Richmond Lending Library

Richmond Lending Library - London’s oldest public library still in use - will temporarily close from Friday 11 June 2021 at 6 pm until mid-September 2021 to complete major repair works to protect the Grade II listed building, which was originally damaged by an incendiary bomb during World War II.

Whilst works are underway, a pop-up library will open in the Richmond Library Annexe operating seven days a week and for the same hours as Richmond Lending Library. From Monday 14 June 2021, users will be able to reserve books via the Click & Collect services and will also be able to browse selections of stock that will be moved from the Lending Library to the Annexe. The Annexe will also have a children’s book area. Public computers will be available at the nearby Information and Reference Library.

Councillor Julia Neden-Watts, Chair of the Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sports Committee, said:

“The Richmond Lending Library first opened in 1881 and is the earliest public library in London still in use as a library.

“During the Second World War in 1940, the library was damaged by an incendiary bomb which set fire to the wooden parts of the roof. The fire was extinguished and the solution at the time was to board over the damage and carry on. The damage has gradually worsened, and we now need to fix it to protect the building that holds so much history.

“We hope the replacement measures are convenient for library users and look forward to reopening the doors of Richmond Lending Library in mid-September.”

– from a Richmond Council press release - 8 June 2021