UCL Library Services


Modern languages


Book collections

The principal collections for Modern Languages: French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romance, German, Germanic and Scandinavian languages (including Faroese), are located in the North end of the Main Library, while the Dutch collection is located on the 2nd floor of the Main library at the end of the History corridor.

The library catalogue is the principal tool to find books, journals and other materials (either in print or in electronic format) held in UCL libraries. On the catalogue, you will find the details with the details of the location of the materials you are looking for: library site, collection and shelfmark.

You will need shelfmark to locate the books on the shelf, so it is important that you remember to write it down (or take a picture). For more help watch Where's that book? video that shows you how to find books using the catalogue.

Not all materials are available on the open shelves: materials marked  STORE have to be requested in advance. To request Store materials log into your library account or use the store request form.

You can find more information about Stores Services in the General resources section at the bottom of this page.

Other Collections you are likely to need are:

Main library
  • ART includes FILM STUDIES
  • HISTORY: for individual European countries’ political, social and economic history and the Latin American History collection for extensive coverage of Latin American social, political and economic history.
  • LITERATURE: includes books on literary topics not specific to any one language, literary theory, literature translated into English,
  • PHILOSOPHY: books and periodicals on European philosophy.
  • TRANSLATION STUDIES: for materials on translation theory, literary translation and specialised translation.
Science library:
  • ANTHROPOLOGY materials relating to Spanish and Latin American cultural studies
  • GEOGRAPHY includes a good collection on French social history.
Other UCL libraries

The Language & Speech Science (LASS) Library holds books and periodicals on the theory and practice of language study. 

School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) library: includes major holdings of the history and literature of East Germany and other German-speaking areas, Finland and the Baltic region.


Print Journals/periodicals are usually Reference only; recent issues are available on the open shelves while older volumes are kept at STORE and need to be ordered in advance via our Stores service.

German, Romance languages and Scandinavian Periodicals are located in the Main library, 1st Floor, North side.

The Humanities Periodicals are located in the Main Library, 1st Floor, South side.

Dutch periodicals are located in the Dutch room in the Main library, 2nd Floor, South side

Online resources: E-books, e-journals and databases

Online resources can be accessed remotely by registered members of UCL holding a UCL userid and password.  

The best  way to find a title (e-book or e-journal) is to use the the library catalogue.

E-books & e-journals

You can browse our e-book collections and e-journal collections. E-journals relevant for languages and literature can be found on these platform: JSTOR, Project Muse and Cambridge Journals, Online Continental Europe Database (ProQuest) and Oxford Journals.

For comprehensive research use a specialist database: you can find  language specific online resources and databases under the relevant language section below.

For more help in how to use online resources visit the Electronic Resources or Databases library pages.

AV material - Films

The library subscribes to two video streaming services: Kanopy whose materials can be found searching the Library catalogue and BoB National (Box of Broadcasts) a searchable database of TV and Radio Programmes (not on the catalogue)

The library also holds a DVDs collection; DVDs can be borrowed and watched at home or in the library, use the library catalogue search for DVDs.

Additionally The Self-access Centre at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE) offers streaming access to off-air record­ings (films, doc­u­men­taries, lec­tures) particular relevant for languages.

Dutch e-collections
French e-collections
German e-collections
Italian e-collections
Scandinavian e-collections
Spanish & Portuguese e-collections

General Resources

To locate material not held by UCL you can use COPAC: an online catalogue with records of the holdings of 26 of the top research libraries in the country.

Libraries that focus on particular languages or subjects:

Dutch, German & Italian
  • Warburg Institute has strong collections in Art, History of Art (especially German, Italian and Dutch). Italian literature (from Dante to the 17th cent.). German and Italian Historiography (from antiquity to the present) and Renaissance studies.
  • German Historical Institute Library the collections focus on German history from the Middle Ages to the present, with special emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries and particularly on Germany between 1933 and 1945, the development of the two German states and German unification after 1989.
  • The Goethe Institut Library holds a large collection of German books, magazines, audiobooks, German movies and documentaries.
  • La Médiathèque, part of the Institute Français in London, is one of the largest French libraries in the UK its collections include over 5000 French DVDs and CDs as well as French books (including e-books) magazines and newspapers.
Spanish, Portuguese
  • The Institute of Latin American Studies (located in Senate House) collects materials covering Latin America and the Caribbean: all the territories of Central and South America as well as the islands of the Caribbean (including the English-, Dutch- and French-speaking communities), the subjects covered are: history, politics, economics, anthropology, sociology, gender studies with an emphasis on literature, films and documentaries. Much of the material is unique and has been sourced directly from the countries of origin, consequently a large proportion of materials is in Spanish, Portuguese and French.
  • The Library at the Instituto Cervantes holds a good collection of books, DVDs, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines. Members of the library also have remote access to online resources.
  • The Maugham Library at King's College London has a strong collection of Spanish and Latin American materials. The collection includes the Canning House's collection which was transferred to King's in 2012. The Canning House Library collection was one of the largest collections in the UK on Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries that at the time was available to the general public. The collection covers Latin American literature, film, the visual arts, music, archaeology, the cultures of Latin America’s indigenous people, history, politics and geography.

Please remember to check, access restrictions, with the library you intend to visit before turning up.

You can find more information about using other libraries on the other libraries pages.

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Library Services offers training and support to all staff and students.

For one to one training sessions on how to use online subject specific databases or using software to manage references and citations, do get in touch with me directly using the contact details on the right.

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Please visit the Research Support pages to find out how the library can help you with your research. 

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