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Library Services



SSEES Area Guide to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Eurasia

Books and e-books

The majority of the print collection is kept on the open shelves at UCL SSEES Library. Most is located on the Second Floor of the Library, with the exception of books on Central Asia, which are located on the Lower Ground Floor.

To find the physical location of a particular collection, please check our self-guided tour of UCL SSEES Library.

There is a relatively small number of older books that remain accessible via the card catalogue only. These are mainly related to Russia. The card catalogue can be found on the second floor of the Library.

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Pamphlets, fragile or rare items are held in the onsite local store and are available on request. Low-use material is relegated to UCL Library Services off-site store. For information on how to find and request store items, please see our stores service page.

There is an increasing number of e-books, particularly English language materials. Almost all of our books and e-books can be found in Explore, our library catalogue.


The book collection is very comprehensive and include rare books, such as Ulozhenie tsaria Aleksieia Mikhalovicha [1649], classics writings including Dostoevskii, Kupala, Shevchenko, Tolstoy, Ukrainka, Lermontov and many others, many of them as complete works.

The collection also has an extensive selection of modern writers, represented by authors such as Svetlana Alexievich, Vasil Bykau, Victor Pelevin, Olga Slavnikova, Ludmila Ulitskaya,  Mikhail Shishkin, Oksana Zabuzhko and Serhiy Zhadan.

There are writings on and by political leaders including Lenin, Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Kuchma, Yuschenko, Shushkevich contemporary political figures such as Gennadyi Ziuganov, Sergei Mironov, Vladimir Zhirinovskii, Aleksandr Lukashenko, modern political writers or investigative journalists.

The Art collection includes works on such prominent artists as Kandinsky, Rodchenko, Rublev, etc. The Cinema collection covers Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, Mikhalkov, etc.

Recent political events such as the ‘colour’ revolutions, the Khodorkovskii affair, the murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko, the Georgian War of 2008, the Pussy Riot case, the Ukrainian crisis and the Trump presidency are all reflected in Library holdings.

How to find a book at UCL SSEES Library

To take an example, a book on Russian history would be found in a sequence of other books relating to various aspects of Russian studies. The first element of the classification is an alphabetical mnemonic for the country – for Russia this is the letter “R”. This is followed by Roman numerals – the classification for history is “IX” and will be followed by further subdivisions to describe different historical periods. The pattern is similar for other countries: Bel.IX is the section for Belarusian history, U.IX for Ukrainian history, and so on.  Our classification scheme can be found on "Using the Library" page.

Other collections

  • Art includes Film Studies.
  • Economics: provides material on economic theory and policy.
  • Hebrew & Jewish Studies: covers all aspects of Jewish history, languages, literature and culture.
  • History: for individual European countries' political, social and economic history and the Latin American History collection for extensive coverage of Latin American social, political and economic history.
  • Literature: includes books on literary topics not specific to any one language, literary theory, literature translated into English.
  • Philosophy: books and periodicals on European philosophy.
  • Political Science and Public Policy
  • Geography. There are sections on physical geography, human geography and material relating to specific countries.
  • The British Library holds one of the leading research collections in the world for the study of Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and the former USSR.
  • The Senate House Library holds collections specialising in the arts, literature, the humanities and social sciences.