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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.


The London Library is famous for its extraordinary collection of a million books, but we do a rather nice line in Christmas cards too!

Owl Card

This year is no exception and a beautiful new card, specially designed for us by illustrator and designer Kate Forrester is now on sale.

Owl in window1 crop 3Kate’s design takes its inspiration from The London Library’s very own wise owl that sits quietly on the fourth floor among the Victorian bookstacks overlooking St James’s Square.

Daily this watchful owl observes members as they enter the Library and deters any pigeons that take too close an interest in the Library’s window sills.

Our owl Christmas cards come in packs of 8 and cost £4.50 per pack (including envelopes) when bought at The London Library’s reception and £5 per pack when purchased via our on-line shop (envelopes, P&P included).

All proceeds raise vital funds for the Library and make a great way of saying Merry Christmas One and All!

And if you need anything for the Hootenanny …

howard davies 2Sir Howard Davies formally took on the role of Chairman at The London Library’s AGM today (3rd November), following his appointment earlier this year by the Library’s Board of Trustees.

Sir Howard becomes Chairman at an exciting time in the Library's development. The Library will be celebrating its 175th anniversary in May 2016 and in the New Year will be announcing a programme of activities to mark this milestone, as well as unveiling the detail of a new capital campaign to support the planned expansion and refurbishment of its historic bookstacks and the creation of an additional Reading Room and Members’ Room. 

Sir Tom Stoppard, President of The London Library commented, "We are delighted to welcome Sir Howard Davies as our new Chairman. His outstanding and wide-ranging experience spanning business, government and culture will be invaluable in helping The London Library develop further its remarkable role in the UK’s cultural and literary life.” 

Bill Emmott crop

Sir Howard succeeds Bill Emmott who has been the Library’s Chairman since 2009. During Bill’s Chairmanship, the Library has continued with an impressive building and refurbishment programme which has seen the opening of award winning new working areas in the form of the Library’s spectacular Art Room, Times Room and Lightwell and the refurbishment of its much loved Reading Room and Sackler Study.

Sir Tom Stoppard paid tribute to Bill’s dedication and support for the Library: “Bill has been a wonderful ambassador for The London Library and a tireless champion of our work. During his tenure he has helped steer through the programme of expansion and refurbishment that is transforming the working spaces for our members and enhancing the facilities we offer. We are deeply grateful to him for the role he has played.”


TSEliot64Wilton’s Music Hall was the evocative venue for a literary treat last night as Jeremy Irons, Fiona Shaw, Simon Russell Beale, Sinéad Cusack and Ben Whishaw came together for a special performance to celebrate the work of T.S. Eliot and help raise funds for The London Library where T.S. Eliot had been President for 13 years up to his death in 1965.

Eliot flyer image with readers 3The London Library is delighted to confirm that Jeremy Irons, Sinéad Cusack, Simon Russell Beale, Fiona Shaw, and Ben Whishaw will be taking centre stage in the Library’s special celebration of T.S. Eliot on 21st October 2015.

Being held at Wilton’s Music Hall - one of the country’s most atmospheric theatres - the single performance promises to be a unique tribute to one of the world’s best known writers.

T.S. Eliot was a passionate advocate of The London Library, joining it in 1918 and serving as its President until his death in January 1965. Fifty years on, the Library - with the kind assistance of Deborah Warner and the T.S. Eliot Estate - has brought together this exciting cast for one to night to celebrate T.S Eliot’s life and to raise funds for the Library he loved.


John O' Farrell


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