The London library patron scheme: the Founders' Circle

The London Library has always been defined by its independence and, despite receiving no government or statutory funding, has remained self-financing throughout its history thanks to the generosity of many individuals.

Named in honour of the first 500 members who established the Library in 1841, the Founders' Circle is a group of dedicated individuals who recognise the important role the Library plays in our nation's literary culture and is committed to underpinning the significant resources required to keep the collection available to all. From the care and cataloguing of the books, to enabling access for those who are on a limited or fixed income, to allowing the Library to add to its collection year on year, Founders' Circle members help ensure that The London Library can continue to inspire successive generations of readers and writers.

There are three levels of membership, named after three of the Library’s Founders: Harriet Martineau (£1,500), William Makepeace Thackeray (£5,000) and Charles Dickens (£10,000).*

Members receive a range of benefits including:

  • A programme of exclusive events with writers and literary experts, held at the Library as well as private collections and other cultural institutions
  • Bespoke tour of the Library with five guests, featuring treasures from the Library’s collection
  • Invitations to the Library’s Annual Literary Dinner, Christmas Party and Chairman’s Lunch
  • Supporters’ newsletter, providing a behind-the-scenes insight into the Library’s work

Discover the benefits of becoming a member of the Founders' Circle by downloading the Founders' Circle Brochure and Founders' Circle Spring/Summer 2020 Events Programme.

How to join

Be a part of the Library’s great tradition of individuals who care about words, books and literature and support the development of one of our country’s great literary institutions.  

You can join online ring 020 7766 4719 to donate over the phone, or download a Founders' Circle Donation Form and return it to The London Library, 14 St James's Square, London, SW1Y 4LG. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Development Office on 020 7766 4719 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


US Founders' Circle

We have also established a Founders’ Circle in America through the International Friends of The London Library (a registered 501(c) 3 charitable corporation). For further information on the US Founders’ Circle and International Friends please visit our International Supporters pages or visit the IFLL website.

* All levels of Founders’ Circle support comprise a benefits value detailing the actual cost of Founders’ Circle membership to The London Library. These benefits can be purchased separately at this price. Any amounts given over and above this benefits value are given freely as a donation and are eligible for Gift Aid. Martineau membership comprises £1,200 donation/£300 benefits, Thackeray membership comprises £4,380 donation/£620 benefits, Dickens membership comprises £9,240 donation/£760 benefits. To discuss purchasing benefits separately please contact the Development Office on 020 7766 4719.