Hellinga was a senior lecturer at the University of Amsterdam from 1967 to 1976, and General Secretary of the Consortium of European research libraries from 1992 to 2002. Formerly she was deputy keeper of the British Library.
Hellinga was elected a corresponding member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1986. In 1990, she was elected a fellow of the British Academy, and from 1991 to 1994, was a member of its Council.
She is an expert in the work of the fifteenth-century printer William Caxton.
- The Fifteenth-Century Printing Types of the Low Countries, 1966. (With W. Hellinga)
- Caxton in Focus: The Beginning of Printing in England. British Library, 1982.
- Analytical Bibliography and the Study of Early Printed Books, Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 1989.
- The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain. Vol. III: 1400-1557. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999. (Editor, with J. B. Trapp)
- Catalogue of Books Printed in the XVth Century Now in the British Library, Vol 11 ("England") 2007.
- Printing in England in the Fifteenth Century: Duff's Bibliography with supplementary descriptions &c. The Bibliographical Society, London, 2009.
- William Caxton and Early Printing in England. British Library, London, 2010. ISBN 9780712350884
- Texts in Transit: From Manuscript to Proof and Print in the Fifteenth Century. Brill, Leiden, 2014. ISBN 9789004277168
- Incunabula in Transit: People and Trade. Brill, 2018.
- Goldfinch, John (2010). "Hellinga, Lotte (1932– ), Book historian". In Michael F. Suarez, S.J.; H. R. Woudhuysen (eds.). The Oxford Companion to the Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198606536.
- "Dr Lotte Hellinga". British Academy. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
- "Lotte Hellinga-Querido". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017.
- Coughlan, Sean (9 May 2017). "'Incredibly rare' William Caxton print discovered". BBC News. Retrieved 9 May 2017.