Library Services


English Language & Literature

Book collections

English reading room

The ENGLISH Collection is on the first floor of the Main Library in the Wilkins building. The collection covers English and American language and literature across all time periods and genres.

The LITERATURE collection is along the North Corridor that leads to the English Collection, this contains literary topics not specific to a national literature, such as literary theory and comparative literature. It also includes literary works translated into English from other languages.

The Library has its own classification scheme for arranging books on the shelves, a typical shelfmark for a book on the open shelves will begin with the name of a subject (indicating a section of the library) followed by letters and numbers denoting its position on the shelves in that section, for example

  • ENGLISH E 320.6 PEA for a book about Chaucer.
  • ENGLISH P 200 BLA for an introduction to the Victorian novel.
  • LITERATURE A 48 CLA for a book about literature and science.

Here is a detailed version of the classification scheme for English.

A shelfmark beginning with the word STORE refers to a work housed away from the UCL Main Library. You will need to request these items via Explore. Most Store items are borrowable and can usually be collected from the Science Library Assistance Desk from 3pm the following day, for more information about the Stores service see the link below.

Journal collections

The library subscribes to English periodicals in print and electronic format. Print periodicals are shelved next to the book collection, recently-published issues are displayed in racks. Some older titles and those which are available electronically are kept in Stores. Use Explore to find out the location of printed journals or to access the electronic version of the journal where available.

Other Collections

There are many other collections you might find useful, for example:


Includes coverage of European, Latin American and United States social, political and economic history and a special collection on London History. Located in the Main Library, 2nd floor.


A collection of multidisciplinary humanities periodicals, including the Times Literary Supplement. Located near the English collection.

Audio Visual Collections

Plays, feature films and documentaries are available on DVD. Located in the Main Library Help Point area.

Special Collections

Old, valuable, and rare material is held in UCL Special Collections, and is available for reference only, by appointment. This includes, for example, the GEORGE ORWELL ARCHIVE, the JAMES JOYCE COLLECTION, the POETRY STORE and LITTLE MAGAZINES.

Language & Speech Science library (LASS)

Language, Linguistics and Phonetics materials, located at Chandler House, 2 Wakefield Street London WC1N 1PF.

Online resources

Explore enables you to search for material within a single resource or across a range of resources simultaneously and obtain instant access to the online full-text material we subscribe to.

You should use specialist databases to conduct comprehensive research.

Here is a list of online databases for English Studies grouped together.

If you are off campus, you will be prompted for your UCL userid and password.

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

Other Internet resources

Freely available web-based material you might find of interest:

  • Survey of English Usage Research in English Language and Linguistics, based in UCL Department of English Language and Literature. Wealth of information about current and completed research projects.
  • British National Corpus 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources.
English and American Literature

General Resources

  • Senate House Library (University of London, Malet Street) has a large collection of English and American Language and Literature, and is especially strong in periodicals holdings. Any registered member of UCL can join the library and borrow from there.
  • The British Library is a useful resource and all UCL staff and students can apply directly for reference access. You will need to bring identification showing proof of address (e.g. utility bill), proof of signature (e.g. driving licence) and proof of student or research status (UCL ID card) in order to obtain a reader's pass.
  • The Poetry Library is a comprehensive collection of modern and contemporary British poetry, based at the Southbank, London. Anyone can join and borrow items.

There is also more information about using other libraries, and links to other library catalogues. 

Library Services offers training and support to all staff and students. However, if you prefer, please do get in touch with me directly using the contact details on the right.