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Information for undergraduate students

Most of the information you need can be found in your course handbook, which you can download from the list below. You can also get in touch with your course contact with any questions.

Downloadable documents

Library resources for undergraduate students

    • The college library is located on the first floor of the Malet Street building.
    • Give yourself time to find your way around it and make the most of its facilities: not only is it an invaluable resource for your degree studies, but mastering the skills of library use is in itself an important part of the learning process.
    • Introductory tours of the library by library staff will be arranged for First-Year students at the beginning of the autumn term. At other times, too, the library staff are there to help you.
    • Library opening hours
    • Information for new students
    • Most books are available for loan, but you will also find useful reference material and periodicals for consultation within the library. The computerised catalogue enables you to locate books either on the shelves, or, if they are not available in Birkbeck, in other University of London libraries. Reservations can also be made by computer. Books not available in the Birk¬≠beck library can be obtained by inter-library loan. Photocopying facilities are also available.

    Department of English and Humanities' library

    • You can borrow from the Department of English and Humanities library, which has an excellent and continually expanding collection of literary reference books and essential texts.
    • Ask the BA Administrators about borrowing arrangements.

    University of London Library

    • The University of London Library is on the fourth floor of Senate House, next door to Birkbeck.
    • This is one of the best university libraries in the UK, and we are very fortunate in having immediate access to it. As the principal library resource serving the whole university, this is an extremely comprehensive collection, with outstanding provision for English and a very wide range of periodicals.
    • You are strongly advised to familiarise yourself with it as soon as possible. The computerised catalogue can be consulted in the Birkbeck College Library, and reservations made by computer.
    • Tours of this library will be available during the Induction period in the first week of term.
    • At the time of writing, details of membership for the coming year are still being finalised, but will be available to you at the start of term.

    Books: to buy or borrow?

    • Throughout your course you will be given reading lists, which will include both:
      1. essential texts forming the basis of lectures and seminars
      2. suggestions for wider reading.
    • The distinction between these two categories will be clearly marked. The first, you will normally be expected to buy; particular versions or editions are specified in some cases. If you have trouble obtaining the recommended version, or already own an alternative, a substitute will often be acceptable; consult the lecturer concerned if you are in any doubt. If you intend to rely on libraries, bear in mind that many other students will inevitably need the books at exactly the same time as you do.
    • You may choose to buy some of the books recommended for further or wider reading, but some are likely to be much more useful than others. To buy them all would be prohibitively expensive and indeed impossible, since older books are often out of print. Sample what is available in libraries, and get advice from your lecturers and seminar tutors, to help you decide what will be most useful; and be prepared to use libraries efficiently. Short photocopied passages from critical works will sometimes be distributed where close reading is necessary.