The Lit & Phil has been here since 1825, have you been in yet?

The Lit & Phil (or Literary and Philosophical Society) is the largest independent library outside London, housing over 160,000 books.

We do not JUST have old books - over 1000 books are added to the collection each year and crime fiction is very popular. But, we do have old books too, the oldest dates back to 1504.

You do NOT have to be a member to come in. Please come in and have a look around the library. If you want to take books out then you do need to join.

A wide selection of current fiction and non-fiction can be found alongside historical collections covering every field of interest.

Our Grade II* listed building was opened in 1825 and the magnificent reading rooms remain largely unchanged. Our collection is coupled with an extensive set of periodicals, providing an exceptional resource for both general reader and academic researcher.

In addition to the library, the Society hosts a wide range of events including book launches, concerts, lectures, readings and workshops that cover a variety of topics and issues. Both members and non-members are welcome to attend these events.







What's On At The Lit And Phil

  • Jun Wednesday 1st 18:00
    Gail-Nina Anderson Gothic Lecture Series (1 of 3) £3
  • Jun Thursday 2nd 10:00
    Great Lines Exhibition FREE
  • Jun Friday 3rd 13:00
    Lunchtime Classical Concert £2 suggested donation
  • Jun Saturday 4th 10:00
    Storytelling for Self-Exploration:Writing for Wellbeing Workshop £25
  • Jun Saturday 4th 10:30
    Tour of the Lit & Phil FREE
  • Jun Monday 6th 18:00
    Charles Hutton: Scientist and Mathematician FREE

What's on this month

Why not hire The Lit & Phil?

Seat 20 in the stunning Committee Room or plan an event in the Library (or something inbetween). The Lit & Phil is ideal for your meeting, training or party and is perfectly located next to the station.


Read More

As a member you can borrow most books published after 1850 (but not all at once). You can also access wi-fi in the Library and benefit from priority booking at some events. By joining the Lit & Phil, you are also supporting this wonderful institution, so thank you!

Online Catalogue

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 Check if we have that book you've been looking for. You don't need to be a member to search the catalogue; search by title, author, keyword or subject. Members can then reserve the book to collect later.