University College of London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies Library

Author(s): Dannie Snyder (2018) – last update: 2018-06-21.


The University College of London’s (UCL) School of Slavonic and East European Studies Library holds over 200 archive collections. Most of them are fairly small collections, many contain material in a Slavonic language and quite a few contain or consist solely of photographs. All of the collections come from individuals or organisations with a connection to the areas studied by UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies.


Phone: tel. 020 7679 8702

Office hours: Although the Library is open 24 hours during the week in term-time, archive materials may only be consulted during staffed hours, 09:00-21:00 Monday-Friday or 10:00-17:00 on Saturday. (During vacation periods 10:00-19:00 Monday-Friday and 10:00-17:00 on Saturday.)


For more information about using the whole library, see

How to plan and to prepare a visit

Access to the majority of archive collections is unrestricted and they can be consulted in the Library without special permission, although they prefer that you make an appointment in advance. A number of collections are accessible only after a formal application and the acceptance of special conditions.

To arrange an archives appointment, contact Please provide brief details of your research and specify exactly which archive materials you wish to consult. (A detailed description of each collection is available on their website.) You are welcome to suggest a date and time for your visit and they will try to accommodate your preferences wherever possible, but for practical reasons they do not normally accept bookings from more than two archive users on any single day. Please also note that the Library is extremely busy during examination periods. Unless your visit is particularly urgent you are advised to avoid booking an archives appointment during the month of May.


On the first day of your visit you will be asked to complete an ‘Access to Archives’ registration form agreeing to their standard terms and conditions. If you do not already have a UCL library card, they will issue you with a free reference ticket to the Library for the duration of your visit. Please ensure that you bring photographic proof of ID with you and also some proof of your home address, such as a bank statement or utility bill.

Reading Rooms

The Library occupies the four lowest floors of the SSEES building in Taviton Street. The entrance to the Library and the Library Help Desk are located on the Ground Floor, while the main reading areas are on the Lower Ground, First and Second Floors.

You may work in whichever part of the Library you find most comfortable. However, the archives table is located on the second floor of the Library. You may take nonarchival books / periodicals from one floor to another and you can consult up to three boxes / volumes of archival material specifically at the archival table at any one time. (Of course, you can request more than three items for your visit. If you would like to prioritise particular items from a collection, please let them know before your arrival.) For nonarchival materials, please leave your materials on one of the shelving trolleys when you have finished, not on a desk or back on the shelves. The library has a 24-Hour Reservation Shelf on the Lower Ground Floor where you may reserve nonarchival materials for further use.

Archival materials may not be photocopied, but you are welcome to take photos for the purpose of private study. Please ensure the flash on your camera is switched off. Special terms apply to the reproduction of photographs and the photography of documents for publication; further information is available on request. Archival material is not available for loan.

Archive databases & Online finding aids

An online guide to the collections is available. All catalogues are available online and these catalogues are linked to the guide. Since many of the collections are very small. i.e. one volume, they are only described at collection level.

In 2009, UCL SSEES Library took part in the EU-funded EuropeanaTravel project. UCL SSEES Library’s contribution to the project included over 300 volumes of printed accounts of travels in Central and Eastern Europe as well as Russia dating from 1557 through 1860. Over 200 maps were also digitised, the oldest dating back to the 1540s.

Practical advice

Again, it is very important that you bring proof of your home address, such as a bank statement or utility bill.

Citation Suggestion

Snyder, Dannie: University College of London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies Library, in: ESE Archives Guide: A Web Guide to East and Southeast European Archives, 2018 (2018-06-21),

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