Senate House Library occupies the fourth to seventh floor of Senate House in Russel Square (between UCL and Birkbeck). The Library is open to all staff and students of the colleges within the University of London.
We have paid for all Goldsmiths students to have full-access, this means that once you have joined you can borrow books and access their e-resources from home. It also means that you have a great place to go and study if you don’t fancy coming to New Cross. But be sure to check their opening times before you travel.
To become a member of the Senate House Library, you just need to go there with your valid Goldsmiths ID card and register, you can even pre-register on-line to make it quicker. Though our libraries are not officially linked (you cannot return their books to us or vice-versa) this does mean the number of books you can borrow in total is increased. For example as an undergraduate you can borrow 10 books from Goldsmiths and an additional 8 books from Senate House.
The library holds around three million volumes, including 120,000 volumes printed before 1851. Along with a subscription to over 5,200 Journals, other resources include the Goldsmiths’ (not us) Library of Economic Literature, and the Palaeography room’s collection of western European manuscripts. The library also holds over 170,000 theses by graduate students. You can check their catalogue from home to make sure they have what you need. If there is a book that Goldsmiths does not stock and nor does Senate House then we can try and get it for you through an Inter-Library Loan.
Please remember that you will need to pay any late fines you owe to Senate House Library before you can graduate from Goldsmiths (you cannot settle these fines through Goldsmiths).
The British Library is one of the UK’s Legal deposit libraries. This means that the British Library automatically receives a copy of every book (which includes pamphlets, magazines and newspapers). Being a student in London means you can easily visit the British Library and have access to their 56 million items, all of which can be searched on the catalogue.
Becoming a member
To be able to access the reading rooms at the British Library you need to be a member. To become a member you have to be at least a first year undergraduate student and need access to something that they hold. You can pre-register online, and then just take in your documentation to fully register and gain your reader pass. You will need proof of identity and address, full details of the items you need to consult and your student card (this must be a valid Goldsmiths card not just your NUS card.)
The Reading Rooms
There are 11 reading rooms in total. Some items can only be read in certain reading rooms and you will be told this when you order the item, but the majority can be read in whichever reading room suits you. No items can be taken out of the reading rooms, they have to be collected and returned to the issue desks in each room.
All the rooms at the British Library have very strict rules. The main ones to remember are that no coats, bags, pens, food, or drink can be taken into the reading rooms, and absolutely no mobile phones! Do not let all the rules put you off, they are there to make sure everyone can study there without disruption.
If you do not want to visit the British Library, we can get inter-library loans of many of the books or copies of articles that are held there.
On the 10th December 2012 we had some very special guests in Special Collections! In collaboration with the Department of Music, the Bookshop Band performed a selection of their songs and gave a talk about their song writing techniques, transforming the Special Collections reading room into an intimate music venue.
Formed in late September 2010, The Bookshop Band write songs inspired by books, and play them in bookshops. Most of the songs come from when their local bookshop in Bath, Mr Bs Emporium Of Reading Delights, hosts an author evening. The band read the book, and write two songs inspired by it, to be performed at the start of the evening, with the author in the audience.
After the first year of events they had recorded four albums, and quietly released a boxset with them all in. Supported by VINTAGE BOOKS the band went on a tour of independent bookshops around the UK in 2012, also coinciding with Independent Bookseller’s Week. Over this period they have been featured on 6Music, The Today Program, Front Row, BBC 1 News, and The Guardian among others. During 2012 the band have written a further three albums and hope to record them for release in early 2013.
Above is just one of the songs performed last term in the library, and is inspired by Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch.
The event was a great success and enjoyed by all students and staff who attended. Have a look at the Bookshop Band website for more videos and book-inspired songs.
What is LION?
LION (Literature Online) is a database which provides the full text of 350,000 English and American novels, plays and poems. The emphasis is on texts up to 1914, including many titles in the Penguin Classics range, although the poetry continues up to the present day. The content also includes literary criticism in books and journal articles; author biographies; literary reference works; multi-media material; and related web links.
In addition to the LION core collection, Goldsmiths also subscribes to two additional collections: Twentieth Century Drama and the African Writers Series.
The ‘Multi-media’ section consists of three databases. Poets on Screen provides nearly 900 filmed clips of poets reading their poems or other classic poems. Shakespeare Audio Plays contains dramatised, unabridged audio recordings of Shakespeare’s 38 plays. Poetry Archive Audio has links to the text and audio of over 900 poems on the Poetry Archive web site.
The ‘Reference Shelf’ consists of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, Webster’s Dictionary, Shakespeare Glossary, and the King James Bible. The core collection includes the contents of fifteen leading literary reference works.
How do I access LION?
Access is via the E-resources A-Z list on the Library web pages, at For off-campus access you need your IT username and password (click on the green ‘W’ to log-in on the ‘Shibboleth’ screen).
A general search divides the results into the above categories. Alternatively you can search within a particular category, e.g. authors, texts or criticism, or browse the indexes.
Welcome back to Goldsmiths for 2013!
In December we gave you the opportunity to write your winter wish for the library on a decoration to hang on the tree. There is now a display on the notice board outside the Digital Media Suite showing all the wishes and the Library responses.
Here is a complete list of everything that was wished for (these were copied down exactly which is why some of them aren’t quite right):
- Yes for a hot drinks machine and group study space would be good
- A tea/coffee machine would be perfect! ❤
- Hot drinks would definitely be great to have in the library to avoid having to pack everything everytime. Thanks!
- Hot coffee needed!
- Whatever you do don’t put a café in the library. Look at Queen Mary Uni as an example. It has not worked at all, students work less in there. I love Goldsmiths Library, I wish you all health and pay-rises.
- Café, Sex room
- Water! Hot for tea-making cold for refreshment and survival please
- Water Coolers! And don’t close the library for so long for holidays
- Access to cheap bottles of water (library is very hot!)
- Water Fountain, Happy Holidays!
- A tap in the library to refill water bottles (sustainability!)
- Hot water so I can make Tea, Thank you.
- I wish for a room where I can make my own coffee and heat up my own food.
- Sleeping areas
- A nap area! With bean bags. They have them a LSE and UCL its really useful!
- Beds sleeping!
- A merry Christmas and very merry new year to all
- Be Happy
- An excellent Christmas for the nice librarian from “the periphery of Europe” who helped me re-register
- That all the librarians have a lovely holiday.
- All library staff have a merry Christmas!
- This is one of the most beautiful Christmas tree I saw. My wish is that you continue to be great as you are! Thank you!
- More room for DVDs and pay rises for all staff
- More art therapy Psych e-books! Student access to googlebooks/kindelbooks PDF?
- More current Adobe programme guides (Photoshop, illustrator, premier pro, InDesign) and other useful graphics how-to guides. DIY books/DVDs (repair, building, crafts, etc)
- The real wealth of nations Rianne Eisler
- I wish for more books, more copies of certain books and basics kept for reference actually one of each book should be kept in the library!
- Long-Distance learning support. Online Audio resources – recordings by composers
- It does get a bit noisy in the library sometimes. Just getting people to be quieter could help
- More silent Study and a café!
- More silent study space
- I would like a change machine for printing please
- A photocopier upstairs for copying articles from journals and a print payment machine upstairs.
- A change machine – a coffee machine – reading groups?
- Please more printers (maybe upstairs) especially colourful ones
- Different set of computers for short-term use (emails) v. long-term use (writing essays) Hot drinks machine not cafe– already too loud and crowded.
- At least one place on the second/first floors to take out/return books and photocopy on second. A place to fill water bottles and make tea/coffee, heat food. Not a café.
- Keep the 24-hour opening please
- Please do not close we need library in our holiday life!
- May the library stay open forever and ever
- I want to do an exhibition in the library with book-objects that I make.
- To have toilets that lock! And no leaky taps (computer room-side toilets on all floors)
- That my Card will work first time in the turnstiles
- I want to be with the German Queen
- A pair of boots that fit