IHR Library, Reader Access Update

We are pleased to offer a partial re-opening of reading rooms at the IHR Library for those who need to access collections.

You will need to book a desk in advance of travelling to the library. Please read the guidance below. 

IHR Library reopening arrangements

We are pleased to offer a partial reopening of reading rooms at the IHR Library for those who need to access collections. You will need to book a desk in advance of travelling to the library. Please read the guidance below. 

Slots will initially be available Monday to Wednesday 11:00 - 15:00. If you have booked a place you can arrive any time after 11:00 and must leave by 15:00. 

Please be aware that this is a pilot service and we may need to change things at short notice should our capacity become stretched or the situation with Covid-19 change.  

Booking a place

You will need to reserve a space 24 hours in advance of your intended visit, and can book up to 2 weeks before your visit.   

To book your place click here.

We ask you to only reserve one slot a week* initially, but we will review number of available slots. Initially 12 desks will be available per day to maximise space. Although browsing of shelves will be possible in some areas, we recommend that readers reserve books ahead if you are making a special journey for particular item(s), as some locations aren’t accessible and items used will need to be quarantined. This will be limited to 5 items* per person.  You are welcome to email us to ask for advice. 

*If you have a particular need for more slots or more items please email us and we will be as flexible as possible where capacity allows.  

Your library membership

Please join the IHR Library or renew your membership prior to visiting. Membership is free and can be arranged via the online form.

New arrangements on visiting the Library

The following temporary arrangements are in place at the IHR building, and by booking you agree to follow the rules that are in place for everyone’s safety:  

  • You will need to enter Senate House from the Russell Square entrance. Please be prepared to show proof of booking your desk and an IHR membership card if you already have one. 

  • Social distancing signage and markings are in place. You should stay 2 metres apart from other building users.  

  • Please don’t come to the building if you have any COVID-19 symptoms. 

  • Face-coverings are required in the building unless you are exempt. 

  • Hand sanitiser will be available on entering the building. 

  • The University of London has signed up to the NHS Test and Trace system. You should see information around the building that will enable you to use this if you wish to do so. 

  • On arrival you should report to the IHR reception where you will be given your desk number. Readers can only sit at the desk number allocated. 

  • Some areas of the building will be staff-only, this will be indicated on signs and floor plans. 

  • Browsing of the shelves will only be possible in some locations and any books taken to your desk will need to be quarantined after use. You are welcome to reserve books prior to your visit, but please do this a week ahead if you want to ensure they are available before travelling. You should use hand sanitiser before and after going to the shelves or using any library equipment. After using sanitiser, please let your hands dry fully before touching any of the books.  

  • You are encouraged to bring your own laptop. PCs won’t be available except by prior arrangement, so please contact library staff if you need to use one.  

  • Photocopiers and scanners will be available, and wipes and hand sanitiser will be provided. We recommend that you use your own camera where possible.  

  • Windows will be open to maximise air flow. We recommend that you bring warm clothing.  

  • Common room will not be open and there will be no catering or drinking water. You will need to leave the building for breaks. Please bring your own water bottle if needed. 

  • We encourage enquiries by email where possible. We are happy to arrange training sessions if you need any help and these can be held online.  

If you are unable to travel to the Library

We are still offering a scanning and enquiry service. You may also find some useful resources for your research in our online guides to Open and Free Access Materials for Research (launched March 2020) and Teaching British Histories of Race, Migration and Empire (August 2020).

Let us know if you have any questions and we look forward to welcoming readers back to the library. Contact us at ihr.library@sas.ac.uk or 020 7862 8760 (reduced hours as above).