Friday 9 June and Saturday 10 June

The Library will be closed from 3.30 pm on Friday 9 June and all day on Saturday 10 June to facilitate a significant commercial filming hire. 

To accommodate this closure, the Library building will remain open on Saturday 27 May and Saturday 26 August. Normally, the Library building is closed on the Saturday of Bank Holiday weekends. 

As a charity, filming and venue hire is an essential revenue-generating source of income for the Library. It enables us to continue in our role as a world-class centre of literary activity, writing, and research. 

The Library building will be closed, but members can still use Catalyst to find and request books and access our huge collection of eResources.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the closure.

Should you wish to get in touch about the closure, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The London Library is pleased to announce Simon Godwin as its new Chair of Trustees. The news comes as the Library achieves membership growth for its fifth consecutive year, for the first time in over 30 years.

The appointment will be formally confirmed by members at the next Annual General Meeting in November 2023 to be held at the Library. Sir Howard Davies will step down at the end of his second four-year term as Chair.

Simon has been a Library member for 14 years and is a member of the Founders’ Circle of supporters. With an extensive career in financial services, Simon was most recently a founding Partner and Finance Director of Fundsmith, the asset management firm. He is currently working with a number of high growth companies including being Chair of GaitQ Limited, a medical devices spin-out from Oxford University.

This will be Simon’s third charity governance position; he is on the Board of Trustees at the Royal Institution and is the co-founder and trustee of Levelling Up:STEM, and he is also a supporter of the Hampstead and Park Theatres.

The role of Chair of the Trustees is to provide overall leadership to the Library in partnership with the Director, so as to enable Trustees and staff to work collectively for the good of the Library, for its long-term sustainability and towards the fulfilment of its charitable aims.

The Chair is chosen by the Trustees, gives their time freely and does not receive any remuneration during the year.

Incoming London Library Chair, Simon Godwin, commented, “I am honoured to become the new Chair of this vital and vibrant institution. I have been a huge fan for a long time and it is a place I can always go for inspiration. The Library has a unique place in our cultural landscape, providing a centre of creativity and ideas for over 180 years. It has flourished under Sir Howard Davies’ leadership and I am becoming part of a fantastic team. I look forward to helping build on this success and to continue to broaden its reach.”

London Library Chair, Sir Howard Davies commented, “Congratulations to Simon Godwin on his selection as the Library’s new Chair of Trustees. Simon has been a long-standing member and lover of the Library and I am confident that he will ensure the Library’s future success as one of the UK’s greatest literary institutions.”

London Library Director, Philip Marshall commented, “We are all looking forward to working with Simon as we begin to plan the next chapter in the Library’s story. We would like to thank Sir Howard Davies for his enormous contribution to the Library.”


Library tour Issue Hall Currrent improvements webpage

Over the summer, there will be a number of works ongoing in the Issue Hall, Stairs and Reading Room.

While we will keep disruption to a minimum, and ensure that entrances, exits, and all services remain open, members may experience some disruption and the main Reading Room will be closed for a number of days.

All changes are detailed below, followed by the dates when members may experience disruptions.

Self-issue kiosks


The Library will be installing two self-issue kiosks as an option for members to loan and return books. This follows the Library’s introduction of RFID security for the safety of our book collection.

Staff will be on hand to help members use the kiosks for the collection, issue and return of books. There will still be staff at the issue desk for those who would rather have their books issued and returned there. 

We hope that this change will improve member service in two ways: it will ease the process for members who wish to issue/return books quickly, and it will provide Issue Hall staff more time to assist members with detailed collections requests and queries without causing queues.

Members will have noticed our RFID barriers at the doors. These will sound an alarm if a book has not been issued. Should this happen please return to the issue desk and ask a member of staff for help.

Keyless lockers


Recently, the Library introduced a new keyless locker system. Members can now use their membership card to access a locker, meaning that members no longer have to queue at Reception for a key, and Reception staff are freed up to deal with more detailed member queries.

Please remember to bring your membership card each time you visit the Library. If you have lost your card, please inform Reception so we can issue a new one.

The lockers automatically unlock at night. Please remove all items from your locker when you leave the Library. Any forgotten items will be held at Reception.

Improvement work in the Issue Hall, Stairs and Reading Room

reading room

To make room for the kiosks and returns trolleys, we are removing the old enquiries desk that has not been in use for the last few years. We are aware that members often use the surface to manage bags and move their items into the lockers. To accommodate this, the desk will be replaced with a table.

As the installation of the self-issue kiosks and removal of the old enquiries desk necessitates work and new flooring in the Issue Hall, we are taking the opportunity to replace carpets across several areas in the Library. As members who visit the building will know, the red carpet in the Issue Hall, main staircase and Reading Room is worn and stained.

The new green carpet was chosen from a limited selection due to the need for practical carpet tile. It was chosen by the Library’s interior designers to ensure it is in fitting with the building's look and feel.

Initially, the carpet will be laid in the Issue Hall and the old carpet on the main staircase will be trimmed while we take the opportunity to polish the wood.

The chemicals used for this process may cause a strong smell. We will install fans and open windows over the week to keep this to a minimum.

While the Issue Hall carpet is laid, one of the Library’s two entrances will need to be temporarily closed. 

Once complete, the carpet in the Reading Room will be replaced. During this time, we will also undertake some electrical work to improve power access for members in the Reading Room and remove the extension leads. This will necessitate the closure of the Reading Room for around two weeks. This will be done at a time when the Library is at its quietest in order to minimise disruption.

There are around 130 other spaces to use in the Library including The Study, The Writers’ Room, the Art Reading Room, or one of the many desks dotted around the Library.

Finally, we will be installing two digital signage boards; one in the Issue Hall and one outside The Study. These will enable us to communicate important messages to members to members more effectively than the current paper signage.

Key dates

key dates

There may be some disruption on the following dates. The Library will remain open with all services available.

Thursday 10th October – Maintenance work to the roof in The Foyle Lightwell Reading Room, the works being carried out will be visible from the Reading Room on this day. 

October – New carpet laid on the staircase 



Our Library community includes several Member groups that come together to share, inspire and connect with other likeminded people.

This month, our Non-Fiction Member Group worked with Library staff to curate a special collection for our display cabinet: a gathering of books on travel writing.

Group coordinator, Julian, said: "Members of the non-fiction writers group have been reflecting on how books can enable us to travel the world without leaving our armchair or desk. The latest display outside The Study includes the diaries found by Captain Scott's body after his doomed expedition to the South Pole; a fascinating guide to touring in the Soviet Union in the 1930s; an examination of how Europe is seen by its Black citizens; and two intrepid woman travellers."

The travel writing display will be available to view until end of May.

Find out more about how to become a London Library member and join our fantastic community

Discover our Member Groups