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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 was proud to support this year’s Hawthornden Prize with the awards event taking place in The London Library’s Reading room on 22nd July 2015.

The award was founded in 1919 to reward works of “imaginative literature”, and this year the judging committee of writers, critics and academics was unanimous in its decision to give the prize to ColmTóibín for his novel Nora Webster, recording the life of a single mother in County Wexford in the late 1960s.

Among the guests gathering in the Library to celebrate Colm Tóibín’s success were Barry Humphries, Alan Hollinghurst, Andrew O’Hagan, London Library President Sir Tom Stoppard, and Vice-President Lady Antonia Fraser.

On 20th July we will be launching a new look to our website which we hope will help make the site much easier to navigate.

Familiar sections are still here but are easier to find. Members will continue to be able to link through to Catalyst to search our catalogue, electronic publications, databases and journals, but we’ve added more information on what’s in the Library, and how members can make the most of the services we offer. We’ve updated content across the site and made it easier to find out about membership, the latest news and events and how to support the Library.

New visitors should benefit from improved signposting to the main sections and the new layout should make it much easier for mobile users.

We hope you like it and would welcome any feedback you have.  Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The London Library’s annual Summer Party, hosted by President Tom Stoppard, has become an established and much loved feature of the capital’s cultural scene. This year, guests enjoyed readings from Vanessa Redgrave, Eleanor Bron and Griff Rhys Jones. Packed with familiar faces - from Simon Schama to Emilia Fox, Tim Rice to Sheila Hancock, Sara Waters to Emma Dickens - the event was a great way to celebrate the summer!

By 1840, Thomas Carlyle was actively pursuing the idea of establishing a lending library in London. A Committee had been formed, newspapers had taken an interest and early subscriptions were coming in. But more subscribers were needed if the idea was to be made a reality. A public meeting was arranged for “Wednesday 24th June at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London’s Great Queen Street. The floor belonged to Thomas Carlyle who 175 years ago today delivered the speech that effectively launched The London Library.



Antony Beevor


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