Person in the shelves picking up a book

Borrow, return and request books

LSE staff and students can now browse and borrow our open access collections

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

Christmas loan periods and recalls

We have made the following changes to borrowing through the end of term and over the Christmas period. This provides greater flexibility to students and staff who may not be on campus throughout this time: 

  • Course Collection loans will be extended from Thursday 3 December to Monday 11 January. 
  • Recall requests will be suspended during this period. 

Browse and borrow books

To keep everyone as safe as possible, we are operating a limited token access system for people who want to browse and borrow books on the open shelves.

Follow these steps:

1. Take a token from the bowl located before the turnstiles.

2. Sign in/scan the NHS QR code and then enter the Library.

3. Borrow your books from the self-service machines on the ground floor.

4. Return your token and sign out (if you signed in) as you leave.

What if there are no tokens available? 

If the bowl is empty, we have reached our maximum capacity for people browsing and borrowing at that time. Please come back and check later.

How long can I borrow books for?

LSE staff and students can borrow Course Collection items for 7 days and Main Collection items for 90 days. 

How many books can I borrow in total?

LSE staff and researchers can borrow 50 books.

LSE undergraduates and postgraduates can borrow 30 books.


Returning books

You cannot use the self-service machine to return books.

  • Return books by leaving them on the trolleys in the Escape area just before the entrance turnstiles.
  • Items will remain on your account until a 72 hour quarantine has passed and will then be discharged shortly after by staff. 
  • Use the external drop-box for book returns when the Library building is closed.

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 you 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. Open the record of the item you want.

4. Click the 'Request item on loan' option.

5. Submit your request.

We will email you when the item is ready for you to collect. Normally this process takes 7 to 10 days. Requests can be placed on any borrowable items - Main Collection and Course Collection books - that are on loan. 


Access material not available through LSE Library

If you can't access something that you need, let us know.

We aren't able to order print titles or paper copies at the moment.


Need any help?

If you need any help, contact us.

Explore our collections