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Using the Library

Admission to the Library

Information for SOAS staff and students can be found on My SOAS.

Everyone is welcome to join the Library in some way and make use of our extensive collections, even if it's only for one day.
Please complete our membership form

Please do not make any payments until we have confirmed your membership; You are asked to provide a passport-sized photograph by email to

After your membership application has been processed, we will contact you to arrange booking of your first visit to the library. 

Please see SOAS Library rules


Reference only membership for Alumni: free
Free of charge access is available to employees and students of some UK University and everyone can have up to 3 free visits to the library via "day membership".  Please use the "all other members" form for these memberships
Borrowing membership for non-commercial visitors:  5 books at a time: £200 per year
Reference membership for non-commercial visitors: £100

Alumni borrowing (5 books at a time): £60


Please note that we are unable to accommodate guests of staff, students or visitors. All library visitors must pre-book and visitors who do not have an appointment will not be admitted.. Further information is available from

Please read Information for all Library visitors before applying to join SOAS Library.

Policy for Children and Young People on SOAS Premises - October 2018 (pdf; 78kb) 

Important Notice

Please read the information on our website and ensure that you are paying for the right membership to avoid additional costs as we do not issue refunds for cancelled membership.

We will charge the full price for “Borrowing Membership” even if you already have a “Reference Membership” as our payment structure will not permit such upgrades. This applies to all membership types without exception.

Commercial researchers

Commercial Day Membership
  • £20 per single visit
  • Proof of ID must be shown at each visit e.g. passport, driving licence, photo ID card, staff card
  • Day membership is for reference only and is for those who are conducting research for commercial purposes (as opposed to doing research for their own private study or learning)
Please complete the library Membership Online form:  

Corporate Membership (longer term reference access & borrowing rights) please conatct

Lost, stolen and forgotten ID cards

If your card is lost or stolen

If your card is stolen , please report it to the library as soon as possible. We do not accept Crime Reference numbers. You are responsible for any transactions made on your card.

SOAS Staff and Students

Please contact to request a new card

Other Library Members

We charge £5 pounds for replacement ID, please contact

University of London

University of London colleges

University of London staff and students should apply using the SCONUL Access Scheme and complete the SOAS Library  membership form




Reference only

Taught Postgraduates

5 books for 2 weeks

MPhil/PhD Students

5 books for 2 weeks


5 books for 2 weeks

Students doing a course at SOAS as part of their degree should apply to the SOAS Registry.

Please note that University of London International students will need to produce a valid UoL Photo ID with an expiry date in order to be considered for membership.