Membership and Admission

How can I join the library?

There are two categories of membership to the library, Institute membership and Society Membership.

Institute membership is for both UK and overseas postgraduate students and academics. This membership is free of charge, but is for reference use of the library only (see Who can borrow books?). To apply, please ask for a form from the library desk. If you are unsure as to whether you qualify for institute membership, please email the library or call the library desk on 020 7862 8709.

Society membership is for anyone who wishes to borrow books, including academics, undergraduate students, postgraduate students, private individuals (at the discretion of the librarian) or institutions. There are two societies: the Hellenic Society and the Roman Society, both of which take annual subscriptions.

For prices and membership forms, see the Hellenic Society and Roman Society websites. Please note that the Roman Society does not require the name of a tutor's while this is requested by the Hellenic Society and students need to ask their tutor to email the Hellenic Secretary. You may hand an application form in to the library desk or post it or join on-line.  Please see Who can borrow books?

To apply for either of these and to collect your library card, please come to the library desk, email the library or call 020 7862 8709.

Who can borrow books?

Only members of the Hellenic or Roman Societies who are resident in or a visitor to the UK can borrow books. Please see How many books can I borrow, and for how long?

Can non-members use the library?

Non-members cannot usually use the library. However, subject to the discretion of the librarian, anyone with appropriate accreditation may apply for reference access for a maximum of two days, particularly to consult material not available elsewhere, by completing a Visitor's form upon entry to the Library. However, the Librarian reserves the right, if the Library is overcrowded at any time, to ask non-members to return when there is less pressure on space.

Using the Library, Borrowing and Scanning/Photocopying

Where is the library?

The library is located on the third floor of the south block in Senate House. A map and transport information can be found on our Location page.

What are the opening hours?

The opening hours of the library change depending on the academic year. Please see our Opening Hours page.

Do I need to bring my library card every time I visit?

Yes. If you forget your card, you may borrow a temporary card from the library desk at a charge of £1. If your card is lost or stolen, please contact the library as soon as possible. Replacement for a lost card will cost £5, if your card has been stolen and you can produce an incident report, this charge will be waived.

If your card is worn out, we will replace it free of charge.

Is everything in the library open access?

The majority of the collection is open access. However, books in the following locations are not available for browsing, but can be ordered for collection at the library desk (prior notice is appreciated):
ICLASS Theses Room*
ICLASS Library Office
ICLASS Cupboard
and some ICLASS Folios
*Please note that Tract volumes, Tract Boxes and Dissertation Boxes are on open access in the library.

If ordering an item for collection, please do so in advance where possible, or before 1.00pm on the day.

Can I renew and request books online?

Books are now renewed once automatically, if not required by another reader. If a book is on loan to another member, you can also request that it is recalled and put on hold for you.

How many books can I borrow, and for how long?

Only members of the Hellenic or Roman Societies who are resident in or a visitor to the UK can borrow books. Membership to one society entitles the member to borrow 5 books for 30 days, with one renewal only; membership of both societies entitles the member to borrow 10 books for 30 days, with one renewal only.

Please note that books with a shelf mark starting with X (e.g. X 99A.1 CON ) are for reference use only, and cannot be taken out of the library.

Can I make scans / prints from items in the library?

Whether you can scan is subject to two conditions: the Copyright Acts and the condition of the material to be copied.

Users are responsible for any breach of copyright (for details, see here Guidelines are displayed by the scanner and photocopy machines.

In order to use the library scanner (not available at present - library staff make all scans for readers) it is necessary to purchase a a blank re-usable card for an initial cost of £1.00. Value is then added to the card by the library staff. The cost of a scan (colour or black and white) is 5p. Prints cost 10p (there is an option for double-sided copies) and can only be made in black and white.

The library does offer a postal service for scans / prints both within the UK and overseas. The member will be charged at the cost of postage and scans at a cost of 5p or photocopies / prints at 10p per page. Please note that there is a £5 charge for non-members to use the scan service. Please contact the library with any requests.

Is there a book postal service?

The library offers a postal service to residents of the UK and those who are staying in the UK. Please see What is the procedure for postal loans within the UK?

Is there a group study area in the library?

The library is for silent study only, however members are welcome to use the Lobby area on the Second Floor of the South Block in Senate House or the Cafe area for any discussions. (The cafe is currently closed)

Postal Loans and Scanning/Photocopying Service

How can I make a scanning (photocopying) request?

The library does offer a service to send scans as e-mail attachments or to post black and white prints or pdfs (or tif / jpg files) (from scans) both within the UK and overseas, subject to copyright regulations or The member will be charged at the cost of postage plus copies at 10p per page. Please note that there is a limit of 75 pages per person per week. There is a £5 charge for non-members to use this service. Please contact the library with requests which are dealt with in the order in which they are received. The Library staff would expect to be able to process requests within a week of receipt. All requests will require a copyright declaration before they can be sent, and must comply with copyright legislation.

Please note that during the current COVID-19 pandemic we have put an additional limit on requests at one scan of an article or chapter per week.

What is the procedure for postal loans within the UK?

The library offers a postal service to addresses within the UK. Please email enquiries or call the library desk on 0207 862 8709. The books will be sent out, providing that they are available for loan, with a payment slip to cover postage costs. This can be paid by credit or debit card (if the amount is over £10.00), by bank transfer (please ask for bank details) or by a cheque made out to "The Hellenic and Roman Library". 
Due to staff shortages in the postal room, the postage of packages out from this building is taking longer than usual and we apologise for any inconveniene caused.

Scanning Service

How do I scan items?

The Library is pleased to announce that we have a Scanner which is available for use by readers. It is possible to scan in colour, grey scale for images while the black and white option is for text. Scans should be saved to a USB at a cost of 5p per scan (Please bring your own USB) or may be printed - black and white only - at a cost of 10p per page. Payment is made by loading credit onto a new and re-usable plastic copy card. This needs to be done at the Library desk by Library staff. The scanner will be available until 10 minutes before closing time.


Are there any computing facilities in the library?

We have four PCs in our Electronic Resource room. A full list of which can be found in the Digital Resources section of our website. A new project to allow access to these resources from any of the 4 PCs is almost complete. Further work in January 2020 should see the completion of this work.

Can I print in the library?

You may print from the PCs in the Electronic Resource room. Printing can be picked up from the library desk at a cost of 10p per sheet for black and white. Please contact the library desk if you plan to print more than 30 pages.

Can I take my laptop into the library?

Laptops are permitted in the library; however, laptop cases are not.

Please leave cases and bags in the lockers before entering the library.

There are network points and power sockets at each desk.

Is there internet access in the library?

The internet can be accessed by the PCs in the Electronic Resources room, or on laptops using wireless or a network cable. Network cables and instructions to use wireless can be found at the library desk.

To which e-resources does the library have access?

Please see our Digital Resources page for a list. Alternatively, contact the library with any enquiries.


Is there a place in the building for lunch, (hot and cold snacks), coffee and socialising?

The café (temporarily closed due to covid)-19 on the ground floor is open 08.30 - 18.00 Monday - Friday only and has table seating nearby where members may consume their own food / drinks. There is now a vending machine with "healthy snacks" which takes coins and card payments which have a 6% surcharge. The refurbished Institute of Historical Research has its own common room / cafe for members. The lobby of the 2nd floor of the South Block has sofas / tables where you may relax / talk / eat your own food. The old common room known as the "Painted ceiling room" on the 3rd floor of the South Block is no longer available as it is now used for Conferences / Seminars.

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