Current News & Events

  • Innocents engraving


    “I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”

    [Notebook, Oct. 10, 1842] –  Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks

    PBFA York Book Fair, September 15-16, 2017

    This is always a great event for serious book lovers and collectors and this year it did not disappoint. The entire three floors at York Racecourse were turned over to over 220 book dealers included some from the United States and Australia. Demonstrations and presentations of bookbinding, calligraphy and paper marbling were given on both days. We were grateful to council member David Fry for organising our stall again this year. 

    The PLA was very pleased to enrol several new members as well as to meet many existing ones who visited the stand. It was especially encouraging to see so many young visitors, many from Europe. We were delighted to chat with Bernard Middleton, the world famous bookbinder and author who celebrated his 90th birthday three years ago (pictured below

    Jim Maslen and Bernard Middleton

    Jim Maslen and Bernard Middleton

    with Jim Maslen our secretary). The annual York Book Fair remains a compulsive event to visit and we look forward to attending next year.

    Oxford Fine Press Book Fair update

    The 2017 fair will now take place on 24-25 March 2018 at the Kassam Stadium Conference and Events Centre  in Oxford, details of which can be found at We will be occupying the Exhibition Area on the ground floor and the Quadrangle Suite on the first floor. As before we plan to have stalls for presses, specialist book dealers, trade suppliers, and related organisations. Further details will be announced as plans develop.

    The Fair Manager on behalf of the PBFA (Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association) is Henry Gott:

    The Private Library

    For those who are familiar with our well regarded journal, The Private Library, the ‘current’ issue and the season and date on the cover do not seem to be in agreement. This is due to falling behind some years ago, yet the editorial board is hard at work catching up.

    There are four issues of The Private Library set and almost ready to go to the printer. Spring and Summer 2016 form a double issue of 128 pages on the Caradoc Press. Autumn 2016 is a 60 page issue on the special editions of the Folio Society, and Winter 2016 is a normal 48 page issue on the library of Philip Ward, our founder, and illustrator Joan Hassall in Scotland. Autumn and Winter will be despatched to UK members in September. These two issues will appear before Spring and Summer, which still needs checking. This issue should appear soon after Autumn and Winter. We hope that Spring 2017 will appear before the end of the year. As always, our journal, free to members yet can be purchased as a series or in individual copies. Please use the on-line order form to purchase your copy.

    Books update

    All of our handsomely bound books are also for sale and our newest publications,  The Book and Periodical Illustrations of Arthur Hughes, by Maroussia Oakley and Mark Godburn’s Nineteenth-Century Dust-Jackets, published last summer, have been exceptionally well received. Copies of both books are now available to purchase. Outside the UK they may be purchased through Oak Knoll.  The text and bibliography of David Chambers’ Private Presses in Britain in the 18th and 19th Centuries, in two volumes, is in proof, to be published in 2018. Private Press Books 2008 and 2009 is printed and ready for sale. The final issue of Private Press Books, PPB 2010, is promised for 2017.

  • Join today! 

    Become a member today and join an ever growing community of book enthusiasts…at last count over 450 individual members and over 80 institutional members! The year 2016 marked our 60th anniversary and the momentum of enthusiasm for all things PLA continues to grow. We have no doubt 2017 is the beginning of another 6 successful decades for the PLA.

    We want to encourage all bibliophiles – anyone who loves books – to join at an annual subscription of only £30. You will receive our well-respected quarterly journal, packed with interesting articles on all manner of subjects relating to books. Members also receive discounts on all our publications and a complimentary members book every 2 years. Students and anyone under the age of 26 will receive membership at only £15…so all young book collectors should sign up today!


Welcome to The Private Libraries Association

Founded in 1956, the Private Libraries Association is an international society of book collectors – collectors of rare books, fine books, single authors, special subjects, and, above all collectors of books for the simple pleasures of reading and ownership.

Private Libraries AssociationThe Association publishes a well regarded quarterly journal, The Private Library. It prints essays on members’ libraries, specialised collections, the work of the private presses, illustrators and, indeed, any aspect of the mania likely to appeal to collectors.  Reviews of new books are a regular feature.

A series of illustrated books on specialised aspects of book collecting has been issued over the past fifty years, those still in print described in our current Books Catalogue.  Also available is the annual bibliography Private Press Books, the definitive checklist for worldwide private press output from 1960 to 2008, which has been published by the Private Libraries Association since 1959.

Become a member today!  Members receive the journal, free books, discounts and access to the exclusive members’ Newsletter and  Exchange List, which is issued quarterly. Members can also access members’ information via their new Members’ Page on the website, using their exclusive member log in. In addition, as correspondence within the Association is encouraged, a Members’ Handbook is issued, listing member contacts and collecting interests.