In January 2021 the Library will introduce a new Library Management System and updated online catalogue.

The current systems that the Library uses are end-of-life and we need to migrate to updated versions. The change will take place on 21 January 2021. Unfortunately this will lead to some loss of information on Library members’ accounts and it is important that you read the following information and capture any personal data that you may need.

Your loan history, eShelf and saved searches will not be transferred to the new system, therefore if you need access to this information after January 2021 it will need to be extracted from the current system. You can log in to Catalyst and extract this information following the below steps, please note that for members with a long user history this information may be lengthy.

Alternatively, we can extract your loan history for you, please request this by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Please be aware this may take at least 5 working days.

Please follow the instructions below:

  • Login to your account on Catalyst using your membership number and PIN.  If you need a new PIN to log in please request this on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with 'PIN' as the subject line.

To email records saved on your eShelf to yourself

  • Click on the pin icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen then choose Saved Records (it should open by default).
  • Click in the box at the top of your list to select all the records, or select the individual records you want to keep.
  • Click on the ellipsis (...) from the grey menu bar at the top of the screen and select email from the options that appear. The email address that is linked to your account will appear automatically but it can be amended just for this action should you wish to use a different address.
  • The system will send you an email containing the items you have selected but please be aware that after 21 January 2021 the links will no longer work.

To access your list of saved searches

  • Go to your eShelf as above and choose Saved Searches.
  • If you have any saved searches, they will appear here along with the terms you used and the scopes or refinements applied. These can be cut and pasted into a document and recreated in the updated version of Catalyst when it launches.

To access your loan history

  • Click on your name in the top right-hand corner of the screen and choose My Loans.
  • Click on Active loans (the drop down menu next to Loans) and select Previous and historic loans.
  • You can cut and paste the information into a document, but you will get a neater, more readable version if we extract it for you – particularly if your list is long.

Download instructions with images

It is important that we have a Library Management System and online catalogue which are fully supported by the supplier and designed for the digital era. We understand that the loss of personal history relating to your use of the print and online collections will be disappointing to some and we have held back from making this change until absolutely necessary.

We apologise for the inconvenience and are happy to offer any assistance in collecting this information before the new system launches.

We were sad to learn of the death last week of Douglas Matthews who died in East Sussex on 7th November, aged 93.

Douglas first started working at The London Library in 1965 and was Librarian here from 1980-93, as the Library took its first steps into computerisation of its catalogue - an area where Matthews’ skills as an indexer were to prove invaluable.

Having graduated from the University of Durham he began his library career at the India Office Library and in 1957, he worked at the Royal Library in Stockholm, before becoming Librarian at the Home Office. He was a nationally renowned indexer, working with many publishers throughout his career and into his retirement. The Royal Society of Literature made Matthews a Fellow in 1999 and he was awarded an MBE. We remember him fondly both as an expert in his field but also as a warm and approachable colleague who provided invaluable support to staff, Library members and contacts in the publishing industry throughout his long career here.

christmas card

The 2020 London Library Christmas card is now available for pre-order from our online shop.

The card features a design of a Christmas tree being dressed in the Reading Room by illustrator Tom Gauld.

Packs of 8 cards and envelopes cost £8 including postage and are available to order now from our online shop or by phone on 01934 522920. With coronavirus restrictions in place at the Library we are not selling cards or merchandise at Reception this year.

Please note that cards can be pre-ordered now but will be despatched from mid-November onwards.


In accordance with the Government restrictions that are being put in place under the newly-announced national lockdown, we regret that we will have to close The London Library’s building to members and visitors from 5.30pm Wednesday 4 November until further notice. We’ll provide updates through our website and e-newsletters to let you know how the situation is developing.

The temporary closure of our building means that members will be unable to come into the Library to borrow books. However, we will continue to offer postal loans so that members can order books online and have them posted to them free of charge. In addition to postal loans, our online services (Catalyst and the eLibrary) will be fully operational throughout at, providing access to millions of pages of information. We have also recently added eBooks to our offering through OverDrive

Our staff will continue to maintain core administrative services and will be able to handle enquiries about membership and to provide information and updates about the Library, but inevitably some of these services will be more restricted than previously.

If you already have books awaiting collection at the Library, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like these posted to you, or to let us know if you no longer need them.

This is a very difficult period for everybody, but we look forward to when we can resume normal service, re-open our doors and welcome you all back into the Library. In the meantime, we are very grateful for your continued cooperation and support.