The library opened in the Borough Road Building in March 1893 with a gift of 2,000 volumes from John Passmore Edwards and £200 from Lord Rosebery, with which to buy books and technical appliances. The library and adjacent reading room were situated on the ground floor. In May 1941 the library was damaged by a bomb falling in the light well behind the building and was not fully repaired until the early 1950s.
In the 1970s it moved to the London Road building. There was also a library in the Wandsworth Road building for the Faculty of the Built Environment. The Polytechnic of the South Bank began investigating the possibility of implementing an automated library system in 1976. The Library purchased a mini-computer to provide an automated book issue system and catalogue and these were introduced first at London Road Library in September 1981 followed by Wandsworth Road Library in September 1982. The system was then introduced at Manor House, New Kent Road and the Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology (IEST).
In 1992 the library moved to its current site on Southwark Bridge Road. Originally named the Centenary Library (it opened 100 years after the Borough Polytechnic was established), it is now named the Perry Library, after Baroness Perry, the first Vice-Chancellor of the University.
In February 2006 the Library and Information Services Department merged with other departments to become the Centre for Learning Support and Development. The Library and Learning Resources Department was formed in August 2011.
Experimental bakery classes were first offered by the Polytechnic in 1894 to see if there was sufficient interest in the subject. The subsequent popularity of the classes led the Polytechnic to build a bakery 1898 and develop links with the National Association of Master Bakers and Confectioners, resulting in the creation of the National School of Bakery and Confectionary in 1899. In 1902 the Polytechnic built an extension to Borough Road Building to house new classroom and laboratories for the School.
In 1922 the School made the wedding cake offered to HRH Princess Mary by the National Association of Master Bakers and Confectioners, and in 1948 a christening cake was made for HRH Prince Charles. New buildings for the school were opened on 20th February 1930 by HRH the Duke of York. After the Second World War, the School offered the first course in the UK for Chocolate and Sugar Confectionery, which was also believed to be the first of its type in Europe. The National Bakery School celebrated its centenary in 1994 and its 125th anniversary in 2019.