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

      The National Poetry Library Website

      The National Poetry Library Twitter

      6:00 pm | 20 Sep 2017
      Literature
      Poetry
      Seek out centuries of poetry hidden in this area of London

      Free

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

      Free

      8:00 pm | 4 Oct 2017
      Literature
      Poetry
      Five South Asian diaspora poets celebrate the UK-India Year of Culture 2017

      Free

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

      Free

      8:00 pm | 14 Oct 2017
      Literature
      Poetry
      Raise a glass to long-running journal Modern Poetry in Translation in an evening featuring readings

      Free

      8:00 pm | 15 Oct 2017
      Literature
      Poetry
      Can poems unite people across borders? We ask this at our open day
      Southbank Centre Poetry Library.Royal Festival Hall.Library, rare books, visitors

      Free

      6:30 pm | 16 Oct 2017
      Literature
      Poetry
      Take a look at poems from those who have taken the Poetry International stage

      Free

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

      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

      podcast
      Carolyn Forché explores how poets have been shaped by extreme events

      events & exhibitions

      more about the library