National Poetry Library

Visit National Poetry Library at Royal Festival Hall and explore the most comprehensive collection of poetry in Britain – for free.

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 TS 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

        Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 8pm

        Find us

        Level 5, Blue Side, Royal Festival Hall 
        Tel: 020 7921 0664 or 020 7921 0943

        email us

        visit our website

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        don't miss

        Image Credit 
        Joo Yeon Park, Twenty Times a Thousand (2019). Photo by Dan Weill
        5 Dec - 29 Mar
        art & exhibitions
        literature & poetry
        Joo Yeon Park’s new exhibition commemorates the 30th anniversary of Samuel Beckett’s death
        4 Mar
        literature & poetry
        Conjure myth, magic, fable and feminism at a reading by leading voices in contemporary poetry
        see all events

        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.

        fill out a membership form

        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 or send us an email

        poetry stories

        The poet on the importance of Picasso’s work and the challenge of responding to it
        Find out which poets have made this year’s shortlist

        more about the library