About the SCRSS Soviet Collections
The SCRSS Soviet Collections are a library and archive of the
arts, humanities and social sciences of the Soviet Union (1917-91).
They provide a treasure trove of books, periodicals, photographs,
music scores, audio recordings, and other artefacts in Russian
and English. The collections were established in 1924 and are
unique in the UK, charting the history, language and culture of
the Soviet Union from 1917-91 through predominantly Soviet-produced
materials. They include rare materials from the 1920s-40s, the
Society's archive records and a number of personal collections.
The collections are of interest to students, academics, historians
and professional researchers with an interest in Russia and the
other republics of the former Soviet Union.
Key subject areas are art and architecture,
and dance, social and political
history, theatre and cinema,
and the SCRSS Archive. The SCRSS
Soviet Collections include the Research Collections, General Reference
and Loan Collections. These collections are complemented by our
Online Library Catalogue
The SCRSS has a fully accessible online
catalogue. At early 2024 it holds over 5,800 catalogue records
for books in the Art, Cinema, Education, History, Theatre and
Religion collections. Our volunteer cataloguers are adding new
entries every month and will move on to further subject areas
Note: the majority of the SCRSS library still
remains to be catalogued online - work is continuing. Please contact
the SCRSS if you have any questions
about the online catalogue or if you are interested in subjects
mentioned on the library pages of our website but not listed in
our catalogue - we are very likely to have material to help your
The Research Collections include the Society's most important
and rare collections, including art and architecture, music, theatre,
cinema, children's literature and the SCRSS Archive. They are
partially catalogued (see above), cataloguing and digitisation
General Reference and Loan Collections
The General Reference Collection includes Russian language dictionaries,
encyclopaedias, atlases, maps and periodicals.
The majority of the Society's books must be consulted in the building
and cannot be borrowed. However, the Society maintains a Loan
Collection that includes a range of fiction and non-fiction -
from Russian and Soviet literary classics to biography and history.
Most publications are in Russian but the literature collection
includes English translations and there are a number of English-language
titles on key subjects and periods in the non-fiction section.
In the Loan Collection, members may borrow six books at one time
for a period of one month. Postal loans are available with members
paying for postage and packing. SCRSS personnel reserve the right
not to lend books where there is any concern about their physical
condition or other issues.
Visiting the Library Collections
The Library Collections (research collections, general reference
and loan collections) are available for use by current SCRSS members.
Please note: this excludes the SCRSS
Archive. See our Membership
page for details of how to join.
With the exception of visits made during the Society's regular
library openings on the first Saturday of the month (advertised
on our Events page), the Library
Collections are accessible strictly by appointment only. Please
always contact the Society in advance
and by email to discuss visiting the Library Collections.