Top 10 London Libraries
All of these top libraries are free to enter and hold some of the worlds best resources, best-designed spaces and some unexpected surprises… Scroll down for a map:
1. Canada Water Library & Canada Water Culture Space (Tube: Canada Water): Gorgeously designed new public space, just two stops from London Bridge.
2. Westminster Reference Library (Tube: Leicester Square/Charing Cross): Fantastic theatre books/archive, as well as great facilities for printing/working just off Leicester Square.
3. Mediatheque at BFI Southbank (Tube: Waterloo): Great free digital film library where you book a booth and have access to lots of exclusive content from the history of TV and film, including films on Punk, LGBT life, London and much more.
4. National Art Library at V&A (Tube: South Kensington): The National Art Library is a major public reference library of fine and decorative arts. It is open to the public as a reference library. Before you can use the Library you must register as a Reader – this can be done online here in advance.
5. British Library (Tube: Kings Cross St Pancras): Obvious, we know, but the sheer scale of the national library is incredible. Did you know there is an artist in residence? Yuhuh, none other than the cabaret king Christopher Green! There’s also a hugely useful Business and Intellectual Property Centre.
6. Deptford Lounge (Train/Overground: Deptford / New Cross): A lovely new space which has transformed the centre of Deptford in South East London.
7. The Women’s Library (Tube: Aldgate East): Free, insightful exhibition in their museum space, as well as a wealth of resources which document women’s lives through the ages, from women’s rights, suffrage, sexuality, health, education, employment, feminism, and reproductive rights to the family, and the home.
8. London Metropolitan Archives (Tube: Farringdon): London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) is home to an extraordinary range of documents, images, maps, film and books about London.
9. Saint Bride Library (Tube: City Thameslink/Blackfriars): The World’s foremost printing and graphic arts library. Their collections cover printing and related subjects: paper and binding, graphic design and typography, typefaces and calligraphy, illustration and printmaking, publishing and book-selling and the social and economic aspects of the printing, book, newspaper and magazine trades. The library also hosts letterpress courses, events and more.
10. The National Archives (Train: Kew Gardens): The Domesday Book, public records, papers, publications, research and family history all within this beautiful archive in West London.