Skip to Main Content

Development Studies

The British Library of Development Studies

The BLDS Legacy collection


Managed and curated by the University of Sussex Library, the British Library for Development Studies (BLDS) Legacy Collection tracks the unfolding story of international development over the last half century and provides an unparalleled resource for better understanding the history of evolving development interventions since the 1960s. 

The Collection is uniquely comprehensive in its coverage of government and official sources, particularly those published in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia between the mid-1960s and mid-1990s, but additionally with selective coverage of other countries that were key sites of development research and innovation during this time (Francophone Africa, Middle East, North Africa and South/Central America). 

Its value lies both in the breadth and scope of its contents, and the fact that the collection primarily derives from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where limited funds, civil conflict, environmental disasters have often led to substantial archival destruction. 

Comprising of over one million items covering a number of themes, the material ranges from government and international agency reports and statistics; pamphlets and writings by civil society actors, research institutions and political parties; documents from participatory and community-based research; serials and related books from LMICs. 

Thanks to funding from the Wellcome Trust (2019-2022), the material has been meticulously catalogued, organised and preserved, meaning all items are now available to view via the dedicated project website.

For direct queries regarding the collection please email: 

Access to the BLDS print collections

BLDS monographs are located in two areas. The sequence begins in the Rolling Racking on the Ground Floor (after shelfmark Z) for authors A-N then continues in the North Basement (again after shelfmark Z). These books can be searched via the separate BLDS monographs catalogue available here.

BLDS journals are located in a Library Store and will need to be requested at the Information Hub.

Please do ask staff for help with finding the resources that you need.

You will need to use your University identity card to enter the University Library and to borrow books. If you have not yet obtained this, you will need to  go to the University Print Unit in Lancaster House.

Information about access to library services for individuals who are not members of the University or IDS is available here:

Access to the BLDS historic collection is available on an appointment basis via the online booking form.