The National Poetry Library

Visit The National Poetry Library at Royal Festival Hall and explore the most comprehensive collection of poetry in Britain. The library has been at the heart of the nation’s poetry community since it was founded by the Arts Council in 1953 and opened by poets T.S. Eliot and Herbert Read.

Join now -

It’s free to join and all you need to bring with you is:

  • a photo ID such as a passport or driving licence
  • a bill from the last 3 months with your name and address on it (a bank statement or a utility bill for example)

About the collection


Spanning the world of poetry since 1912, the library has over 200,000 items and is growing all the time. We are the first port of call for everyone with a love of modern poetry in the UK.

We have extensive resources for poets, academics, schools and families as well as a host of engaging events and exhibitions. The library is free to use, open to all and offers an unrivalled journey into poetry across all its forms.

We offer a free postal service of CDs and cassettes to people with sight problems throughout the UK as well as a selection of popular modern poets and anthologies in Braille. Our eloan collection makes ebooks and audio available to all members from the comfort of their own home.

     

      Opening times

      The National Poetry Library is open Tuesday - Sunday, 11am - 8pm and closed to the public on Mondays

      Find us

      The National Poetry Library, Level 5, Blue Side, Royal Festival Hall 
      Tel: 020 7921 0664 or 020 7921 0943
      Email us

      Visit our website

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      all events

      Free

      Various times
      13 Oct 2017 - 1 Nov 2017
      Various times | 13 Oct 2017 - 1 Nov 2017
      Art
      Literature
      Visit our archive for old and new material exploring 50 years of Poetry International
      Visit our archive for old and new material exploring 50 years of Poetry International

      Free

      Free

      Various times
      15 Sep 2017 - 15 Dec 2017
      Various times | 15 Sep 2017 - 15 Dec 2017
      Literature
      Poetry
      A session of nursery rhymes and stories for under-5s and their carers
      A session of nursery rhymes and stories for under-5s and their carers

      Free

      Free

      8:00 pm
      1 Nov 2017
      8:00 pm | 1 Nov 2017
      Literature
      Poetry
      Celebrate Joseph Conrad’s life and work in this evening of readings
      Celebrate Joseph Conrad’s life and work in this evening of readings

      Free

      Free

      7:30 pm
      16 Nov 2017
      7:30 pm | 16 Nov 2017
      Art
      Literature
      Come along to the opening event of this participatory installation by artist Sam Winston
      Come along to the opening event of this participatory installation by artist Sam Winston

      Free

      Free

      Various times
      4 Dec 2017 - 11 Dec 2017
      Various times | 4 Dec 2017 - 11 Dec 2017
      Literature
      Poetry
      Our annual TS Eliot Prize Book Club returns to discuss the ten shortlisted poetry books
      Our annual TS Eliot Prize Book Club returns to discuss the ten shortlisted poetry books

      Free

      Free

      8:00 pm
      6 Dec 2017
      8:00 pm | 6 Dec 2017
      Literature
      Poetry
      Consider how sound shapes our relationships to one another and the world in this magazine launch event
      Consider how sound shapes our relationships to one another and the world in this magazine launch...

      Free

      Free

      10:30 am
      15 Dec 2017
      10:30 am | 15 Dec 2017
      Literature
      Poetry
      Meet the National Poetry puppets for some festive fun
      Meet the National Poetry puppets for some festive fun

      Free

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      The National Poetry Library can be reached step-free by taking the JCB Glass Lift, located on Blue Side of Royal Festival Hall, to Level 5.

      See our access map

      The library provides a free postal service of poetry on cassette and CD to people with sight problems throughout the UK.

      To join this service, please fill out a membership form

      The National Poetry Library also has a selection of popular modern poets and anthologies in Braille.

      Search the catalogue

      get in touch

      Tel: 020 7921 0664 or 020 7921 0943

      poetry stories

      video
      Help us build a collection of poems in languages under threat
      story
      The team at National Poetry Library pick out their Anne Carson must reads

      events & exhibitions

      more about the library