of space devoted to LSE students.

iii. Create new learning and study spaces with LSE students to enhance their experience of using the Library.

iv. Design our online services to fit seamlessly into the virtual working environments of LSE students and academics.

Key performance indicators:

  • Improve performance in all aspects of the Library user satisfaction survey (LibQUAL+) so that the Library exceeds users' minimum expectations and closely matches their desired levels of service.
  • Increase the number of study seats in the Library and ensure a seat to student ratio of 1:4.  


Library staff have a unique combination of professional knowledge, skills and experience. Through collaboration with members of the School and our wider user communities we will support and foster the creation and sharing of knowledge in the social sciences. 


i. Forge partnerships to experiment with using our collections in new ways to support innovation in curriculum development, research and public engagement. 

ii. Engage as part of the School's learning community to enhance the student experience and encourage sophisticated information and research skills development. 

iii. Enable wide public access to LSE research and empower academics to monitor and understand how their research is used. 

iv. Act as leaders in our professional networks in the UK and internationally, ensuring that our involvement contributes to the School's mission. 

Key performance indicators:

  • All Library staff will have an annual Career Development Review which is valued by colleagues as a means to supporting their personal and professional development. 
  • Increase use of LSE Library unique and distinctive collections by LSE academics, students and visitors in their teaching, learning and research.