The London Library is delighted to be taking part in the BBC's Big Book Weekend with an exciting event featuring Sir Tim Rice and Daniel Hahn at 10am on Sunday 10 May.

The Big Book Weekend is a three-day virtual book festival that brings together the best of the cancelled British literary festivals, with a range of events 'presented' by the relevant festival, featuring the authors and other artists that would have appeared.

Sir Tim Rice, President of the London Library, is the lyricist behind some of the biggest stage and screen musicals including Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, The Lion King and Aladdin. His collaborators have included Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alan Menken and Elton John, and he has written lyrics for acts as diverse as Elvis Presley, Placido Domingo and 10cc.

In this interview with author Daniel Hahn, he will discuss his life and career, the inspiration for his award-winning musicals, the partnerships which have underpinned his word, and what it takes to pen some of the best-known lyrics ever written.

Register online with MyVLF to watch this event and many others for free. The festival will be broadcast live between 8-10 May and once a day’s programming has finished, that day’s videos will remain online for people to catch up on.

Register Here

See you there!


Episode 6: Nigel House

We hope you enjoy the latest London Library podcast featuring Rough Trade’s Nigel House.

Nigel takes us through the books that have made an impact on him throughout his life including Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, Canada by Richard Ford and The Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald.

The London Library Podcast is a celebration of books and the ideas they inspire and a personal love letter from each guest to the books that have been most influential to them.

The London Library is continuing to run a postal loans service. You can borrow books by ordering them online and we will then post them to you free of charge. We would normally charge for packing and postage but we have, for now, decided to waive those charges. We have also decided to extend every member’s existing borrowing limit by five books for the duration of the current Library closure, again, free of charge.

Members are able to return books to us either through the letterbox at our St James's Square entrance or by post to 14 St James's Square, London SW1Y 4LG.

The resumption of our postal loans service is in line with the Government advice that permits the continuation of such library services, even though libraries must otherwise remain closed. This recognises that access to our collection is an important benefit to members while they are required to stay at home.

We have put in place additional health and safety procedures to make sure that the staff running this service are able to do so safely, this includes:

  • Only a very small team of staff are onsite at any one time;
  • All surfaces including door handles, counters, trolleys etc. are sanitised before staff arrive;
  • On arrival staff wash their hands and are given gloves.  Each member of staff has a designated workstation which only they use and they have wipes to clean the area and equipment regularly;
  • Social distancing is maintained at all times with staff work areas spread throughout the Issue Hall and staggered rest breaks.

A skeleton staff will be onsite three times a week to retrieve and send books to members by 2nd class post, but the service is reliant on staff being available and we are aware that the postal service nationally is under great pressure. This may mean that there is a delay in getting books to you but please bear with us, we will do our very best.  Member Services staff are available by email to help with any enquiries you may have, please contact them on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The London Library has teamed up with leading creative media agency Cultureshock to launch an exciting new format for the Library’s membership magazine. Appearing three times a year, the magazine is distributed to Library members who include some of the world’s best-known writers and creative figures.

Each issue is focused on interviews with prominent Library members and looks at their work and how the Library and its astonishing collection of one million books have informed it. The launch issue published in March 2020 contains an in-depth interview with Bill Bryson, a longstanding Library member, whose recent book The Body was largely written here and drew heavily on the Library’s collection. Bill discusses his research, his favourite working spaces and why he finds the Library so special. “This Library”, he says, “is so perfect. It’s got something of everything”. 

Alongside interviews with leading author Giles Milton, plus scriptwriter Jonathan Holloway and theatre producer Natasha Rickman (who together worked on Creation Theatre’s recent stage production of The Time Machine in the Library), the magazine also explores the richness of the collection and the range of events and activities taking place here. And there’s news of the very recent discovery that Mark Twain joined the Library shortly after his arrival in London in 1896.


The magazine’s contemporary design draws on the iconography visible across the Library’s extraordinary building and across its huge collection of books which is arranged on 17 miles of open access shelves and is almost all available for borrowing.

Patrick Kelly, Managing Director at Cultureshock commented, “Cultureshock is delighted to be working with The London Library on the new member magazine. It's exciting working on a project in a way that will appeal to a wide range of readers and showcase the many fascinating aspects of the world’s largest independent lending library." 

Philip Marshall concluded: “The London Library is here to inspire and support readers and writers of all kinds and we are delighted to celebrate that in our new magazine by sharing stories of the wonderfully creative ways in which the Library is used. The magazine will also support the tremendous sense of community that exists amongst our members, and is especially important as a way of staying in touch during these difficult times. We hope the fresh new design and rich content will be bring some welcome enjoyment to all our readers.”