Sunday, July 18, 2010

The London Library - July 13

On July 13th we visited the London Library, a private membership library on St. James Square near Piccadilly Circus. What appears to be an unassuming building from the outside, opens up to an expansive repository that houses approximately 1 million volumes on 15 miles of open shelving. The Library is truly noteworthy because 97% of the collection is available for loan, regardless of an item's age. To say that the members are respected (and responsible) is an understatement. Previous members were Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, and Virginia Woolf among many others.

The collection spans the 16th century to the present and largely focuses on the arts and humanities. Some subjects include literature, history, fiction, topography, biography, art, and travel.

The building is quite interesting as it is a mix of the old and new. Below is a picture (please excuse the blurriness) of the renovated space for the art collection. The duplex room is a pleasing mix of wood stacks and frosted glass around the gallery level.

Another section of the Library maintains the original Victorian steel floor that is slatted, as seen in the next 2 photos.

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