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.