UK Independent Libraries in the Best of the Web UK Directory

UK Independent Libraries

The Armitt Museum & Library

An independent library established in 1912 in Ambleside, that once had Beatrix Potter as a subscribing member; holds collections of local Cumbrian interest, and of works related to John Ruskin, Beatrix Potter, Harriet Martineau, and Kurt Schwitters.

Association of Independent Libraries

An association of independently funded subscription libraries and similar libraries of historic foundation. Offers a directory of members, news and events, publications, and links.

The Athenaeum

A club first established in Liverpool in 1797; includes details of membership, with a description of their famous library and its collections, catering facilities, and a history.

Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution

Organises programmes of talks and exhibitions on science, the arts and current affairs, and maintains a library and a museum with a number of specialist collections.

Bishopsgate Institute Library and Archive

A library in a London centre for culture and learning, with important collections on London history, labour and socialist history, freethought and humanism, co-operation, and protest and campaigning.

Bradford Mechanics Institute Library

Founded in 1832 as an educational centre serving the demands of industry in Bradford, now a subscription library; includes information about their collections and services, groups, projects, and contacts.

Bromley House Library

A private library in the centre of Nottingham; with details of membership, their collection and events, and a history.

Devon and Exeter Institution

Founded in 1813 by two hundred gentlemen of the county and city to promote science, literature and art; includes a guide to their library and its extensive collections of books from 19th century, and their programme of talks and events.

Gladstone's Library at St Deiniol's

Britain's only Prime Ministerial library, and the nation's tribute to his life and work; includes a guide to the collection of more than 250,000 books, journals and pamphlets, with information about access and use, accommodation facilities, and events. Near Chester.

The Guildford Institute

Founded as the Guildford Mechanics Institute; provides a guide to their collections and exhibitions, with a history and contacts.

Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution

A centre for culture in Highgate, one of the oldest such institutions still in existence in London; includes a guide to their library and gallery, membership, activities and groups, and contacts.

Innerpeffray Library

A visitor guide to the first public lending library in Scotland, now maintained by a charitable trust; includes a history, catalogue, and description of their collections. Near Crieff.

Ipswich Institute

Founded in 1824, and still providing lending library facilities and a programme of courses and talks to its members.

The Leeds Library

Founded in 1768 as a subscription library and now the oldest surviving example in the British Isles; describes their history, collections and facilities, with details of membership.

Linen Hall Library

Oldest library in Belfast founded in 1788, and the last subscribing library in Ireland. Has news, events, list of collections, online shop and membership information.

The Literary & Philosophical Society (Lit & Phil)

The largest independent library outside London, founded in 1793. Information about their book and music holdings, services, children's library, events, membership, and history. Newcastle upon Tyne.

The London Library

A leading literary institution founded in 1841 by Thomas Carlyle; with a guide to their substantial collections, membership, news and events, and their quarterly magazine. thelondonlib

Morrab Library

A 200 year old, independent library in Penzance, one of the biggest in Britain; information about their holdings and archives, opening times, and location.

The Plymouth Athenaeum

An association of people interested in the study and promotion of the arts, literature, science and technology; includes their programme of activities, and details of their library and its collections.

The Portico Library and Gallery

Offers an overview of the history of this subscription library in Manchester, plus details of current events.

Thoresby Society Library

The library and archive collection of the Thoresby Society, the historical society for Leeds and district; includes details of location, access, and membership.

Wanlockhead Miner's Library

The history of the second oldest subscription Library in Scotland and indeed Europe, established in 1756 by lead miners in the village; now the Museum of Lead Mining.

Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society

Owns and maintains Whitby Museum, a local history library and archives; includes a guide to their collections and programme of talks and lectures.

The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide

The world's oldest Holocaust memorial institution; includes a history, with a guide to their collections and access, research projects, and educational materials.

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