Portuguese and Lusophone

Portuguese resources

2. resources in the UK

2.3 libraries

We cannot list all the libraries holding Portuguese research materials and resources in the UK. Before checking one of the larger libraries on this page, make sure to search your University’s library catalogue first. You could also check other libraries near you. University libraries tend to have different specialties, which may vary due to the research interests of the lecturers and researchers associated with the institution.

Be creative while researching and use COPAC to locate your materials.

The British Library
The British Library is one of the world's greatest libraries. It holds over 150 million items from every age of global civilization. You can search the catalogues and order copies of some documents online. Access is free but you need to get a reader's pass. Photocopying, microfilming, photographic and digital services are available but be warned: charges are very high. If you can copy the materials elsewhere, then do so. Recommended webpages:

  • Hispanic Collections aquires and makes available selected publications in the humanities and social sciences at research level from Spain, Portugal, Latin America, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and the former Hispanic territories in Asia and Africa.
  • Catalogue of nineteenth-century Hispano-Lusophone Africana covers the BL’s holdings of material printed from 1801 to 1900 inclusive from and about Portuguese-speaking and Spanish-speaking territories in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nineteenth-century editions of earlier works are included, principally accounts of discovery and exploration.
  • Latin American studies reference sources is a list of the major Latin American reference works in the British Library.

Bodleian Library, Oxford
This is the main research library of Oxford University, and in Britain is second in size only to the British Library, having a stock of 6 million volumes. Admission is free to members of Oxford University, and to other bona fide scholars on production of a suitable letter of recommendation and proof of identity. Graduate students affiliated to universities and colleges funded by the higher education funding councils of the UK or the Republic of Ireland are exempt from payment. The Bodleian Library holds a substantial collection of texts on Portuguese culture and arts. It is also a copyright deposit library. Plan your visit well in advance; order your research materials online at least one week in advance.

Cambridge University Library
This library has more than 5 million books and more than 1.5 million serial volumes. For vacation access only your student ID is required, although during term time and for the section Manuscripts & Rare Books you have to produce a letter from your supervisor. A £10 administration charge for 6 months applies to applicants from non-UK universities and the public. Temporary tickets valid for 1 week within any twelve-month period are free of charge.

The Taylor Institution Library, Oxford
The Taylor Institution Library is devoted to modern languages and has a total stock of over 500,000 volumes - it is the largest specialist library in its field in the UK. Its collection concentrates on the literary and philological aspects of continental European culture, but also contains much background materials in fields such as history and philosophy. Moreover, it has a large collection of books on Brazilian Literature.

King's College London Library
Apart from modern and contemporary editions, this library preserves over 15,000 rare books, most of which were printed before 1800. Areas of significant strength include 'Portuguese and Brazilian studies' and 'travel and voyages of exploration and discovery.'

John Rylands University of Manchester Library
This library holds specialized library collections, including manuscripts, early printed books, and rare materials.

University of London Library: Senate House
The University of London Library is one of the major academic libraries of the United Kingdom. It holds manuscripts in Portuguese and a substantial collection of texts on Portugal and Portuguese culture. Access is free for all postgraduates (although you have to show proof of identity and get a card). However, lending rights are only given automatically to University of London students and staff. Anyone else has to pay a fee (there are various different categories). Photocopying (also onto CDs) is available at a reasonable rate. It also offers links to other Internet Research Tools.

British Film Institute Library
The BFI Library provides access to a large collection of documentation and information on film and television including Portuguese/Lusophone films and scripts.

Victoria & Albert Museum National Art Library
The National Art Library is both a major reference library and is also the Victoria & Albert Museum's curatorial department for the art, craft and design of the book. It holds a special collection of prints, drawings, paintings and photographs.