Induction Week Somersetting Takeover: Reviewing London Libraries for KCL Students

By Tanzim Kamali

Each year, departing third-year students in our department put together a guide for arriving first years. This year’s magazine – titled “Somersetting” – offers a student perspective on studying English at King’s and addresses some issues of concern for new students. During induction week, the blog will be spotlighting sections of this year’s magazine.

Next up… Tanzim Kamali reviews some of London’s libraries.

British Library

Closest station: King’s Cross/ Euston
30 min walk from Strand Campus
Sign up beforehand for a Reader Pass

+ Loads of spaces in the Reading Rooms
+ They have a copy of every publication in the UK which you can request to read in the Reading Rooms at short notice
+ They always have cool exhibitions to discover on breaks from studying
+ It’s the UK’s national research library!

– Can’t take much into the Reading Rooms, have to leave it in the
cloakroom
– Finding a seat outside of the Reading Rooms is impossible

Senate House Library

Closest station: Russell Square/ Goodge Street
25 min walk from Strand Campus
Use your KCL card to sign up for free membership

+ An impressive collection of books that are available to borrow, handy for when you don’t want to read a text in the BL
+ A good range of studying spaces but it takes some time to find them as most are hidden around bookshelves

– As it is a fairly old library, the building and its furniture is a bit on the musty side
– As the books are available to be borrowed, a lot of them aren’t in
great condition, especially the ones on the English reading lists

LSE Library

Closest station: Temple
5 min walk from Strand Campus
Currently only open to LSE students due to Covid, but otherwise you can use your KCL card to register for membership

+ Ridiculously close to Strand Campus
+ Modern and clean feel
+ Different types of study spaces, silent spaces, group spaces, low noise spaces

– Not the best collection of books for English students but when you find a book you need it is usually in great condition and easily obtainable due to the low demand on literature

Wellcome Collection

Closest station: Euston
32 min walk from Strand Campus
Book a free ticket before you visit

+ Quiet, spaced out seating (even before Covid)
+ The coolest science exhibitions to look at when you get bored

– They close at 5pm most days (close at 7pm on Thursdays) and they are closed Sundays too
– Like BL, you can’t take much in with you to the library, you have to put your bags/coats/food/drink away in the lockers provided before
heading into the library


The full magazine can be found here: Somersetting Magazine. Check back tomorrow for more coverage on the department blog!


Blog posts on King’s English represent the views of the individual authors and neither those of the English Department, nor of King’s College London.


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