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London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Library of the Week: 15th May: We are really looking forward to sharing this post from the amazing London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine! Find out more about the Library and their collections, as well as the Archives, details on the Open Research team and information on how to visit. Thank you to Eloise Carpenter, Collection Services Manager at LSHTM for writing this post! 


The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is renowned for its research, postgraduate studies and continuing education in public and global health.  LSHTM’s mission is to improve health and health equity in the UK and worldwide; working in partnership to achieve excellence in public and global health research, education and translation of knowledge into policy and practice.  Founded in 1899 at the London Docks, LSHTM is now based in Bloomsbury, where it has two main sites at Keppel Street and Tavistock Place, and additional sites in The Gambia and Uganda.

LSHTM, Keppel Street

The Library

The Library was built to be large and imposing, occupying place of honour at the front of building.  It has undergone a number of redevelopments although the main Reading Room remains unchanged.  At the far end is the Barnard Room, named after Cyril C. Barnard, the first librarian at LSHTM, who developed the Barnard Classification Scheme for Medical and Veterinary Libraries which is still used by the Library today and in other medical libraries around the world.  Recently, replicas of the original chandeliers have been installed and the original cork floor restored.

Library Reading Room

Library, Archive & Open Research Services (LAORS) provides access to books, journals, electronic resources and archives as well as study space.  We provide support and training in finding, managing and sharing information, manage reading lists and the organisation’s Records Management Service, and play a key role in LSHTM’s commitment to Open Research.

Library collections

Pamphlet collection, Gallery

Our main print collections hold over 17,000 book titles and 16,000 pamphlet titles.  Books published 2000 onwards are accessible on the open shelves in the Reading Room and Barnard Room, with older material published 1900-1999 available on request.  Pamphlets published 1900 onwards are located in the Gallery of the Reading Room.  The priority for book purchasing is texts identified on reading lists.  All reading list texts are purchased in electronic format where possible, with a number of print copies also purchased.

Books published before 1900 are held in our Historical Collection.  The Collection contains many rare volumes from the Victorian age of exploration and sanitary improvements, and earlier writings on health and disease from the UK and internationally.  The Collection is housed in secure closed stores and may only be consulted under supervision and may not be borrowed by individuals.

All serial subscriptions are in electronic-only format.  LAORS currently provides access to over 7,000 unique eJournal titles.  Most subscriptions have moved over to a Read & Publish model due to the implementation of Plan S and the acceleration to a fully Open Access landscape.  Older print serial volumes are held offsite at the University of London depository store in Egham.  The Library holds no print journals published after 2014.

Discover is our online search tool and the starting point to access all our collections and resources.


Reading Room armchair and books

The Archives hold documents, letters, photographs, maps, publications and objects relating to tropical and infectious diseases and public health issues.  Collections date from the mid-nineteenth century.  The Archives also includes material on the history and development of LSHTM since its foundation in 1899.  A large number of LSHTM’s archive collections are now accessible via the archive on-line catalogue.

Key collections:

Ross collection

Sir Ronald Ross is famous for being the discoverer of the mosquito transmission of malaria and the first Briton to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.  Our collections cover his scientific work and personal interests, as well as the establishment of the Ross Institute.

Nutrition collection

The Nutrition Collection consists of historical records relating to scientific investigations in the field of nutrition created and collected by LSHTM staff between the 1920s and 1990s.  The collection reflects the global and collaborative nature of LSHTM’s work in the field of nutrition, with records relating to countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe and to projects with a range of organisations, including WHO, FAO, UN, BMA and the MRC.

HIV/AIDS collection

The HIV/AIDS archive collections are a rich and varied resource demonstrating the national and international responses to the treatment and prevention of this devastating disease.  Materials reflect LSHTM’s long involvement in tackling the epidemic dating back to 1980s and holds papers relating to epidemiology, AIDS activism, public health campaigns, health policy formation and contemporary history.

The Whitehall Study

The Whitehall Study, carried out by the Department of Medical Statistics & Epidemiology at LSHTM was a longitudinal health survey of the Civil Service, 1967-1970. The study screened over 18,000 men, aged 45-60, based in the London area primarily for cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. High-risk individuals were then selected for a series of controlled trials on smoking cessation, weight loss and reducing blood sugar. The survey cohort was also monitored with all forms of mortality recorded. By 1982, investigators were able to show that the lower the status of the job held, the worse the health status. The findings led to the establishment of the second Whitehall Study in 1985, to further investigate the social inequalities of health, and continues to the present day.

Open Research

Our Open Research Services team provide support and guidance on publishing Open Access, Research Data Management, Open Science and Research Information, including APC processing and fund administration, licensing and copyright, data management plans, LSHTM Research Online, LSHTM Data Compass and LSHTM Press.  LSHTM Research Online is an open access repository, including journal articles, theses and videos by LSHTM authors.  LSHTM Data Compass is a curated digital repository of research outputs produced by LSHTM and its collaborators, with a mix of open access content and content available on request.

Plaque to Cyril C. Barnard, LSHTM’s first librarian

Visiting the Library

A Reading Room chandelier

LSHTM students and staff can visit the Library at any time during our opening hours.  The LAORS online enquiries service is also available throughout the Library opening hours.  Members of LSHTM’s Alumni Association and current staff and students from other UK institutions who are members of SCONUL Access (bands A, B, C) or the Access25 scheme may apply to join the Library as an External Member.

Visitors, SCONUL Access Reference users, and staff and students from University of London institutions, are welcome to register as ‘Walk-in Visitors’ to use the Library during visitor opening hours to gain reference access to our specialist print collections.  We are unable to admit visitors who wish to use the Library for study space only.

Contact: email or phone us on 020 7927 2276.

Eloise Carpenter – Collection Services Manager

 All images: Eloise Carpenter Copyright: LSHTM

You can explore the library’s collections on Discover and find further contact details on their Discover information page.

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