During our trip to London, the Library team visited the Senate House Library, which is the central Library of the University of London and the School of Advanced Study, located within the iconic Senate House building in Bloomsbury. Its collections support academic research across 14 main subject areas in the arts, humanities and social sciences, and it is also home to unique special collections, rare books and archives.
The University of London was founded in 1836 and the Library was founded in 1871. The Library was transferred to Senate House in 1937/38. The building was taken over by the Ministry of Information during the Second World War and inspired George Orwell’s description of the Ministry of Truth in his novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’.
The Library holds over 2 million books and 1 200 archival collections, acquiring the latest publications, periodicals and journals in print and e-format as well as access to online databases, plus music recordings and film. The research lending library receives 155 000 visits from 40 000 registered users. Its electronic resources are accessed approximately 7.5 million times per year and there are over 3 000 requests for access to material held in special collections. Furthermore, it offers beautiful study spaces, as can be seen from the pictures we have taken.
The Senate House Library has a role to play in enabling collaborative research and in educating its users in how to search for and use information in both paper and digital format. The Senate House Library also offers events and exhibitions. Until 17 September, the Senate House Library invites all its visitors to explore a major exhibition – ‘Shakespeare Metamorphosis’ – to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of the poet.