London Summer Seminar


The London Summer Seminar

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MARCH 15th! REGISTRATION NOW OPEN! The 2015 seminar will be offered May 17 - May 30, 2015. To register, click here

This two-week summer seminar offers an opportunity to gain an in-depth view of libraries and librarianship in Great Britain. Lectures and site visits will be arranged by the faculty of University College London's (UCL's) Department of Information Studies, the largest and one of the most highly ranked LIS Schools in the United Kingdom. The seminar includes tours of libraries and cultural heritage institutions in England, and is open to all students and professionals, not just students at UNC's School of Information and Library Science (SILS). Librarians at all stages of their careers have found our summer seminars enjoyable and worthwhile and are welcome to participate. Students enrolled in a library science program can take the seminar for three (3) hours of graduate credit (additional information below).


Although most of the program will take place in London, there will be day trips to visit the university libraries at both Oxford and Cambridge. In London participants will tour behind the scenes at the British Library, the National Archives, the Imperial War Museum (including its library) and the Wellcome Library (including the History of Medicine Collection). Visits will be made to other types of libraries and there will be presentations from experts in the field of librarianship in Great Britain. There will also be guided tours of UCL and the Bloomsbury area of London. Some free time will be built into the program so that participants can explore London and visit other libraries and cultural institutions of their choice. The weekend will be free so participants can visit places of interest in London, Great Britain, or Europe. 2014's schedule can be found here

Participants will be accompanied by SILS Assistant Professor, Amelia Gibson. Amelia's research focuses on information worlds and information seeking and exchange in local communities. She has degrees from Dartmouth College and Florida State University, and she currently teaches two core courses, Human Information Interactions and Research Methods, at SILS. Dr. Gibson is excited to lead this year's seminar, and looks forward to learning more about regional differences in library culture and practice. 


The seminar will take place in Bloomsbury, the academic and literary heart of London. Bloomsbury is home of University College London and the UCL Department of Information Studies, co-sponsor of the seminar. It is also the location of Winston House, an 18th century townhouse which serves as the UNC campus in London and where some of the lectures and presentations will take place. Winston House is located around the corner from the British Museum in Bedford Square, the oldest remaining complete Georgian garden square in the city.


All participants will be housed in the Mentone Hotel. The Mentone Hotel, owned and managed by the same family since 1972, has long been a popular choice with tourists, due to its pleasant surroundings and central location in the heart of Bloomsbury. The hotel is located one half mile from Foster Court, the home of the Department of Information Studies and within easy walking distance of a number of restaurants, shops and tourist attractions. The Mentone is also near several train and underground (tube) stations including the station with a direct underground connection from Heathrow Airport. The hotel provides free wifi access in the rooms and both continental and full English breakfast each day. Cost of the accommodations is included in the price of the seminar.

Academic Credit

The seminar is available for three (3) hours of graduate credit from UNC SILS. Participants are asked to attend all class sessions and complete a research paper after the seminar ends. Participants determine the topic of their papers in consultation with the academic advisor (faculty lead) on the program.

Please indicate your wish to enroll for credit when you register. If you decide to take this seminar for credit, the UNC at Chapel Hill Cashier's Office will bill you approximately $300 additional. Contact the SILS program coordinator ( if your institution requires further information about the course.

A course syllabus can be found here.

Big BenCost and registration

To register, click here. The registration deadline has been extended to March 15th, 2015. Early registration encouraged. 

The registration fee for participants covers housing, breakfast, a few other meals, instruction, transportation to Oxford and Cambridge and a basic travel card for transportation on the London public transportation system (bus, underground and light rail) within the city (maps of transportation to UCL can be found here). Other meals, transportation from the airport to the Mentone Hotel, additional local transportation fees and airfare to and from the seminar are not included. Each participant is responsible for organizing his or her flights to and from London.

The price for the 2015 seminar is:

  • Shared accommodation (roommate): $4,350
  • Single accommodation $4,700
  • Participant plus guest: $6,800

If you decide to take the seminar for credit, an additional $300 (approx.) will be billed to you by the UNC Cashier. 

A guest is defined as someone who accompanies you on the trip (usually a spouse) and shares a room with you but does not participate in any of the instructional sessions and most tours. Because the Mentone is a small hotel, the number of rooms of each type is limited. We will do our best to provide you with the room type of your choice.

Payment can only be made by credit card (Visa or Mastercard).   

For the past two years, the seminar has filled up quickly, so if you are interested, please register as early as you can to avoid disappointment. We recommend waiting to purchase airfare until registration has been finalized in order to ensure that minimum attendance has been reached. If you need to purchase your plane ticket prior to March 15, or if you have additional questions, please contact Kaitlyn Murphy ( 

Cancellation policy

A monetary penalty will be charged to those cancelling their registrations. Cancellation requests received on or before January 31: 10% penalty. Requests received between February 1 and February 15: 30% penalty. Requests received between February 16 and February 28: 60% penalty. Requests received after March 15: no refund.


The London Summer Seminar was a fabulous experience. I got to live in the heart of literary London for two weeks, and get behind-the-scenes peeks into world-renowned libraries and museums that I never would have been able to see as a tourist. It was also a great way to see what kind of career doors my MLS could open for me, as I got to meet and talk to a wide array of archivists, catalogers, curators, historians, and, of course, librarians throughout the trip. And, as a student who is getting her MLS online, the seminar was an especially fun way to interact with other library students and professional librarians, and to get a hands-on look at the many different ways libraries are run. I only wish the seminar had been longer, because I had such a great time!

- London Seminar participant

It was an excellent program; the trips to the various research, academic, museum and special libraries were well put together.  Be sure to take advantage of the local museums in London as well.  Almost all are free and worth seeing. Also take advantage of the plays, shows and theater performances in London as they are inexpensive compared to the prices in the U.S.

         - London Seminar participant