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's collection consists of more than one million books dating from 1700 to the present day, almost all of which can be borrowed. The collection covers more than 2,000 subjects with c.6,000 new books added annually. Our postal loans service enables members to read our books in the comfort of their own homes without coming into the Library.

Members can simply browse the online catalogue and order books and we will post them to you wherever you are in the world. 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 meaning members can borrow 15 or 20 books at any one time depending on their membership type.


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.

During these uncertain times 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.

website with books

Of course it's not just our books which are available for use at home. We also provide an extensive range of electronic resources – from JSTOR periodicals, databases and newspapers – giving members online access, from anywhere in the world, to over 25,000 academic journals and other scholarly resources.

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.”


In episode 5 of The London Library Podcast, we are joined by Valerie Brandes, the founder and publisher of diversity-focused, independent publishing house Jacaranda Books.

Valerie talks about identity, motherhood and the books that have shaped her life and career - from moving to America, then back to Hackney and setting up her own publishing business. As well as Jacaranda's Twentyin2020 initiative, which The London Library is currently supporting, promoting Black British writing through exclusively dedicating a year of publishing output to 20 Black British writers.

The London Library Podcast launched on 18 November 2019 and features a leading writer or figure in the cultural world discussing the books which have shaped them.  Each month the guest is in conversation with The London Library’s Director, Philip Marshall and delves into the Library’s archive and collection to uncover treasured books and nuggets of historical detail about the guest’s book choices.

The 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.