About Us

With more than one million books and periodicals in over 50 languages, the collection includes works from the 16th century to the latest publications in print and electronic form.


INEZ CROP 2The London Library offers its heartfelt thanks to Inez Lynn who retires today as Librarian and Chief Executive following a 29 year career at the Library.

Inez first started working here as a cataloguer in 1988, becoming Deputy Librarian six years later. In 2002, she was appointed as the Library’s first ever female Librarian and in that role has overseen a remarkable process of change that has transformed the Library’s services, facilities and working spaces. 

Inez led the RIBA award-winning building project designed to refurbish large parts of the Library and increase space for members and the Library’s expanding collection. Following major planning and building work between 2006 and 2013, all of the main reading rooms have been upgraded and impressive spaces - such as the Lightwell, Times and Art Rooms and the Periodicals area - have been transformed.  Inez was also at the forefront of the project to acquire what became TS Eliot House, providing staff with dedicated office space for the first time.

From the outset Inez has been central to the Library’s deployment of information technology.  She pioneered the introduction of computer catalogue and circulation systems and the introduction of the discovery software, Primo (better known to Library members as Catalyst) - the Library’s hugely well-received on-line catalogue and reservation system. Members have also benefited enormously from an impressive on-line service providing access to a huge array of e-journals and on-line databases.

Inez is passionate – and immensely knowledgeable - about books, libraries and the science and art of looking after them. She has steered the development and expansion of our collection and made major innovations in the way in which it is cared for - including the appointment of the Library’s first Head of Collection Care and the setting up of an in-house book conservation team.

An emphasis on professional development has been a theme throughout her career.  A notable example is the London Library Graduate Trainee scheme which gives young graduates a chance to learn various aspects of library management or library science prior to commencing post-graduate study and professional qualifications.  A large number of our graduates have benefited and gone on to have successful careers in the library sector and beyond.

Other innovations have included the first member survey, a full governance review culminating in a new Charter and Byelaws and the introduction of an internal financial-management function in the shape of the Finance Director post. And it was Inez who led the Library’s 175th anniversary celebrations last year which included the publication with Pushkin Press of the “Found on the Shelves” series of books and culminated in the memorable five day “Words in the Square” literary celebration held in St. James’s Square in May 2016.

Inez’s contribution has been immense and is very much down to her that the Library has been able to embrace major change while continuing to provide the unique resources and atmosphere that members cherish. We are indebted to her for the role she has played so steadfastly over the past three decades. 

The Trustees are delighted to announce that Sir Tim Rice has accepted the appointment to become  the new President of The London Library (succeeding Sir Tom Stoppard who retired as President in July), and that Alexandra Shulman has accepted the appointment to become one of the Library’s Vice-Presidents. Their appointments will be put to the AGM in November for formal confirmation by the Library’s members.

Tim riceSir Tim Rice is one of the country’s best-known lyricists and his work in Hollywood, the West End and Broadway has received worldwide recognition. During a career spanning five decades in music, film and the stage, he has received three Academy Awards, as well as Golden Globe, Olivier, Tony, Grammy and Ivor Novello Awards. A London Library member since 1992, Sir Tim has also been a successful publisher, author and performer.  His love for cricket has included a term as President of the MCC.

Shulman crop2Alexandra Shulman OBE has been a member of The London Library since 2010 and is one of the country's best known magazine editors, working until June of this year for an unprecedented 25 years as Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Magazine. A well-known newspaper columnist and published novelist, Alexandra has also been a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery.



The London Library is pleased to be opening its doors again for Open House London on Saturday 16th September. Throughout the day we will be offering guided tours through the main areas of the Library giving visitors a chance to see its unique architecture and learn more about its amazing history and collleciton.

Tours will be taking place every hour, the first starts at 10am and the last starts at 4pm.  

Pre-booking is essential (each tour can accommodate up to 20 people), with booking available via our booking site.



London Library 13The London Library Summer Party, held on 22nd June, was a fitting occasion to celebrate Tom Stoppard's 15 years as President of the Library. Guests joined forces in the Reading Room to hear Vanessa Redgrave, Sheila Hancock, Jeremy Irons, Natascha McElhone and Joely Richardson deliver a range of readings, including works byTS Eliot, Stephen Spender and AG Madonell among others*.

London Library 119The Library's Chairman, Howard Davies, and former Chairman Bill Emmott were on hand to thank Tom for the outstanding and tireless contribution he has made over the last 15 years to support and develop the Library.

Tom, who has been a Library member since 1970, will retire as President on his 80th birthday on 3rd July 2017 and will then take up the role as one of the Library's Vice-Presidents.

Tom Stoppard BookA unique book entitled "For Tom, With Thanks" has been produced as a token of the Library's appreciation. Consisting of works suggested by, and in many cases, written by, members, friends and staff of the Library, it is a Library book specially made for a much-admired supporter.


The Readings

London Library 70Jeremy Irons

From "East Coker", by TS Eliot

From "Little Gidding" by TS Eliot

London Library 76

Natascha McElhone

From "England, oh England" by AG Madonell

From the "Diary of Nina Kosterina"

London Library 82Vanessa Redgrave

"TheTruly Great" by Stephen Spender


London Library 91

Sheila Hancock

From "A Ragged Schooling; Growing up in a Classic Slum", by Robert Roberts


London Library 96Joely Richardson

From "Long Distance Runner" by Tony Richardson







John McNally


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