London is home to thousands of students and many scholars and is consequently extremely well catered for in terms of library facilities. Most local communities have their own public libraries while schools, colleges and universities often boast their own individual facilities. Some libraries are so influential and vast that they have become attractions in themselves; these are outlined below:
The British Library
The U.K’s biggest library, the British Library, holds more than 14 million books and is considered one of the most important libraries in the world. In addition to books there is also a vast collection of manuscripts, journals, magazines, tapes, DVDs and videos. The library has computer facilities, as well as meeting rooms and silent study spaces. Occasionally, the library also runs informative exhibitions. It is possible for visitors to take a tour of the library; the library is open every day and is open to anyone. There are also cafes and restaurants.
The University of London is made up of several institutions, which all have their own individual collections of libraries. University libraries are usually tailored to the specific subjects studied at the university. Some libraries may be restricted to students; you should consult their websites for further information.
Community or local libraries are open to all members of the general public; you may need to register in order to be able to borrow books but this is free and easy to do. Many community libraries run special events which may include book groups and children’s story time for example. Community libraries are open most days and most have comprehensive computer facilities.