libraries in london

10 great libraries in London

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” This quote of Stephen King shows us the invaluable benefit of the books by how deeply they enrich our knowledge and imagination. Follow this list and find your next must-go reading spot.

1. The London Library

Address: 14 St James’s Square, London SW1Y 4LG.

The London Library has said that their “collection contains over one million books and periodicals, dating from 1700 to the present day, almost all of which can be borrowed.” 

The London Library was founded in 1847 and was the first library that offered lending facility. One the website of The London Library you can find information about booking a free tour of the building, free monthly podcasts and description about the Emerging Writers Programme. If you are interested in becoming a member of The London Library, there are many options with different price and benefits variations. Writers such as Charles Dickens, TS Eliot, Virginia Woolf, etc. were a part of this sophisticated library community, so if you are a lover of history and knowledge, include your name to this list!

2. The British Library

Address: British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB.

According to the British Library, their “collection of over 170 million items includes artefacts from every age of written civilisation. We keep the nation’s archive of printed and digital publications, adding around three million new items to our collection every year.” 

The British Library not only has books, but newspapers, sound recordings, patents, prints and drawings, maps and manuscripts are also a part of their huge collection. Moreover, exciting exhibitions and events are welcoming people to take part in The British Library.

3. Guildhall Library

Address: Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HH.

Due to the coronavirus, Guildhall Library will be opened from the 8 December 2020 and customers will only be let in if they have made a visitation booking. Currently, Guildhall Library has two free online exhibitions about the Great Fire and Great Plague. This is another worth-visiting historical place.

4. Barbican Library

Address: Barbican Library, Barbican Centre, London EC2Y 8DS.

The Barbican Library is a vibrant public library in the heart of the Barbican Centre with books, spoken word recordings, DVDs, CDs and sheet music available for loan to all members. This library is worth your attention because of its welcoming staff, collections related to art, music finance and London, entertaining exhibitions, activities and uplifting events for adults and children.

5. Kensington Libraries

Address: Chelsea Old Town Hall, London, King’s Road, SW3 5EZ; 12 Phillimore Walk, Kensington, London W8 7RX; 108 Ladbroke Grove, London W11 1PZ.

At the Chelsea and North Kensington libraries, you can get access to the eBooks, eMagazines, eNewspapers, eAudiobooks and eComics but Chelsea Gallery offers you the ability to demonstrate and sell your fruits of creativity. Kensington Central Library also has a collection of online resources, but there you can also find CDs. All of the libraries host online events for all age groups of people.

6. Charing Cross Library

Address: 4 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0HF.

The Charing Cross library describes itself as “a busy library serving residents, commuters and the local Chinese community, and is home to our CD collection.” 

This library has a collection of Chinese books, allows booking a computer, and a variety of CDs are accessible. It also has online activities for adults, youth and children.

7. Church Street Library

Address: 67 Church Street, London, NW8 8EU.

According to the Westminster Government website, “Church Street Library is a bustling community library with a dedicated area for young people, a business information point and a learning centre.” 

In this library, you can also book a computer and study in a special area. It is also referred to as a business information point, Friends of Church Street Library, a centre of learning. There you also have an option to join a reading group or online events.

8. Mayfair Library

Address: 25 South Audley Street, London, W1K 2PB

Mayfair library is “an attractive community library with a small children’s section. It is an approved venue for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies.” 

In the Mayfair Library, Sherlock Holmes fans will be able to find a full collection of books, book a computer, connect to a reading group, become a part of Friends of Mayfair Library, or attend to an online event.

9. Paddington Library

Address: Porchester Road, London, W2 5DU

At the Paddington Library readers can access computers via booking, discover the studying area or trying reading groups. Various types of book like audiobooks, newspapers and magazines, DVDs, CDs as well as Zoom Text and Text-to-Speech Synthesiser equipment are reachable. People of all age groups are welcomed to join online events.

10. National Art Library

Address: Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL.

The National Art Library holds “the UK’s most comprehensive public reference collection of literature on the fine and decorative arts, including books, journals, exhibition catalogues, auction house sales catalogues, comics, e-resources and much more.”

At the moment the National Art Library is not open to the guests because of an upgrade, but it will be operating again in spring 2021. For now, this library is creating engaging free online events.

Expanding your knowledge in one of the libraries in London can be a great idea if you miss historical places, got tired of reading books alone at home or if you are lacking new reading material. Make time in your busy schedule and step into the palace of wisdom.

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