London Library

The London Library was founded in 1841 and is now the largest independent lending library in the world. In 1845, it moved to its present location in St James’s Square and has over a million titles, mostly on open access and available for loan. The library’s website is full of fascinating information, and there are details about membership. A display in an external window in Mason’s Yard is being used to mark the contribution of its members to the literary and creative life of the nation and to promote the Library as it moves into its 175th year. We are very pleased that the jacket of our book Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England has been on on display with six other titles. Also displayed were the shelf marks, which are a unique feature of this library:

Letters from Oxford: Hugh Trevor Roper to Bernard Berenson ed. Richard Davenport-Hines, shelf mark Biog. Trevor-Roper (the Trevor-Roper section of ‘Biography’)

The Lodger by Louisa Treger, shelf mark Fiction

Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England by Roy & Lesley Adkins, shelf mark H. England, Social &c (the social history part of the ‘History of England’ section)

The Meaning of the Library: a cultural history ed. Alice Crawford, shelf mark Bibliog. Libraries (the bibliography part of the ‘Libraries’ section)

Magna Carta: the making and legacy of the great charter by Dan Jones, shelf mark H. England, Constitut (the constitutional history section of ‘History of England’)

The Scrivener: a Cragg and Fidelis mystery by Robin Blake, shelf mark Fiction, 4to (the quarto shelves of Fiction)

The Soul of the Marionette: A short enquiry into human freedom by John Gray, shelf mark Philosophy

London Library Display 01London Library display

In 1893 Charles Hagberg Wright was appointed Librarian and served until his death in 1940. He developed the unique classification system, dealing first with books on the arts and humanities, and then classifying thousands of others under various topics within a wonderful ‘Science & Miscellaneous’ section. If only this system was copied elsewhere, as it would breathe life into books, instead of, for example, the Dewey Decimal system. In the London Library, our own book is classified as H. England, Social &c, whereas in our local public library it is 942.073. You can download a complete classification list from the London Library website, and for further information see a blog piece written by Amanda Stebbings of the London Library.