Information about children and family libraries in the City of London.

Barbican & Community Libraries are the City of London's public lending libraries which are free to join to those who live, work or study in the City of London or who are regular visitors. City Business Library requires separate membership. 

Anyone is welcome to visit and use our libraries, but to borrow items you will need to become a member.

Visit any of our lending libraries in person (just bring proofs of identity and address with you as outlined below), or fill in our online form in advance, then simply visit one of our libraries within three months of your online application with the required documents.

  • Anyone aged 18 or over can join free of charge as a full adult member provided they have suitable identification and a permanent UK address.
  • Young people aged 14-17 can show a school/college ID and school correspondence as proof of ID.
  • Membership for children under 14 will require a parent or guardian to provide their signature, identification and proof of address in order to complete the registration.
  • UK residents requiring temporary membership can join for the duration of their stay (minimum three weeks) by showing proof of a temporary address and identification.

Accepted forms of ID and proof of address

To join one of our libraries you need to show proof of who you are and where you live. Two documents are required, one from each list.

Proof of identity:

  • Bank card
  • Current, valid full UK photo-card driving licence with signature
  • Work pass, Freedom pass or Blue badge (all with photo)
  • Passport
  • National Insurance Card

Proof of address:

  • Recent utility or council tax bill, or tenancy agreement*
  • Current, valid full UK photo-card driving licence with signature
  • Recent bank statement*
  • Medical card or medical appointment letter
  • Student Loans Company letter or letter from college confirming address
  • Hostel accommodation letter (for those with no fixed address)

*Issued within the last three months.

Artizan Street Library & Community Centre
Visit the library for room hire, books, audio books, DVDs, computer use, reading groups and much more!

Barbican Library
A vibrant public library in the heart of the Barbican Centre with books, spoken word recordings, DVDs, CDs and sheet music available for loan to all members.

Along with the adult library located on Level 2 within the Barbican Centre, you will also find the Barbican Music Library and Barbican Children's Library, along with places to sit, read and study.

Shoe Lane Library
A sanctuary in the heart of the City, engaging workers, residents and students alike with a space to read, sit and study. The library offers books, spoken word recordings, CDs and DVDs as well as a dynamic children's library area, open to all.

There are virtual Rhyme Times for you and your children to enjoy at any time.  We have made colouring sheets for younger children.  Print them out, colour them in, and send us a photo of your work!  We are sharing links to websites which we think will be fun and educational.

We are very lucky to have an expert storyteller in Joel, from the Barbican Children's Library. He is performing a Rhyme Time every day at 11am on his YouTube channel. See an example below.

Barbican Joel sings a song that everyone can join in on!
Activities timetable_Children and families_CoL
Autumn 2023 activities timetable for children and families in and around the Square Mile