Over 97% of the collections, which now number a million volumes, is available for loan, and is stored on 17 miles of open-access shelves, which may be freely browsed.



The London Library’s Retrospective Cataloguing Project was set up in 1999 with the aim to transfer details of the Library’s entire holdings to the online catalogue.

Progress so far: By the end of 2017 the project had succeeded in making around 75% of the Library’s titles accessible via the online catalogue.

During the first phase of the project, from 1999 to 2006, the card catalogue containing details of all the publications acquired by the Library between 1950 and 1984 was transferred to the online catalogue.

The second phase of the project is tackling the conversion of the printed catalogue, which lists twelve decades' worth of older Library acquisitions, from its foundation in 1841 to 1950.

During the course of 2018 we will increase the visibility of our titles to around 95% by releasing around 120,000 imported bibliographic records.

After the mass release of imported records retrospective cataloguing will concentrate on the small proportion of titles that remain hidden across our shelfmarks.

Progress by subject: click here to download a list of shelfmarks already converted and those currently being worked on.

Estimated completion date: We estimate that after the mass release of imported records there were still be around 20,000 ‘hidden’ titles. Identifying, retrieving and cataloguing these titles will be a time-consuming operation that will have to fit around the cataloguing of new acquisitions. The work is likely to take at least five years to complete.

Help us accelerate the project: You can support the project either by making a general donation or by contributing to the cataloguing of a specific collection of books.

For more information about making a donation please contact the Development team on 020 7766 4719 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


John O' Farrell


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