Using the National Poetry Library

Whether you are a poet, a student, a parent or just curious, it's free to explore the National Poetry Library at Southbank Centre. 

We have the largest public collection of modern poetry in the world, plus a Little Library for parents and children as well as a packed events programme.

Here's everything you need to know about visiting us.


Find poems on any subject, by poets completely new to you, as well as by your old favourites. If you enjoy the visual arts, music or film, then explore the library's holdings which contain collaborations between poetry and other art forms. The shelves are easy to browse and staff are available to help.

Poets, artists and academics

Develop your work while researching the collections, browsing the library’s unrivalled selection of current UK poetry magazines and by attending our wide ranging programme of events and exhibitions - most of which are free! 

search our catalogue


You can bring groups of students for informal visits or contact the library in advance to arrange more focused sessions. 

schools at National Poetry Library


All ages welcome! Whether you want to borrow books from our large children’s collection or share some poems together as a family, National Poetry Library is the place for you. There’s also our Little Library just outside in the foyer space.

Visually-impaired users

We have braille and audio resources available for visually impaired users. Additionally we provide a free postal service of CDs and cassettes to people with sight problems throughout the UK.

services for visually-impaired users

Find us

National Poetry Library 
Level 5, Blue Side 
Royal Festival Hall 
London SE1 8XX

Tel: 020 7921 0664 or 020 7921 0943

    how to join

    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).