Current News & Events

  • Innocents engraving

     Happy New Year 2017

    “We climb out of bed with a frouzly head, And a snarly-yarly voice. We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl, At our bath and our boots and our toys; …The cure for this ill is not to sit still, Or frowst with a book by the fire; But to take a large hoe and a shovel also, And dig till you gently perspire…” ― The Hump, Rudyard Kipling


    We at the Private Libraries Association wish all bibliophiles near and far a happy, healthy and book-filled new year. We hope everyone managed to take time over the holidays to read and relax with their favourite books, but for us the time has come to get to work now on the projects we have planned for 2017.


    After a hugely successful Diamond Jubilee year in 2016, we hope to continue to offer our ever growing membership more ways to connect, not only with each other but with the bibliophile community in general. This year we hope to get our links page up and running – as there is a wealth of sites offering information and images in digital format freely available on-line, not just for collectors of books but for any and all who have an interest in books – whether your interest is in a particular author or printer, engraver or illustrator; incunabula or modern 1st editions; the history of books and libraries; typography, paper-making, printing or binding – there will be an on-line resource out there for you. Another project for 2017 we hope to launch is the PLA blog, where members can submit articles to the website editor for publication. Of course, both projects will require a great deal of planning, coordination, and ongoing management, thus we have put a request out on the member page for a volunteer website manager. Any member who might be interested in taking on the role of website manager, please log onto the member page for the information. Please note that the PLA is run entirely by volunteers. 

    We will, of course, continue to publish and distribute the quarterly journal, our member newsletter and the books we have in the pipeline for 2017 and beyond.


    Upcoming Book Fairs 2017

    We plan on having a stand again at PBFA Bath, Bristol and York fairs in 2017. The PBFA Bath Book Fair is the first fair of the year at which we will have a stand. It will be held on April 1 at the Assembly rooms, Bath.
    The PBFA and the ABA both have extensive UK-wide fair calendars and it is very much worth having a look at both their websites for information regarding their fairs.
    Oxford Fine Press Book Fair
    The fair, which was scheduled for November, has been postponed this year due to the ongoing reconstruction work of Headington Hall at Oxford Brookes University. The fair will be held in the Spring of 2018, date to be announced. This date change will not affect the fair scheduled for November 2019 or subsequent fairs. Please see the FPBA events page for more information.

    New books for 2017 and beyond

    Hot off the press!
    Our much anticipated book, The Book and Periodical Illustrations of Arthur Hughes, by Maroussia Oakley, is now printed and bound awaiting dust jacket. Mark Godburn’s Nineteenth-Century Dust-Jackets, published this summer, has been exceptionally well received and copies 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 completed by year end 2017. 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. The year 2016 marked the 60th anniversary of the PLA, and we hope 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.

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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.