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The Warburg Institute Library holds a collection of international importance in the humanities. Its 360,000 volumes make it the largest collection in the world focused on Renaissance studies and the history of the classical tradition. It includes a large number of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century continental books and periodicals (especially German and Italian), unavailable elsewhere in the UK, as well as several thousand pre-1800 items, many of which are extant in only a small number of copies.
The Library's open access provision of a wide range of primary and secondary texts, located close to the world’s greatest collection of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century printed books (in the British Library), makes it an ideal working base for research on the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Its usefulness is further enhanced by the libraries of the Institute of Classical Studies, the School of Oriental and African Studies, Senate House and the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, which collaborate with the Warburg Institute to avoid duplication. The library of the Royal Numismatic Society and the British Numismatic Society is also housed in the Warburg Institute.
The Library catalogue is accessible via the Senate House Library catalogue from terminals throughout the Warburg Institute and online. Most Warburg Institute Library records are also part of the COPAC collective catalogue.
Periodical holdings can be consulted on the Library terminals (search under title); in the University of London List of Serials; on a classified card index in the Reading Room; and in the printed alphabetical lists placed in the basement next to the mobile periodical stacks.
Printed catalogues of the Cicognara Library and the library of the Numismatic Societies are also available in the Reading Room.